Emily Benson added to her impressive career resume with a second NFCA National Player of the Week award. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
Emily Benson Named NFCA National Player of the Week
April 3, 2019
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Western Washington University first baseman Emily Benson added to her impressive list of senior season awards, being named the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division II National Player of the Week for her play March 25-31.
Benson (West Richland, WA/Kamiakin) was named the MVP of the Tournament of Champions and received her third GNAC Player of the Week honor in 2019. She combined to bat .565 (13-for-23) with 9 runs scored, 4 doubles, 5 home runs and 14 RBI in the eight games last week, including a pair of multi-home run games in contests at Simon Fraser and Sonoma State. Benson also went 5-for-5 with 7 RBI against Dominican, tying the WWU single-game record for hits and RBI in a game. In the five games in the Tournament of Champions she earned tournament MVP honors by batting .600 (9-for-15) with five extra-base hits (2B-4, HR-1) and 9 RBI.
This marks the fifth time WWU Softball has won a NFCA National Player of the Week honor. Benson earned the award as a sophomore in 2016 and Anna Kasner was a two-time recipient of the National Pitcher of the Week award in 2017. WWU Hall of Famer Alison Haukaas was named the NAIA National Pitcher of the Week in 1996.
For the season the first baseman leads the GNAC in the triple crown categories, batting .473 (44-for-93) with 13 home runs and 43 RBI. She is also tops in the conference with a 1.011 slugging percentage and .560 on-base percentage. Amongst the national NCAA II leaders, Benson ranks 4th in home runs (0.42 per game), RBI (1.39 per game) and slugging percentage, 14th in on-base percentage and 21st in batting average.
For her career, Benson is within one home run of the all-time GNAC record with 44 home runs and set the WWU all-time record for RBI (155) and extra-base hits (78) last week. She currently has the highest batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in school history.
“The coolest thing about Emily Benson and her success is that it’s not just that she’s talented and strong (she is), but Emily works harder than anybody to master her craft,” said head coach Sheryl Gilmore. “She is a true student of the game - she studies hitting, she studies her own swing and she studies the pitchers. She has worked for everything she’s earned. Her success is a product of her insanely hard work and dedication to doing what she loves and that makes it so much cooler to see as a coach.”
Senior pitcher Makinlee Sellevold (Everett, WA/Cascade) was also nominated for NFCA National Pitcher of the Week after going 5-1 with a 1.44 ERA (7 ER, 34.0 IP) in six appearances last week. Sellevold was one of two pitchers named to the Tournament of Champions All-Tournament Team.
The Vikings are 22-9 overall and has won 9 of its last 10 and 17 of its last 21 games. WWU’s recent success has entered the team into the “others receiving votes” section of the most recent NFCA NCAA II national rankings. Western heads into the second half of GNAC play in 2nd place with an 11-3 record. WWU concludes its extended road trip this weekend traveling to play Saint Martin’s on Saturday in Lacey and Central Washington in Ellensburg on Saturday.
-- WWU Softball --