BYU softball: BYU tops WCC preseason poll

By Spencer Shamo

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30 2014 2:15 p.m. MST

West Coast Conference coaches selected BYU as the favorite to win the conference’s first softball regular-season championship and selected three Cougars to the preseason all-conference team.

“As a program we feel honored to be selected as the preseason conference champions,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “There are a number of excellent teams in the WCC that are worthy of that same selection, and we will do our best to live up to the high expectations this season.”

Last year, the Cougars won the Pacific Coast Softball Conference in a tight contest that went down to the last week of conference play. BYU has won five straight conference championships and has a 40-9 record against WCC opponents. This will be the fourth different conference the Cougars have played in over the last four years.

Senior Katie Manuma was named all-conference as a utility/pitcher after throwing for a 5-1 record with a 1.29 ERA and four saves, while batting .333 with a team-high 44 RBIs.

Sophomore Gordy Bravo was named an all-conference outfielder. She led the PCSC last year with a .389 average to go along with 43 RBIs and a .435 on base percentage to earn a spot on the Easton All-America first team.

Sophomore Coco Tauali’i came on strong during conference play, hitting 17 of her 29 RBIs during conference play on her way to a .311 batting average and a .427 on base percentage.

“Coco, Katie and Gordy all had solid conference seasons last year,” Eakin said. “Their selections to the preseason all-conference team are great individual honors, and we expect great things from each one of them this season.”

The Cougars begin play in St. George, Utah, next week in the Red Desert Classic beginning with Weber State on Thursday at 2 p.m. MST.

Spencer Shamo is a Communications major at BYU and the BYU softball SID.

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