Val Bertani readies for the pitch during UM-Dearborn's doubleheader with Aquinas on April 12, 2015. (File photo/MJ)
Val Bertani readies for the pitch during UM-Dearborn's doubleheader with Aquinas on April 12, 2015. (Rebecca Gallagher/MJ)
Val Bertani readies for the pitch during UM-Dearborn’s doubleheader with Aquinas on April 12, 2015. (Rebecca Gallagher/MJ)

By ERICK LEHMAN, Staff Reporter

University of Michigan-Dearborn outfield Val Bertani was named the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Player of the Week for the week ending April 5.

Bertani led the Wolverines to a 4-0 record while hitting .615 with four RBI and two stolen bases. She picked up at least one hit in each game.

Bertani is the first UM-Dearborn softball player in nine years to win the WHAC honor. The conference’s archive stretches back to the 2005-2006 school year.

Initially, Bertani couldn’t believe she had won the award despite having an excellent week at the plate.

“Initially I was shocked but also super happy about it. I knew I had a good week, but never could have guessed this would come of it,” Bertani said. “I think it’s great that UM-Dearborn is finally getting some recognition from the conference, and while I got the (personal) recognition, it wouldn’t have been possible without the entire team working hard to get those four wins this week.”

The Wolverines have turned heads this season and currently sit in second place in the WHAC with a 4-0 record.

The team had a big emphasis on getting better this fall and worked extremely hard to get to the point they are right now. Other teams may not have expected their rise.

“Throughout the fall, the entire team was focusing on individual skills that would make us better as a team. All of our hard work and dedication has payed off and coming in clutch as we play in our games,” Bertani said. “This year’s team is definitely a different team than years past. I don’t think that other teams are ready for us to do big things, but it’s our goal to be at the top of the WHAC this year. We’re trying to prove to everyone that we are a force to be reckoned with.”

Bertani winning WHAC Player of the Week is just one small step of recognition in UM-Dearborn’s rise to conference prominence, and it shouldn’t be the last if you ask anyone on the roster.

“We absolutely have all the elements to successfully get past all the conference teams and move on toward nationals,” Bertani said. “Our hitting is explosive, our defense is stellar, and our pitching staff is deep. We all connect greatly as a team, and I can’t see anything holding us back.”