MILWAUKEE, Wis. (naccsports.org) --- The Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) has announced its major award winners and all-conference team for the 2019 softball campaign. Wisconsin Lutheran College senior Abby Mahsem earned her second straight NACC Pitcher of the Year honor, while Aurora University senior Elaine Walker was named the league's Position Player of the Year. Gina Followell of Concordia University Wisconsin capped a superb rookie season with NACC Freshman of the Year accolades, while her coach, Steve Crook, was selected by his peers as the league's Coach of the Year. All awards were voted upon by the league's head coaches.
Mahsem leads all NACC pitchers with a 1.73 earned-run average and 132 strikeouts. She has posted a 12-10 record in 142 innings over 24 appearances, including 19 starts, and also has a save. She has a pair of 10-strikeout performances to her credit in NACC play - March 31 against Alverno and April 24 against Lakeland while just missing the mark on three other occasions. Opponents hit just .246 against Mahsem, who averages 6.51 strikeouts per outing. She also has seven shutouts to her credit this season.
Walker, a shortstop, is one of the league's top hitters. In 22 NACC games, she hit .520 while posting league-leading totals in hits (39), RBIs (26), total bases (65) and a NACC-best .867 slugging percentage, while ranking second in batting average, runs scored (24), home runs (6) and on-base percentage (.576) and third in doubles (8). Overall, Walker has posted a .503 batting average in 40 games, second among NACC players, while leading all league players in hits (72), RBIs (42) and total bases (115). She recorded at least one hit in 34 of 40 regular-season games and had multiple hits on 24 occasions. Walker also has 13 multiple-RBI games to her credit this season. As of May 1, Walker's hit total leads NCAA Division III.
Followell has posted a 10-4 mark with a 2.04 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 21 appearances (17 starts) as the Falcons' usual game one starter. She ranks third amongst NACC pitchers in strikeouts but tops the list in strikeouts per game at 7.66. Followell has twirled four shutouts this season. While she is yet to hit double-digit strikeouts in a single game, she has posted nine Ks on four separate occasions and has punched out seven or more eight times.
Crook, in his 20th season at the helm of the Falcons, led CUW to its first NACC regular-season crown. The Falcons also won the 2002 Lake Michigan Conference title under his tutelage. In league play, CUW led the NACC in every major offensive category - runs (153), hits (224), batting average (.361), on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.557), stolen bases (54), doubles (44), home runs (24), RBIs (146) and walks drawn (67). Through May 1, the Falcons rank in the top 25 in NCAA Division III in slugging percentage (15th) and home runs per game (18th, 0.88). Led by Followell, the CUW pitching staff has posted a 2.39 ERA (2.32 in NACC play) while holding opponents to a NACC-low .235 batting average.
Of the 31 all-conference honorees, NACC regular-season champion Concordia Wisconsin and runner-up MSOE each had the maximum six individuals honored. MSOE had a league-best four first-teamers, while CUW's six honorees were divided evenly between the two teams. Aurora and Marian had four all-league players apiece with three Spartans making the first team, while Wisconsin Lutheran had three individuals selected, including a first-teamer (Mahsem).
Concordia Chicago, Dominican and Rockford all had two All-NACC selections, while Alverno and Benedictine each had one individual recognized. Both of Concordia Chicago's honorees were named to the All-NACC First Team.
|2019 NACC Softball Awards and All-Conference Team|
|Position Player of the Year - Elaine Walker, Aurora|
|Pitcher of the Year - Abby Mahsem, Wisconsin Lutheran|
|Freshman of the Year - Gina Followell, Concordia Wisconsin|
|Coach of the Year - Steve Crook, Concordia Wisconsin|
|First Team||School||Yr.||Pos.||Hometown||High School|
|Elaine Walker||Aurora||Sr.||SS||Schaumburg, Ill.||Schaumburg|
|Hannah Tomasko||Aurora||So.||P||Virden, Ill.||North Mac|
|Sam Owens||Aurora||Sr.||1B||Palos Hills, Ill.||Stagg|
|Marita Van Dyke||Concordia Chicago||Sr.||P/1B||Brownsburg, Ind.||Tri-West|
|Melissa Balkema||Concordia Chicago||Sr.||SS||St. John, Ind.||Hanover Central|
|Molly O'Connell||Concordia Wisconsin||Jr.||1B||New London, Wis.||New London|
|Jenna Pozezinski||Concordia Wisconsin||So.||DP||Lake Villa, Ill.||Grayslake North|
|Gina Followell||Concordia Wisconsin||Fr.||P||Romeoville, Ill.||Plainfield East|
|Ally Fox||Marian||Jr.||2B||Greenville, Wis.||Hortonville|
|Peyton Loesch||Marian||So.||1B||Bolingbrook, Ill.||Plainfield East|
|Emily Snow||MSOE||Sr.||C||Long Beach, Calif.||Millikan|
|Lauren Stefanczyk||MSOE||Fr.||SS||Palmyra, Wis.||Palmyra-Eagle|
|Lorrin Pondo||MSOE||So.||P||Bolingbrook, Ill.||Bolingbrook|
|Amanda Manssen||MSOE||Jr.||1B||Bull Valley, Ill.||McHenry West|
|Abby Mahsem||Wisconsin Lutheran||Sr.||P||South Milwaukee, Wis.||South Milwaukee|
|Second Team||School||Yr.||Pos.||Hometown||High School|
|Andie Vandertie||Alverno||Sr.||INF||Algoma, Wis.||Algoma|
|Josie Lytton||Aurora||Fr.||OF/C||Berkeley, Ill.||Immaculate Conception|
|Emily Moore||Benedictine||Jr.||C||Morris, Ill.||Morris Community|
|Maddie Zazas||Concordia Wisconsin||Sr.||SS||Mundelein, Ill.||Mundelein|
|Becky Bonnin||Concordia Wisconsin||Sr.||OF||Kenosha, Wis.||St. Joseph Catholic|
|Sara Rosenow||Concordia Wisconsin||Sr.||OF||Kimberly, Wis.||Kimberly|
|Gabby Curran||Dominican||Sr.||UT||Elmhurst, Ill.||Immaculate Conception|
|Sydney Kuderna||Dominican||Sr.||P/OF||Naperville, Ill.||Naperville Central|
|Katy Croeker||Marian||So.||3B||Kenosha, Wis.||Bradford|
|Lindsey Strainis||Marian||Sr.||SS||Green Bay, Wis.||Ashwaubenon|
|Emily Wiederholt||MSOE||Jr.||P||Cuba City, Wis.||Cuba City|
|Rachel Ziemba||MSOE||Sr.||OF||South Elgin, Ill.||South Elgin|
|Emily Cox||Rockford||Jr.||OF||Erie, Ill.||Erie|
|Rylee Klema||Rockford||Fr.||P||Mendota, Ill.||Mendota|
|Karah Ritacco||Wisconsin Lutheran||Jr.||OF||Chicago, Ill.||Trinity|
|Gracie Wilson||Wisconsin Lutheran||So.||SS||Deerfield, Wis.||Deerfield|
|Honorable Mention||School||Yr.||Pos.||Hometown||High School|
|Cheyenne Mathas||Lakeland||Fr.||OF||St. John, Ind.||Lake Central|