OKLAHOMA CITY – USA Softball, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, is proud to announce the selection of Erick Ochoa (Imperial, Calif.) as the 2017 USA Softball Male Athlete of the Year. Competing as part of the 2017 Men’s National Team (MNT) in two international events last summer, Ochoa was a key factor in the U.S. claiming the Bronze Medal at the Pan American Championship in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – the first medal for the USA Softball MNT program since 2001.
“I am thrilled to have been selected as the USA Softball Male Athlete of the Year,” said Ochoa. “I wasn’t expecting it and feel honored to have received this recognition. First of all, I would like to thank God for allowing me to play this sport. Also, I would like to thank USA Softball for giving me the opportunity to represent the United States. This has been possible with the help of my coaches Denny Bruckert, Gregg Leather and Greg Hicks who have allowed me to play alongside my teammates, who also in turn have given me good advice and confidence. I would like to mention how important my family has been in all the support they have continuously provided me, filling me with good vibes and encouragement in each practice and every game.”
Ochoa made an appearance in every game for the Red, White and Blue last summer at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Men’s World Championship and was consistent at the plate, finishing with a .381 (8-for-21) batting average with five RBI, six runs scored and a home run. Ochoa had continued success at the Pan American Championship, leading the team with three home runs and a .724 slugging percentage while tying a team-high record of nine RBI.
“Erick has clearly made his presence felt in the middle of Team USA’s lineup,” said Men’s National Team Head Coach, Gregg Leather. “He was among the team leaders in most categories at the WBSC World Championship in White Horse and the Pan American Championship in the Dominican Republic. His patience at the plate and refusal to chase bad pitches is something we’d like all our hitters to emulate. He has become a consistent player at a very young age and his future in this game is very bright!”
You can find complete results from the 2017 Men’s National Team season at USASoftball.com.