Great Plains Conference
Player – Emily Strasser, Northwestern College (Sioux Falls Christian, Senior Infielder)
Emily Strasser of Northwestern College is this week's GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports softball player-of-the-week. Strasser, a senior from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had multiple hits in each of her six appearances this week, going 12-21 for a .571 average. She knocked in 11 runs on four doubles and a home run, posting an impressive slugging percentage of 1.154, helping the Raiders go 6-0 on the week and extend their winning streak to 19 games.
Pitcher – Kate Kralik, Northwestern College
Kate Kralik of Northwestern College is this week's GPAC/Hauff Mid-America Sports pitcher-of-the-week. Kralik, a sophomore from Indianola, Iowa, was nearly untouchable in the circle last week, going 4-0 in four appearances. Her ERA of 0.71 last week pushed her season average to 0.95, which is the best in the GPAC. Kralik struck out 20 batters over 19.2 innings, also pitching a complete game in a 6-1 win over Hastings.
North Dakota’s Madison Pederson and South Dakota’s Clara Edwards received the latest TicketSmarter Summit League Softball Peak Performer and Pitcher of the Week awards, respectively, league officials announced on Monday.
Pederson went 7-for-12 with 11 RBI, including six extra-base hits against St. Thomas. The Fighting Hawks took two of three games from the Tommies to move to 5-6 in League play. The Ham Lake, Minn., native went 6-for-9 with a home run, four doubles, four runs scored and eight RBI in a doubleheader split to open the series.
In the finale, Pederson crushed a three-run, go-ahead home run in the bottom of the sixth to give UND the lead for good. In total, Pederson registered a 1.417 slugging percentage and a .615 on-base percentage against the Tommies.
Edwards threw USD’s first no-hitter since 2009 and first against a Division I opponent in a seven-inning, two-strikeout performance against Western Illinois. The Clay Center, Kan., native came back with another complete-game performance in the series-clinching win where she fired six innings, allowing two earned runs on three strikeouts.
PEAK PERFORMER OF THE WEEK
Madison Pederson, North Dakota
Sr. | Infield | Ham Lake, Minn.
Also nominated: Aleesia Sainz (South Dakota), Emma Osmundson (South Dakota State)
PEAK PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Clara Edwards, South Dakota
So. | Pitcher | Clay Center, Kan,
Also nominated: Tori Kniesche (South Dakota)
Summit League Week 10
South Dakota State's Jocelyn Carrillo and Tori Kniesche swept the latest TicketSmarter Summit League Softball Peak Performer and Pitcher of the Week awards, respectively, league officials announced on Monday.
Carrillo had a solid week for the Jackrabbits where she went 7-for-14, including 5-for-10 in the series sweep of Omaha at Augustana's Bowden Field in Sioux Falls. Furthermore, Carrillo hit at least one double in all four games she competed. The Palmdale, Calif., native began her week by belting two doubles with two RBI and scored a run along with a stolen base in the series finale win against St. Thomas.
In the series opener against the Mavericks, Carrillo collected two hits, including a walk-off single in the eighth inning for a 1-0 victory. Carrillo recorded a double and scored a run in game two of the series and posted two hits, including another double along with a key outfield assist in centerfield in the series finale. In total, Carrillo registered a .857 slugging percentage and a .563 on-base percentage.
Kniesche was the key to SDSU's series sweep of Omaha where she pitched all three games against the Mavericks and started two of them, eventually finishing with all three victories. The Wayne, Neb., native, who was also named the D1Softball's Pitcher of the Week, began her week in St. Paul against St. Thomas with five no-hit innings where she allowed one baserunner via a walk while striking out nine batters.
In her first appearance against Omaha, Kniesche held the Mavericks at bay throwing eight innings of two-hit softball while walking two and striking out a season and League-high 18 batters. The second game saw Kniesche come in relief in a 5-4 win where she threw the final 1.2 innings and didn't give up a hit or free base while striking out a batter.
