Arioto USA Softball Player of Week
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2012
Valerie Arioto selected first USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week of 2012 season
OKLAHOMA CITY — California redshirt senior Valerie Arioto made a triumphant return to NCAA Division I softball at the Kajikawa Classic last week in Tempe, Ariz., earning her the first USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week Award of the 2012 season, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. It is the first Player of the Week selection for Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.).
After breaking her leg on the second day of practice in January 2011, what was meant to be her senior season, Arioto returned to the field with a vengeance for the Golden Bears. Not only did Arioto hit a home run in her very first at-bat of the 2012 season but she went on to hit three homers, drive in a team-high nine RBI, slug 1.444, hit .444 (4-for-9) and put up a 0.00 ERA in seven innings of work at the Kajikawa Classic. She was also walked five times.
“She had an outstanding weekend for her first outing since her injury and has not lost a step in her play,” Cal head coach Diane Ninemire said. “It’s really great to have her back on our team and adding extra hitting, defense and pitching.”
In the first game of the year, against then-No. 9 Tennessee, Arioto homered in her very first at-bat to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead. Later in that same game, Arioto cleared the fences with her second homer of the game and season. The Bears went on to win that game 13-5 over Tennessee, a team that defeated then-No. 1 Arizona State later in the tournament. Against Texas State, Arioto hit her third homer of the season, driving in three runs. Later in that same game, Arioto drove in her ninth RBI of the weekend with a sac fly.
“It’s really great to be back on the field with my teammates,” Arioto said. “Their hard work and enthusiasm is contagious and makes me want to get better.”
After not pitching since June 2010, Arioto pitched a complete-game shutout over Bradley in Cal’s second game of the season. Arioto, a utility who regularly plays first base for Cal, limited the Braves to just a .091 batting average with two hits. She struck out a weekend-high 11 opposing batters and only allowed three walks. In that game, she also went 1-for-1 at the plate with one RBI and one run scored.
In part to Arioto’s contributions, Cal earned the No. 1 ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll released earlier today by ASA. The Bears were ranked third in the pre-season poll.
SPY Quip: If the Bears were a locomotive, Valerie would be the engineer, with Jolene as the fireman, and Diane waving signals from the caboose.