The Mesa Thunderbirds have had their most successful softball season in the last few years and that is thanks to Lindsey Paboucek, Raychele Hernandez, Emerald Grijalva and Leighann Ballesteros. Each player has earned a spot on the All ACCAC or Region I post season teams.
Lindsey Paboucek earned a spot on both the ACCAC Third Team and Region I DII First Team. Paboucek is Mesa's silent leader, putting her all not only into games but in every drill during practice. She started 53 of the T-Birds 55 games this season in center-field, usually hitting in the second or third spot of the lineup. Paboucek had a .376 batting average with a .402 on base percentage. She collected 68 hits on the season (14th-ACCAC), 20 doubles (4th-ACCAC), one triple and home run. She stole 21 bases (7th-ACCAC) and had 46 RBI's (14th-ACCAC). In the field, Paboucek was feared. Multiple times throughout the season, she threw would be base runners out from either trying to score or advance a base.
Raychele Hernandez earned a spot on the ACCAC Third Team. Hernandez started all 55 games for Mesa in left field and always lead off the top of the lineup. On the season, she had a .360 batting average with a .420 on base percentage. She collected 67 hits on the season, 17 doubles, one triple and one home run. She had 28 stolen bases and 28 RBI's, while scoring 43 runs. Hernandez made one of the best catches of the season at Yavapai when she robbed a home run while crashing into the outfield fence.
Emerald Grijalva earned a spot on the All Region I-DII First Team as a pitcher. Grijalva was Mesa's number one pitcher and was always looked to for save situations in close games. She made 24 starts on the season, recording a 13-12 overall record with 22 complete games (4th-ACCAC). She had a 3.56 ERA (13th-ACCAC) in 163 innings pitched (5th-ACCAC), striking out 86 batters (10th-ACCAC). She saved two games as well. Although Grijalva earned a post season spot as a pitcher, her contribution at the plate cannot go unnoticed. She had a .299 batting average with 26 hits, 4 doubles and three home runs.
Leighann Ballesteros earned a spot on the All-Region I-DII First Team as a catcher. Ballesteros on the season had a .270 batting average with a .410 on base percentage. She collected 40 total hits, 10 doubles and two home runs with 27 RBI's. Ballesteros also lead the conference in being hit by pitch with 16 (3rd-NJCAA). Ballesteros started every game for Mesa this year, whether it was behind the dish or at first base. Her toughness and leadership was felt throughout the team.
For the full list of All ACCAC / Region I Teams, click the link below.