IRVINE, Calif.—The Big West Conference announced its annual softball awards on Wednesday with four players from the University of Hawai’i garnering six different honors—led by senior Nawai Kaupe who was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. Joining Kaupe on the All-Big West First Team was rookie pitcher Brianna Lopez who also earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team. Sophomore second baseman Maya Nakamura was named to the All-BWC Second Team while Ka’ena Keliinoi earned Honorable Mention honors.
Kaupe is only the second Rainbow Wahine softball player to be named Defensive Player of the Year after Kelly (Majam) Elms earned the award in her senior season of 2013. Kaupe, the smooth-fielding shortstop from Wailuku, Maui, finished the season with 80 put-outs, 92 assists and a .935 fielding percentage. She was one of the key reasons why the Rainbow Wahine finished the season ranked No. 1 in the entire NCAA DI in double plays per game out of 293 DI teams. Kaupe was in on 14 of UH’s 26 total double-plays this season. On offense, Kaupe finished the season leading the Big West in home runs (13), home runs per game (.31) and slugging percentage (.664). Overall, she led Hawai’i with 42 hits, 26 runs scored, and 30 RBI. She had a team-high 14 stolen bases which was the most for a UH player since Tara Harbert swiped 14 in 2003. Kaupe also led Hawai’i with 13 multiple-hit games and nine multiple-RBI games. She hit a team-high .462 with runners in scoring position and .580 in successfully advancing runners on base.
Lopez emerged as Hawai’i’s ace and flourished in her rookie Rainbow Wahine season. She finished ranked second in the Big West with an overall ERA of 2.07, which is the lowest since Brittany Hitchcock posted a 1.76 ERA in 2019. Lopez finished with a 14-8 record with a league-best three saves. She appeared in 28 games with 24 starts and 19 complete games with four solo shut-outs and one combined shut-out with fellow freshman pitcher, Chloe Borges. Lopez tossed 162.0 innings with 66 walks and 113 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .232 batting average. Lopez is just the third pitcher from Hawai’i to earn all-Big West first team honors since rejoining the league in 2013.
Kaupe and Lopez are just the 25th and 26th UH players to ever earn all-Big West first team honors since 1991.
Nakamura finished her sophomore campaign with a team-best .333 batting average (40-for-120) and led UH with 22 walks and an on-base percentage of .456. She was second on the team with 40 hits, seven doubles, six home runs, and a .542 slugging percentage. Nakamura and Kaupe were the only two Rainbow Wahine to start all 42 games this season.
Utility player Keliinoi found her home in the infield, starting 22 games in the last half of the season at third base. She started a total of 40 games—with 14 starts in leftfield and two each in centerfield and rightfield. During her UH career, she has started at seven different positions. Keliinoi finished with a team-high nine doubles and was second on the team with a .330 batting average. Amongst the starters was the hardest to strikeout this season, with just nine K’s this year. Keliinoi was also second on the team with 23 runs scored and third with 38 hits, 21 RBI and a .487 slugging percentage. Keliinoi also recorded a team-best 12-game hitting streak from April 2-April 23.
2022 Big West Softball All-Conference Awards
Player of the Year: Megan Delgadillo, Cal State Fullerton
Pitcher of the Year: Jada Cecil, UC San Diego
Defensive Player of the Year: Nawai Kaupe, Hawai’i
Freshman Field Player of the Year: Jessica Clements, Cal Poly
Freshman Pitcher of the Year: Jada Cecil, UC San Diego
Coach of the Year: Kelly Ford, Cal State Fullerton
|2022 All-Big West First Team|
|Jessi Alcala||So.||C/INF||Cal State Fullerton||Whittier, Calif.|
|Maddie Amos||Sr.||C||Cal Poly||Roseville, Calif.|
|Kenedi Brown||So.||P||UC Davis||Elk Grove, Calif.|
|Jada Cecil||Fr.||P||UC San Diego||Temecula, Calif.|
|Jessica Clements||Fr.||OF||Cal Poly||Monterey, Calif.|
|Megan Delgadillo||So.||OF||Cal State Fullerton||Riverside, Calif.|
|Naomi Hernandez||Sr.||UTL||Long Beach State||Corona, Calif.|
|Ashleigh Inae||Sr.||INF||Long Beach State||Riverside, Calif.|
|Nawai Kaupe||Sr.||INF||Hawai’i||Wailuku, Hawaii|
|Haylee Kela||Sr.||OF||UC Riverside||Long Beach, Calif.|
|Isabel Lavrov||Sr.||INF||UC San Diego||Berkeley, Calif.|
|Brianna Lopez||Fr.||P||Hawai’i||Riverside, Calif.|
|Madelyn McNally||So.||INF||UC Santa Barbara||La Habra, Calif.|
|Jaymi Steward||Sr.||OF||CSUN||Redlands, Calif.|
|Peyton Toto||So.||INF||Cal State Fullerton||Antelope, Calif.|
|2022 All-Big West Second Team|
|Hannah Becerra||So.||INF||Cal State Fullerton||Diamond Bar, Calif.|
|Keila Bosinger||Sr.||OF||UC San Diego||Chula Vista, Calif.|
|Mikayla Carman||Fr.||OF||CSUN||Huntington Beach, Calif.|
|Cydney Curran||Sr.||INF||CSU Bakersfield||Ewa Beach, Hawaii|
|Anna Dethlefson||So.||C||UC Davis||Fair Oaks, Calif.|
|Samantha Fowler||Jr.||P||Long Beach State||Los Alamitos, Calif.|
|Lauren Garewal||Jr.||INF/OF||UC Riverside||Banning, Calif.|
|Chrys Hildebrand||Sr.||P/UTL||UC Riverside||Yorba Linda, Calif.|
|Kenedee Jamerson||Gr.||P||CSUN||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Daisy Munoz||Jr.||INF||Cal State Fullerton||Buena Park, Calif.|
|Maya Nakamura||So.||UTL||Hawai’i||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|Noellah Ramos||Sr.||OF||Cal Poly||Fremont, Calif.|
|Gabby Williams||So.||P||UC San Diego||Martinez, Calif.|
|Honorable Mention: Bobbi Aguirre (Sr., UTL, UC San Diego), Jacquelyn Bickar (Fr., INF, Long Beach State), Marissa Burk (Jr., INF, UC Riverside), Cieana Curran (Sr., OF, CSU Bakersfield), Antuanett Dean (So., OF, Cal State Fullerton), Delaney Diaz (Sr., INF, UC Davis), Kaylee Escutia (Fr., OF, CSUN), Sophia Fernandez (So., P, Long Beach State), Maci Fines (Sr., INF, UC Santa Barbara), Ka’ena Keliinoi (So., UTL, Hawai’i), Reese Mattley (Fr., OF, UC Davis), Lexy Mills (Jr., P, UC Santa Barbara), Sara Olson (So., OF, Long Beach State), Jantzen Owen (So., C, UC Riverside), Sophia Real (Jr., INF, UC San Diego), Nadia Witt (Sr., OF, UC Riverside);|
|All-Freshman Team: Jacquelyn Bickar (INF, Long Beach State), Taylor Burdette (INF/OF UC Riverside), Mikayla Carman (OF, CSUN), Jada Cecil (P, UC San Diego), Jessica Clements (OF, Cal Poly), Kaylee Escutia (OF, CSUN), Brianna Lopez (P, Hawai’i), Paige Maier (P, Cal Poly), Reese Mattley (OF, UC Davis), Raci Miranda (P, Cal State Fullerton);|