Butler Places Four On All-Horizon League Softball Team

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler’s record-setting softball team wound up with four players, led by freshman Jenny Esparza, on the 2010 Horizon League Softball All-League Team.  The honor squad, chosen by Horizon League softball coaches, was announced by the league office on Wednesday, May 12.

Esparza, who emerged as one of the league’s dominant pitchers, was named first team All-League and was picked to the league All-Newcomer Team.  The first-year righthander set a Butler single season record for victories with 17 wins during the regular season, and she’s shattered Butler’s single season record for strikeouts with 272 this year.  Esparza currently leads the Horizon League with a 1.28 earned run average, while holding opponents to a league-low .143 batting average.

Senior Bridget Paine and sophomore Erin Falkenberry both earned second team All-Horizon League recognition.  Paine, who made the All-League squad for the second consecutive year, is closing out a record-breaking final season.  The Butler shortstop has already set school single season records for runs batted in (41) and total bases (97), and she’s tied the school marks for doubles (15) and home runs (11).

Falkenberry, who was named to the league All-Newcomer team a year ago, currently leads the Bulldogs with a .341 batting average.  She followed her school-record 11 home runs a year ago with seven home runs and 29 RBIs this season.  Falkenberry has started 45 games at first base, and she boasts a .975 fielding percentage.

Freshman Meaghan Sullivan was Butler’s fourth player to earn All-League recognition.  She joined Esparza on this year’s All-Newcomer squad.  Sullivan, a starter at second base, is batting .293 with nine doubles and two home runs this season.  She’s third on the team with a .376 on-base percentage.

Regular season champ Cleveland State swept the league’s individual awards.  Freshman Tess Sito was named both Horizon League Player of the Year and league Newcomer of the Year, while senior Amanda Macenko was chosen as league Pitcher of the Year.  Cleveland State head coach Angie Nicholson was selected Horizon League Coach of the Year.

Butler will begin play in the 2010 Horizon League Softball Championship on Thursday, May 13, against #3 seed UIC at 12 noon (ET).  The league tournament is being played at Cleveland State, Thursday through Saturday, May 13-15.  The Bulldogs, who compiled a school-record 35-17 ledger this season, enter the double-elimination tournament as the #6 seed.

2010 First Team All-Horizon League
Jenny Esparza, Butler
Tess Sito, Cleveland State
Amanda Macenko, Cleveland State
Katelyn Ciminelli, Cleveland State
Katie Cooney, Green Bay
Brooke Andersen, Loyola
Brooke Frydendall, UIC
Sara Strickland, Valparaiso
Sadie Conner, Valparaiso
Kristen Bradshaw, Wright State
China Frost, Wright State
Louie Haney, Wright State

Second Team All-Horizon League
Bridget Paine, Butler
Erin Falkenberry, Butler
Jessica Burt, Cleveland State
Amy Powell, Cleveland State
Melani Niederer, Green Bay
Stephanie Cihlar, Loyola
Jenna Grim, Loyola
Melinda Macias, UIC
Devin Miller, UIC
Jordan Rutkowski, Valparaiso
Sam McGee, Valparaiso
Justine Shilt, Wright State

All-Newcomer Team
Jenny Esparza, Butler
Meaghan Sullivan, Butler
Tess Sito, Cleveland State
Dara Toman, Cleveland State
Dani Peerenboom, Green Bay
Brooke Andersen, Loyola
Devin Miller, UIC
Coryn Schmit, UIC
Jessie Marinec, Valparaiso
Vicky Rumph, Youngstown State