MUNCIE, Ind. - - For the third time this season, Ball State senior catcher/designated player Amanda Montalto (Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde) has been named the Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week. She also earned the award March 13 and March 27.
In addition, Montalto was named the Madness Softball Mid-American Conference Player of the Week by College Sports Madness for the second time this season. She first earned the honor March 13.
"Amanda turned in another strong week to help us pick up key divisional wins over Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan," said Ball State head coach Craig Nicholson. "Her four home runs over our five games last week show why she is considered one of the top power hitters in the MAC. She has a great work ethic and is constantly working to improve her game."
Montalto helped guide the Cardinals to a 5-0 record last week and into sole possession of first place in the MAC standings by posting a .529 (9-for-17) batting average. Of her nine hits, four were home runs and one was a double. Despite grand slams by three different Cardinals, Montalto also paced the club in RBI (9) and runs scored (8) over the five games.
With her effort last week, Montalto climbed to first in the MAC and 50th nationally with a .406 batting average for the season. She also ranks first in the MAC in slugging percentage (.857) and on base percentage (.521), while ranking second in doubles (15), home runs (13), runs scored (44), RBI (41)
In BSU's midweek win over Indiana, Montalto blasted a three-run home run in the fifth inning to give Ball State a new team single-season record for home runs, which she helped build upon with three more blasts in weekend MAC play.
In the first game of a doubleheader versus Eastern Michigan, Montalto came up with a clutch two-run double in the bottom of the sixth, coming straight from the bullpen to the batter's box after warming up BSU's Audrey Workman (Wickenburg, Ariz./ Yavapai College) who would enter the game in the seventh and earn a save. In the nightcap, Montalto blasted a pair of home runs and scored three times to help secure the sweep.
Montalto added a hit and a walk in the series opener versus Central Michigan, while going 3-for-3 with a walk in the Sunday rematch, including her fourth home run of the week. She also scored four runs versus CMU, with one coming in the opener and three in the finale.
Since the Cardinals opened the 2012 season Feb. 17, Ball State student-athletes have garnered all but one (9 of 10) of the league's West Division Player of the Week honors. The only week the Cardinals did not pick up the player of the week honor was the week of March 26-April 1, when senior shortstop Alison Mercado (Perris, Calif./Arizona Western College) was name the MAC Scholar Athlete of the Week.
In addition, BSU players have earned Madness Softball Mid-American Conference Player of the Week honors four times, while its pitchers have picked up three MAC West Division Pitcher of the Week awards.Montalto and the Ball State softball team returns to action Friday, when it travels to Kent State for a 1 p.m. doubleheader versus the Golden Flashes. BSU will then head to Buffalo for single games Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).