The series finale was one for the record books and the junior hurler would fire a school-record 14 innings in the circle where she struck out 15 hitters on six hits and five walks as the Jackrabbits would close out a 1-0 win. Kniesche ended her week by throwing 28.2 innings and striking out 43 batters while not giving up a single run.
PEAK PERFORMER OF THE WEEK
Jocelyn Carrillo, South Dakota State
Jr. | Outfield | Palmdale, Calif.
Also nominated: Aleesia Sainz (South Dakota)
PEAK PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Tori Kniesche, South Dakota State
Jr. | Pitcher | Wayne, Neb.
Also nominated: Clara Edwards (South Dakota)
Northern Sun Athletic Conference
NSIC Player of the Week
#9 Abby Lien (UT, 5-8, Sr., R/R, Lakeville, Minn. / Eastview HS) – Augustana
- Slashed .625/.714/1.563 as the Vikings went 5-1
- Was 10-of-16 at the plate with eight runs scored and 10 RBIs
- Launched four home runs and three doubles
- Added three walks and two HBP
NSIC Pitcher of the Week
#24 Lauren Dixon (LHP, 5-6, Jr., L/L, Sobieski, Wis. / Pulaski HS) – Minnesota Duluth
- Recorded 32 strikeouts in 20.0 innings across four appearances
- Allowed just a single run to closed the week with an ERA of just 0.35
- Recorded 12 strikeouts, allowing one run in a 6.0 inning complete game win over BSU
- Went the full 5.0 innings against Winona State in game one on Friday
- Allowed just three hits and recording six more strikeouts
- Went four more innings in a relief effort in a 10-inning win in game two against Winona State
- Closed the week with a complete five-inning win against Upper Iowa
- Allowed two hits versus 10 strikeouts
- Surpassed 500 career strikeouts in her Bulldog career
- Holds a season ERA of 1.14, which ranks 13th nationally
- Named NSIC Pitcher of the Week for the third week in a row
NorthStar Athletic Conference
North Star Athletic Association Softball Pitcher-of-the-Week
Lauren Jurek – Bellevue (Neb.) – senior – pitcher/infielder – Bellevue, Neb. – Jurek went 2-0 record in the pitching circle as Bellevue (Neb.) went 4-0 record for the week. She allowed just one run in 14 total innings pitched, tossing a pair of complete game victories. She held the opponents to 10 total hits and issued just one walk. Offensively, Jurek batted .583 for the week with an on-base percentage of .615 and a slugging percentage of 1.167. She was 7-of-12 at the plate, with four doubles, a home run, and drove in six runs.
North Star Athletic Association Softball Player-of-the-Week
Morgan James – Viterbo (Wis.) – senior – center – Mineral Point, Wis. – James batted .786 for the week as Viterbo (Wis.) went 2-2 record. She went perfect 10-for-10 (1.000 batting average) in a tripleheader versus Dakota State (S.D.), collecting four hits in the first two games of the tripleheader. For the week, James was 10-of-13 at the plate with two doubles, a triple, a home run, and collected six RBIs. She posted an on-base percentage of .786 and a slugging percentage of 1.308. James also produced a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000 with 22 chances, recording 18 putouts and four assists.
Lone Star Conference
Michelle Arias, UT Tyler, JR, Business Administration, UTL, San Antonio, Texas, Marshall HS
Arias went 8-for-15 with a home run and 11 RBIs to lead nationally-ranked UT Tyler to three-game series sweeps of St. Mary’s and Western New Mexico. Arias also scored seven runs, walked twice and stole a base. She drove in at least one run in five of the six games to help the Patriots extend their winning streak to 20 games.
Maxine Valdez, Lubbock Christian, SR, Exercise Science, RHP, Buda Hays, HHS
Valdez went 2-0 with two complete games – a no-hitter and a 14-strikeout performance. The Lubbock Christian right-hander held Cameron hitless (her third no-hitter this season and fifth of her career) with five strikeouts. She was a walk away from a perfect game. Valdez then went on the road and posted career high in strikeouts – also the school’s highest total since 2019 – while going the distance (eight innings) against Angelo State. On the week for the nationally-ranked Lady Chaps, Valdez held opponents to a .133 average with two outs.
Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference
Player of the Week: Caitlyn Cole, CSU Pueblo – Fr. – C – Merced, Calif.
Cole became the first player in CSU Pueblo (16-27, 11-23 RMAC) program history to hit five home runs in a four-game series over the weekend when she led the ThunderWolves to a series split against University of Colorado Colorado Springs. The freshman concluded the weekend hitting 6-for-10 (.600 avg) and five of those hits went over the fence, while the sixth shot also went for extra bases. Cole closed the series with 10 RBI, nine runs, a scorching 2.200 slugging percentage and a .733 on-base percentage. The Merced, Calif., native compiled 22 bases, including a perfect 3-for-3 clip on stolen bases.
Cole has been prolific at the plate for the Pack all season and leads her team in hits (51), runs (41), extra-base shots (25), RBI (32) and batting average (.408). She also ranks among the nation’s top 50 with her 11 home runs on the year and stands 25th nationally with a .800 slugging percentage.
CSU Pueblo will now return home to host a four-game series against Black Hills State beginning with a doubleheader at noon MT on Saturday, April 22, on the RMAC Network.
Pitcher of the Week: Kali Crandall, Colorado Christian – Gr. – RHP – Artesia, N.M.
Crandall dominated inside the circle yet again last weekend as the Cougars (45-3, 35-1 RMAC) extended their win streak to 11 games with a series sweep over Metropolitan State University of Denver. The righty made pitching appearances in all four games and allowed just four hits while dealing 13 strikeouts, two complete games and one complete-game shutout. She closed the series with 18.1 innings of action and limited batters to a meager .073 batting average.
After improving her season record to 22-2 in the circle, Crandall continues to rank among the nation’s best in multiple categories. She leads the RMAC and ranks third nationally with 3.37 hits allowed per seven innings and stands atop the league and second in the country with 10 shutouts on the year. Crandall’s 22 victories and .77 WHIP each stand first in the RMAC and fourth in NCAA Division II.
The Cougars will now turn their attention to their final RMAC road series of the season, a four-game set against Colorado Mesa. Colorado Christian will begin its series against the Mavericks with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 22, at noon MT on the RMAC Network.
Minnesota College Athletic Conference
Taylor Shepard, right-handed pitcher for Minnesota North College - Itasca, has been named the MCAC North Division Softball Pitcher of the Week. Shepard went 2-0 in her one start and one relief appearance during the week, pitching 9 innings and striking out 8. She gave up only one earned run and 8 hits while walking 2. Sunny Edin, left fielder for Northland Community & Technical College, earned this week's MCAC North Division Softball Position Player of the Week award. Edin was 2 for 3 from the plate with a .667 batting average. She had a double, an in-the-park home run, 4 RBI, and scored a run.
Rochester Community & Technical College right-handed pitcher, first baseman, and DP, Bella Mehrkens, has the distinction of earning both the MCAC South Division Softball Pitcher of the Week award and the MCAC South Division Softball Position Player of the Week award this week. Mehrkens was 2-0 in her 2 starts, pitching 10 innings and giving up only 1 earned run, 2 runs, and 6 hits while striking out 13 and walking only 3. She was phenomenal at the plate as well, going 12 for 16 (.750 batting average), with 3 doubles, a triple, 5 home runs, 14 RBI, and scoring 12 runs.
South East Conference
Player of the Week Skylar Wallace, Florida Wallace, a redshirt junior infielder from Woodstock, Ga., posted an .800 batting average over the non-conference win over UNF and the series win over No. 12/9 Georgia. Wallace collected eight hits, eight runs scored, eight RBI, seven walks and three stolen bases last week. She registered her eighth triple of the season against the Ospreys, good for first place nationally this season in triples and third all-time in Florida history. In the series opener against the Bulldogs, Wallace produced a career-high four hits, seven RBI and three home runs.
