Three Jayhawks Named All-Big 12 for Strongest Showing Since 2006
May 15, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Junior left fielder Maggie Hull became the first Kansas softball player to earn All-Big 12 Conference First Team accolades since the 2006 season and was joined by Second Team honorees Maddie Stein and Chanin Naudin when the league office announced the 2012 All-Big 12 Teams on Tuesday afternoon.
Hull, the regular-season Big 12 batting leader, was joined by freshmen duo Stein and Naudin, marking the first time Kansas received multiple All-Big 12 selections since three Jayhawks were named to the Second Team in 2008. Former Big 12 Player of the Year, Serena Settlemier and teammate Kassie Humphreys were the last Jayhawks to earn First Team recognition at the conclusion of the 2006 season.
"Maggie has worked extremely hard for three years and she is so deserving of this honor," head coach Megan Smithsaid. "She has represented our program as well as anyone could for the last three years and I am just really proud of her and what she has been able to accomplish."
A Lawrence, Kan., native, Hull paced not only the Kansas offense but the Big 12's numbers throughout the season. By finishing the regular season hitting a Big 12-best .409, Hull broke KU's single-season batting average record - a milestone that stood in Kansas history since 1979 (Jill Larson, .400). Her .338 career average checks in at fifth all-time among Jayhawks.
Hull led the conference with 67 hits, seventh-most in KU history and crossed the plate 46 times, good for fourth in the Big 12. Her 46 runs tied another single-season KU record (Rose Rader, 1980). In the outfield, Hull was a constant, committing only two errors and tracking down 91 putouts in left field.
One of three team captains this year, Hull adds this to her list of 2012 accomplishments, which also includes her Academic All-Big 12 First Team award and her Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District recognition earlier this month.
Kansas had one player named All-Big 12 in each of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. Hull was the 2011 recipient, earning Second Team honors after leading the Big 12 in the regular season with 49 RBIs. Meanwhile, Stein and Naudin become the first KU freshmen to be named All-Conference since Mariah Montgomery was awarded Second Team in 2010.
"The fact that two freshmen are on the all-conference team is exciting to see," Smith said. "Both Chanin (Naudin) and Maddie (Stein) are two of our hardest workers and that proves that hard work pays off. They are two dynamic players that are going to do big things for us the next three years. We're making strides and we feel really good about the progress we made this year and we feel really good about where we are going to be next year."
Stein hails from El Reno, Okla., and was named the team's Rookie of the Year earlier this week for her impressive offensive output. Only Hull finished with a higher batting average on the team than Stein's .371 mark. Most impressively were the rookie's numbers in conference play, as Stein hit .358 with three doubles, three homers and eight RBIs in Big 12 games. A versatile utility player, Stein made starts in the outfield, catcher and designated player before becoming KU's starting first baseman by the end of the season.
Naudin, a Las Flores, Calif., native and a graduate of Princeton HS (Texas), only got better as the season progressed. She found her stride facing one of the most elite pitching conferences in the NCAA, cranking out a team-best 15 RBIs in league action while hitting at a .311 clip. She single-handedly changed games for the Jayhawks, drilling a grand slam to upset top-25 Baylor on the road and hitting a walk-off solo shot to take down Oklahoma State at home. A dynamic third baseman, Naudin committed only four errors in 45 starts at the hot corner.
In 2012, the All-Conference trio guided Kansas to a 31-20 overall record with a 6-17 mark in Big 12 play, KU's most league wins since Smith's arrival. The Jayhawks finished the regular season at No. 46 in the NCAA RPI rankings, making Kansas the highest-ranking RPI team with a winning record to not receive a postseason bid.
However, the Jayhawks have plenty of power in store for next season's quest for postseason play as all three All-Big 12 members will return to a lineup that posted a .288 team batting average, the second highest in KU softball history (.311. 1985).
"That's exciting, because what we are trying to do is to build something here," Smith said. "If we can bring in young players who can make an impact at the conference level as a freshman, that's a good indicator of where we are going to be in the next couple years."