Arizona junior Dejah Mulipola and Southeastern Louisiana senior second baseman Jaquelyn Ramon were named the Diamond Sports/NFCA Division I Catcher of the Year and New Balance/NFCA Division I Golden Shoe recipients, respectively, today.
The eight programs participating in the 2019 WCWS had a total of 25 All-Americans, 11 on the first team. No. 1 Oklahoma led the way with six selections, while No. 6 Arizona had five and No. 3 Washington four.
The Wildcats (47-12) and the Huskies (50-7) play in the opening game of the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City on Thursday morning at 9.
Oklahoma and Arizona led all programs three first-teamers, while the Huskies had two.
Arizona redshirt junior center fielder Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, who celebrates her 22nd birthday today, was a unanimous selection.
The two-time NFCA All-American has started all 59 games for the Wildcats, batting .394 with a team-best 74 hits and 18 doubles. A top-26 candidate for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, she is hitting .394 with 17 homers, 64 RBI, 58 runs scored and a .782 slugging percentage. She is perfect defensively in 68 chances in center field.
The other Arizona first-team selection was senior pitcher Taylor McQuillin, who earned her first NFCA All-America honor as an at-large pitcher. The senior southpaw recorded 10 shutouts, which is tied for 14thin the NCAA, along with a 1.52 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. McQuillin is 23-7 with 214 strikeouts and a .181 batting average against. The All-Pac-12 first-team selection played a key role in the Wildcats reaching the Women’s College World Series for the first time in nine years.
McQuillin’s battery-mate Mulipola, the cleanup hitter for all but one game all season for coach Mike Candrea, is tied for sixth in the nation with 22 home runs. She is 18th on the Arizona career list with 47 home runs. She will play for the U.S. Women’s National Team this summer in its training and preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In her 57 games behind the plate, teams have only attempted 22 stolen bases. She has thrown out nine of them. Arizona’s 13 stolen bases allowed are currently the fewest in a season since 1995 (12).
Mulipola was part of a press conference at Oklahoma City today that also featured UCLA pitcher Rachel Garcia, Washington shortstop Sis Bates, and Minnesota pitcher Amber Fiser.
Mulipola was asked at what point in the season did she realize Arizona had a chance to win the national title.
“Starting in the fall, coach had us do kind of a Navy SEAL training to get us to mesh, get the chemistry that we have now,” she said. “I think early on for me, I saw it as that we have a chance because that bonding kind of helped us.
“Progressively I felt throughout the season sweeping teams, that was a big deal, but it was ultimately after our loss to Washington, ‘Okay, how are we going to bounce back?’ I think stepping into UCLA, showing what we had, and we had fight, was ultimately how I saw we can go to OKC and do this. I think that was it for me.”
Junior second baseman Reyna Carranco and junior shortstop Jessie Harper were second-team All-American selections.
Bates of Washington is a first-team shortstop for the second straight year. She repeated as the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year, making just two miscues and posting a .980 fielding percentage. The junior leads Washington with a .386 average, 71 hits, 59 runs scored and a .465 on-base percentage. An All-Pac 12 first teamer, Bates doubled 11 times, recorded three triples and a posted a .478 slugging percentage.
Washington also had a first-team pitcher selection with sophomore Gabbie Plain.
Plain returned to the All-America squad for the second straight season after a third-team nod in 2018. Plain is a remarkable 23-2 with a 1.14 ERA, notching 229 strikeouts to just 37 walks in 172.2 innings of work. The USA Softball Top-26 Collegiate Player of the Year finalist has recorded a Pac-12-best 12 shutouts and four saves, while holding her opposition to a .146 batting average. Plain is ranked sixth nationally in shutouts and 10th in ERA, while tossing three no-hitters.
Arizona State’s Morgan Howe earned her first NFCA All-America honor as a senior, Howe hit .402 and posted career numbers with 66 hits, 16 doubles, 12 home runs, team-leading 61 RBI, a .500 on-base percentage and a .768 slugging percentage. The Pac-12 first-team selection swiped 10 bases and scored 56 runs.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.