Bowling Green, Ky. — On Tuesday, the Sun Belt Conference announced the 2008 softball preseason all-conference team and three Western Kentucky University players earned a spot on the squad. Rachelle Boucher, Rebecca Horesky and Jennifer Kempf made the team, with Kempf also being recognized as the Preseason Pitcher of the Year.
In just two seasons on the Hill, Kempf sits in the top-10 in the WKU record books in 12 different pitching categories. The junior is currently third in appearances (62), starts (53), complete games (45), shutouts (10), wins (29), ERA (2.18), innings (356.1), strikeouts (282) and opponents batting average (.236). For an individual season, Kempf ranks first for appearances (44), starts (38), complete games (36), wins (21) and innings (268.2). The St. Joseph, Mo., native tallied double-digit strikeouts on three different occasions, including 13 in a shutout victory over Belmont. Kempf finished with at least one strikeout in every appearance including six stints of four innings or less. She went on a seven-game winning streak from April 5-22, while from March 12-24 Kempf pitched 17 consecutive scoreless innings.
Boucher followed up her first-team all-Sun Belt performance last season by being named the league’s top catcher for the upcoming 2008 campaign. The sophomore also earned a spot on the conference’s Academic Honor Roll as a freshman. After her first year, the Tampa, Fla., native sits in the top-10 in six season WKU record hitting categories. She ranks second in batting average (.351; 68-for-194), at bats (194), multiple-hit games (22), third in hits (68), and fifth in on-base percentage (.403). She led the squad in batting average, on-base percentage and hits last spring. In fact, her batting average rose above .300 at the beginning of March and never dropped below that mark for the rest of the season which included 43 more contests. Boucher finished 5-for-9 with three runs and an RBI in a double header at Kentucky and went 7-for-11 in a series against Florida International.
Horesky was placed on the team as a third baseman after earning a second-team all-SBC nod at the end of last year. She was top-10 in seven career hitting categories, including fourth in batting average (.288), hits (97), multiple-hit games (26), doubles (17), RBI (52) and multiple RBI games (15). She’s also in the top-10 in seven season categories including fifth for homers (seven), RBI (34), total bases (92) and slugging percentage (.508). The junior led the team last year in slugging percentage, RBI, home runs and doubles, while finishing second in batting average after hitting just under .300. The Woodbridge, Va., native was perfect at the plate on four different occasions including victories over Florida International, Evansville and Troy, and she finished the FIU series 5-for-6 with a homer, five RBI and three runs scored. She tallied a 3-for-4 day with a homer, four RBI and a run in a victory over Kentucky.
The Hilltoppers were predicted to finish fourth in the league in voting conducted among coaches. Louisiana-Lafayette is first with eight out of nine first-place votes, followed by Florida Atlantic and Troy.
WKU will open the season on Thursday, Feb. 14 against preseason No. 2 Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., at 7 p.m. (CST), before competing in the Kajikawa Classic Friday-Sunday in Tempe.