"So many girls in the Pac-12, so many great performances this year, and to receive that honor is so awesome," Flippen said. "I think anybody could've gotten it this year, and I'm shocked that it was me, but I'm also very grateful and really proud of myself."
Flippen led the league with a .421 average and a .515 on-base percentage, adding 10 home runs, 47 RBIs and stealing a team-best 11 bases. The Bonita, Calif., native holds the Utah record for career batting average (.389) and total runs (192) as one of the most productive hitters in program history.
As a defender, Flippen had a .964 fielding percentage and was an instrumental piece of a Utah infield which led the Pac-12 in double plays per game (0.56).
Flippen said she visited with a sports psychologist over the summer after her standout junior year. The key, the psychologist told her, was to not try to measure herself against her first Pac-12 player of the year season.
"She said, 'Don't worry about doing it again, just go out there and play softball like you know how to play,' " Flippen said. "That's what I did this year. I just focused on my teammates and everyone around me and playing to the best of my abilities."
Just as critical as her numbers, coach Amy Hogue said, was Flippen's steady-handed leadership in the clubhouse. The three-year captain is as reliable a player as Hogue has ever coached, even when she struggles on the diamond.
"She is a ultimate team leader whether she has a good day or a bad day," she said. "She's a great player, so she has fewer bad days than the rest of us, but you can't tell how well she played by the way she's leading."
Miranda Viramontes was the other first-team all-conference player for the Utes, after a vast improvement in the circle. She ranked among the Pac-12's leaders in ERA (1.22) and had a 13-3 record.
Three other Utes outfielder Alyssa Barrera, pitcher Katie Donovan and shortstop Anissa Urtez earned second-team honors. Barrera and catcher Kelly Martinez both made the all-freshman squad.
Utah's all-Pac-12 honorees
Hannah Flippen, 2B, Sr. • Co-player of the year, defensive player of the year
Miranda Viramontes, P, Jr. • 1st team all-conference
Anissa Urtez, SS, Sr. • 2nd team all-conference
Katie Donovan, P, Jr. • 2nd team all-conference
Alyssa Barrera, OF, Fr. • 2nd team all-conference, all-freshman team
Kelly Martinez, C, Fr. • All-freshman team