Dixie State senior outfielder Janessa Bassett was the 2018 Pacific West Conference Softball Preseason Player of the Year, the conference announced Wednesday. Bassett, along with junior infielder Bailey Gaffin and junior catcher Jessica Gonzalez, was also named to the Preseason All-PacWest team, while the Trailblazers were picked to finish second in the conference preseason poll.
Bassett led Dixie State in batting average for the third-consecutive season in 2017, hitting .406 with 43 runs scored, 19 RBIs and conference-best marks in on-base percentage (.519), stolen bases (42) and triples (five). She also set the DSU career stolen bases record, stealing 42 bases on 45 attempts for a career total of 118 stolen bases. Bassett earned NFCA/D2CCA All-America honors and was a PacWest first-team honoree. Additionally, Bassett was named PacWest Defender of the Year and was near-perfect defensively, logging a .983 fielding percentage with 59 putouts in 60 chances. She routinely shortened innings and kept opposing runs off the scoreboard with spectacular catches in center field.
Gaffin enjoyed a breakout season in 2017 and landed D2CAA/NFCA All-West Region honors and second-team All-PacWest honors. She finished the season in the top 10 in five different statistical categories in the PacWest, including batting average (.390), slugging percentage (.585), on-base percentage (.463), hits (62) and RBIs (43). Defensively, Gaffin logged a .957 fielding percentage, recording 102 putouts and 74 assists in 184 chances.
Gonzalez earned D2CCA All-West Region and second-team PacWest honors in 2017. She finished the season in the top 10 of six different statistical categories in the PacWest, including slugging percentage (.610), fielding percentage (.990), RBIs (40), home runs (11), walks drawn (22) and caught stealing by (11).
California Baptist was tabbed as the preseason favorite, with Azusa Pacific and Concordia-Irvine tied for third behind CBU and DSU. Academy of Art rounded out the top five in fifth. CUI’s Grayson Harvey was selected as the Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
Dixie State finished the 2017 campaign with a 42-14 record, marking the fourth time in five years the Trailblazers have recorded 40 or more wins in a season. After finishing second in the PacWest, DSU swept through the West 1 Regional to qualify for its third West Super Regional in four years.
The Trailblazers open the 2018 season next Thursday, hosting Northwest Nazarene in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m., at Karl Brooks Field.
Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Trailblazer Athletics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.