Friend, Kostner named top offensive, defensive players

Cheyenne Friend and Randi Kostner were honored Saturday as Blue Mountain Community College’s top softball players for the 2012 season.

Friend, a freshman from Redmond (OR), and Kostner, an academic sophomore from Sutherlin, were honored at the close of the T-Wolves season on May 12 when BMCC split with playoff-bound Treasure Valley. Friend was named the Top Offensive Player, while Kostner was honored as Defensive Player of the Year.

Other awards went to sophomores Jordan Bennett and Megan Alexander and freshman Kerica Cusick.

Bennett, a sophomore from Vancouver (WA), was named Team Captain and also co-Pitcher of the Year along with Alexander.

Cusick, a freshman from Shadle Park in Spokane (WA) was honored as Most Improved Player. She played first, third, outfield and caught during the season in which she missed six weeks due to a broken hand.

Though she missed 8 games with a back injury, Friend batted .446 for the season and lead BMCC in home runs with 8. She also had a team high 28 RBIs. Before injuring her back in mid-season, Friend was the T-Wolves starting shortstop. But with limited mobility, she was moved to centerfield. Friend also led the team in slugging and on-base percentage.

Kostner started the year at second base and moved to short when Friend was sidelined. She stood out at both positions.

Coach Tom Mauldin said before the season began that “BMCC had the two best shortstops in the league in Friend and Kostner.”

The coach said, “they were both highlight films in the making and having them in the middle was a comforting feeling. It didn’t matter where they played, they were standouts.”

Kostner batted .341 and led the team in hits (44), runs (41), doubles (13) and triples (3).

Statistics for Bennett and Alexander were almost identical. Each pitched more than 100 innings. Bennett had eight wins, while Alexander had five wins and three saves. Bennett had a 4.93 earned run average, while Alexander’s was .480. Bennett recorded 95 strikeouts in 116 innings.

Mauldin said “Bennett being named Team Captain is truly a display of character. She led by example on the field and off. She was a pleasure to coach.”

After graduating in June from BMCC, Bennett will attend Northwest Christian University on a softball and music scholarship.

Cusick had a “slow” fall season, but worked hard in January and February and earned the top spot at first base. She was hitting .344 when she broke her hand at Wenatchee. She had collected four-straight hits when injured. She finished at .306.

“Her hard work paid off,” said Mauldin. “Kerica kept working and kept getting better every day. I look forward to penciling her name in the lineup card next season.”

While Kostner and Bennet move on to four-year schools, Mauldin was beaming noting that Friend and Cusick will return.

As a team, BMCC batted .301.