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COLLEGE SOFTBALL

Warriors’ softball trio earns conference recognition

Graifman, Basaldua and Lewis awarded
By: Brianna Campbell for The Placer Herald/News Messenger
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The accolades continued to pour in this past week, as the now NAIA nationally recognized William Jessup University softball team was third in the Golden State Athletic Conference Standings. Three players were named to the All-GSAC Team, presented by Under Armour.

Senior pitcher and Antioch, Calif., native Shelbi Graifman nabbed her third straight all-conference and second-straight GSAC Pitcher of the Year recognition. Graifman shared the title with Vanguard's Vanessa Dwyer.

Graifman leads the country and the conference in wins (26), crushing the program and her own previous most-wins record by 10. She also has the most innings pitched (235) in the NAIA, while leading the GSAC in strikeouts (238); her closest opponent was over 150 behind. 

"Shelbi has been our No. 1 pitcher all four years she has been at Jessup, while this year leading the NAIA in wins with 26,” said Kevin Amick, Graifman’s head coach all four years. “All that being said, she also hits third in our lineup with a .393 average. I am so proud of her being all-conference for the third straight year and Pitcher of the Year the last two seasons."

Joining her teammate is underclassman Natalie Basaldua.

The starting third baseman and No. 4 hitter originates from Gonzales, Calif., and joined the Warrior's squad last season. Her first year she hit .267 in 45 appearances. Coming off GSAC Player of the Week recognition, Basaldua went 7-for-7 against San Diego Christian College in a makeup series last week. Basaldua is top 10 in the conference with a .381 batting average and fourth in most doubles this season with 13.

"Natalie came in this year as a sophomore ready to be a starter and major part of our team," Amick commented. "She is a very aggressive hitter and ended the regular season with .381 average and led the team with 40 runs batted in.”

Amick said there was no player better in the clutch than Basaldua, with runners on base.

Closing out the trio is freshman Abbie Lewis, just one of three first-year players recognized in the top 20 all-conference selections.

The Lodi, Calif., native is well known for her speed around the bases and out of the box. The starting second baseman is third overall in the conference with an impressive .419 batting average from the left side and second in hits (65).

Lewis leads the conference in steals, is in the top 15 in the nation and No. 1 in WJU program history.

"Abbie has hit at the top of our lineup this year and as a freshman climbed to a .419 batting average. I have never had a freshman come in and make such a great impact on our team like Abbie has,” Amick said. “She also has 28 stolen bases, which is a school record for William Jessup."

The Warriors will head to their fourth-straight conference tournament for the GSAC, looking to break the most wins in program history (29). Jessup will face host and No. 1 seed Vanguard Tuesday at 11:30 am.