First Bulldog To Win Award Since Seema Hingorani In 1991
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Sarah Onorato's remarkable season has earned her a big honor. Onorato, who set a number of school records, including hitting 14 home runs, has been named the Ivy League Player of the Year.
"It is such an honor to be recognized in this way, and I am just so thankful to my coaches and teammates who held me accountable to work hard every day," Onorato said. "My success this season is owed largely to them."
She is the first Bulldog to win the award since Seema Hingorani in 1991.
Onorato, a North Reading, Mass., native, also was selected as the first team All-Ivy catcher. Junior outfielder Tori Balta earned honorable mention recognition for the third straight year.
Onorato, a sophomore who batted .430, has likely run away with the Ivy League batting crown, hitting 49 points better than the next closest player with only Penn still playing in the NCAA Tournament. In league play, Onorato's average climbed to .448 as she went 30-for-67 with nine doubles, one triple and six home runs. More than half of her hits in league play went for extra bases, helping her to an .881 slugging percentage in Ivy action.
Onorato, who is currently fifth in the nation in doubles per game (0.4) and 13th in slugging percentage, leads the league in hits (64), runs scored (37), doubles (19), home runs (14), total bases (127), slugging percentage (.852) and on-base percentage (.497). She had 16 multiple-hit games, including nine games with three hits. She had a 20-game hitting streak at one point, the fourth-longest in Ivy League history, and a streak of 26 consecutive games safely reaching base.
Onorato's .430 batting average is the highest by a Bulldog since Jennifer Fong hit .430 to lead the Ancient Eight in 1993. Her .852 slugging percentage is also third-highest in league history, while the 127 total bases are second-most all-time. The 14 home runs are also tied for fifth-most in a season in league history and a Yale single-season record. Her 19 doubles and 64 hits are also new Yale single-season marks.
"Sarah got on a hot streak when the season started, and it ended up lasting all year long. She was just so steady and consistent," said Yale head coach Jen Goodwin. "To have a sophomore win this award is pretty remarkable. It shows the respect she earned from the coaches around the league, and we are so lucky to have her on our team."
Onorato also may have been one of the most improved players in the nation. She raised her batting average by 175 points from her rookie season and hit 13 more home runs than a year ago.
"I feel like I gained a lot of confidence this year compared to my freshman year, just from having the experience of last season under my belt," said Onorato, who is working this summer for Aspire, a program run by Massachusetts General Hospital for children and young adults with Asperger's and autism spectrum disorders.
"That was a key to my success this year and helped me take a good approach on the field and at the plate. I worked a lot on my swing in the off-season, and I think some of the improvements I made really made a difference once the season started."
Balta also enjoyed another fine season for the Bulldogs, starting 45 games in centerfield. Her 11 sacrifice bunts are second in the Ivy League, and she is currently the 41st toughest player to strike out in all of Division I softball. In 136 at bats, she has struck out just seven times.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity