ST. LOUIS (Jan. 23) -
The Creighton softball team placed four players on the 2013 preseason
all-conference team as the league's coaches picked the Bluejays to finish fourth
in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), the league office announced Wednesday
The fourth-place prediction is the highest preseason ranking
for the Bluejays since 2010 when they were picked to win the Valley. Creighton
has finished lower than fourth in the MVC regular season standings just three
times in the past 16 seasons.
Senior catcher Amy Baker earned the second All-MVC preseason
selection of her career to go with a nod from 2011 during her sophomore
campaign. Additionally, three juniors claimed their first preseason honors in
designated player and pitcher Alexis Cantu, pitcher Becca Changstrom and
outfielder Ellen Homan. All four of the CU honorees earned All-MVC accolades after
The four CU player selections match Southern Illinois for
the most on the 2013 preseason squad.
Additionally, the four players on the preseason all-conference team are
the most for any Creighton squad dating back to 2004 when three Jays earned
All-MVC preseason honors and current assistant Abby Johnson collected honorable
Named the 2012 MVC Newcomer of the Year, CU junior Alexis
Cantu set conference single-season records with 13 home runs and 34 RBI last
season. She led the MVC with 17 homers, a school record of 46 walks, a .547
on-base percentage and a .802 slugging percentage. She finished sixth in the
conference with a .357 average at the plate while also going 8-5 in 64.2
innings pitched in the circle. In the last 20 games of the year, Cantu hit .449
with 11 homers, 25 RBI, a 1.163 slugging percentage and a .600 on-base percentage,
en route to 2012 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Midwest
Region Team and First Team All-MVC selections.
third in the MVC with 46 RBI, fifth in on-base percentage (.471), sacrifice
flies (3) and walks (33), sixth in batting average (.340) and seventh in both
slugging percentage (.551) and home runs (8). She currently ranks fourth in MVC
history with 41 career home runs and is tied for 11th in MVC history with 125
career runs batted in. Baker is a three-time All-MVC selection in her career at
Creighton entering her final season.
second in the MVC in hitting (.370) and hits (67), and was fourth in runs (38).
She finished 2012 on a 13-game hitting streak, the longest of her career.
During her hitting streak, she hit .500 (23-46), with seven multiple-hit
contests. Her 19 multiple-hit games this season were the most by any Bluejay
since 2007. As Creighton's leadoff hitter, Homan reached safely to open nine
of the last 13 games, including three extra-base hits. She claimed All-MVC
First Team honors last year.
In the circle Changstrom went 17-13 and led the team with a
2.38 ERA, 182.1 innings pitched and 177 strikeouts in 2012. She registered a
10-6 record in MVC play last season. Her 10 Valley wins ranked third-most in
the league. For her career, Changstrom is 21-10 in MVC action with eight
shutouts. In her last 13 Valley starts she is 9-4 and has allowed just 13
earned runs resulting in a 1.09 ERA. Changstrom claimed All-MVC Second team
honors in each of her first two seasons as a Bluejay.
In the preseason coaches' poll, Creighton received a total
of 80 points and received three first-place votes, tied for the most of any
squad this year, to rank fourth in the 2013 predictions.
Defending MVC tournament champion Illinois State shared or
claimed the top spot in the preseason poll the third straight season with 85
points. Southern Illinois tied ISU atop the poll for the second time in three
seasons (2011). Each team received two first-place votes. The 2012 regular
season champion, UNI, came in third picking up three first-place votes and 82
points, followed by the Bluejays with the remaining three first-place nods and
80 points in the fourth spot.
Drake was slotted fifth with 62 points. Missouri State was picked to finish sixth with 51
points, followed by Bradley in seventh with 42 points. Wichita State edged out
Evansville by a point for eighth place at 23 points while Indiana State rounded
out the poll with 18 points in the tenth position.
The Bluejays return 11 players from
last season's team that compiled a 28-25-1 overall record and finished fifth in
the MVC at 15-11. Creighton finished last season with a school-record 294 runs.
CU led the MVC with a .292 batting
average, 56 homers, 275 RBI and a .464 slugging percentage. The Jays ranked in
the NCAA top-30 in scoring (No. 20), home runs per game (No. 22) and slugging
percentage (No. 27) in 2012.
Creighton opens the 2013 campaign at the Kajikawa
Classic hosted by Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., Feb. 7-9. CU's first home and conference game is March 23
against Illinois State. Creighton will host the 2013 MVC Tournament at the CU
Sports Complex from May 9-11.
2013 MVC Softball Preseason
Rank Team (first-place votes) Points
State (2) 85
Illinois (2) 85
3. UNI (3) 82
4. Creighton (3) 80
5. Drake 62
7. Bradley 42
9. Evansville 22
10. Indiana State 18
2013 Preseason All-MVC Softball Team
Player, Team Pos. Yr. Hometown
Taylor Orsburn, Southern Illinois
Alto Pass, Ill. (Cobden)
Ashley Brentz, Missouri State 2B Jr.
St. Louis, Mo. (Parkway South)
Jayna Spivey, Southern Illinois 2B Jr.
Rosiclare, Ill. (Hardin County)
Elizabeth Kay, Illinois State 3B
Kirstin Cutter, Missouri State SS Sr.
Oklahoma City, Okla. (Western
Amy Baker, Creighton C
Sr. Omaha, Neb. (Westside)
VadeBoncouer, Southern Illinois C Jr. Kankakee,
Alexis Cantu, Creighton DP-P
Texas (UT Arlington)
Jhavon Hamilton, Illinois State DP/UT Sr. Joliet, Ill. (Joliet West)
Morgan Barchan, Southern Illinois
OF Sr. Arcadia, Calif.
Ellen Homan, Creighton OF
Neb. (Skutt Catholic)
Lauren Kellar, Illinois State OF Sr.
Colfax, Ill. (Ridgeview)
Becca Changstrom, Creighton P
Jr. Lincoln, Neb. (Southwest)
Jamie Fisher, UNI P Jr. Conrad,