Pitcher of the Week Ashley Rogers, Tennessee
Rogers, a graduate right-hander from Athens, Tenn., recorded two top-25 wins on the road this past week for the Lady Vols. Rogers shutout No. 14/17 Virginia Tech to open the week, allowing just one hit with one walk and six strikeouts over four innings of work. In the series opener at No. 17/16 Kentucky on Friday, she tossed a complete game, allowing one run on three hits with 11 strikeouts.
Freshman of the Week Hannah Camenzid
Camenzind, a left-handed pitcher from Valley, Neb., helped the Razorbacks earn the series win over UAB with her efforts Saturday. Camenzind made her fifth start in the circle, en route to her second complete game as she limited the Blazers to one unearned run on three hits and struck out one across five innings pitched. At the plate, she went 2-for-3 with a career-high three RBI and her first collegiate double.
Baylor’s Ana Watson (Player) and Texas’ Mac Morgan (Pitcher) collected Big 12 honors for their performances during the 10th week of the season. Watson lifted Baylor to a series win against Texas Tech in Lubbock, while Morgan guided Texas to a series victory over Kansas. This is the first weekly honor for both players.
Watson hit her first home runs of the season, launching three during the week. The junior led Baylor to four wins while hitting .438 with seven hits and a league-leading 12 RBIs. The outfielder launched a grand slam to help secure a 16-11 victory for the Bears in the second game against the Red Raiders. She continued her momentum with a three-run bomb in BU’s series finale 8-5 win over TTU. Watson was responsible for 33% of Baylor’s run production during the week.
Morgan picked up three wins during the week and was the only league pitcher to throw multiple complete-game shutouts, blanking Texas State in seven innings before tossing five innings against the Jayhawks in Texas’ 10-0 win. The Creighton, Missouri native’s .140 opponent batting average was the lowest by any Big 12 pitcher who faced 50-or-more batters and she was the only league pitcher to throw more than nine innings with a 0.00 ERA. Morgan has thrown a career-long 20 consecutive innings of scoreless softball over her last four pitching appearances.
Player of the Week
Brooke Andrews, Nebraska
Jr. – UT – Gretna, Neb. – Gretna – Major: Psychology
• Batted .600 with a 1.100 slugging percentage and .600 on-base percentage last week, leading Nebraska to a three-game sweep at Indiana
• Collected six hits (two doubles, one home run), six RBI and three runs scored during the weekend conference series
• Had at least one hit and one RBI in all three games, highlighted by three RBI, two runs and two hits in the opener of an April 15 doubleheader with the Hoosiers
• Two-time Academic All-Big Ten recipient (2021, 2022)
• Earns her first Big Ten Player of the Week award
• Last Nebraska Player of the Week: Billie Andrews (March 8, 2022)
Pitcher of the Week
Lauren Derkowski, Michigan
So. – RHP – Elmhurst, Ill. – York Community – Major: Industrial & Operations Engineering
• Went 3-0 with a 0.32 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 21.2 innings (three complete games) last week, tossing back-to-back complete-game no-hitters on April 14-15 against Purdue
• Became the first Big Ten pitcher to throw complete-game no-hitters on consecutive days since April 21-22, 1987, when Northwestern’s Lisa Ishikawa blanked Iowa and Illinois State by identical 1-0 scores
• Also became the first pitcher in Michigan softball history with complete-game no-hitters in consecutive starts
• Fanned 13 batters in the April 14 opener against Purdue before coming back with seven strikeouts in the series finale on April 15
• Receives her first career Big Ten Pitcher of the Week award
• Last Michigan Pitcher of the Week: Alex Storako (March 8, 2022)
Freshman of the Week
Jess Oakland, Minnesota
SS – San Jose, Calif. – Saint Francis – Major: Kinesiology
• Posted a .500 batting average, .500 slugging percentage and .583 on-base percentage last weekend, as Minnesota took two of three games against conference foe Michigan State
• Recorded five hits, three runs, three stolen bases and one RBI during the weekend series
• Logged three hits, two runs and an RBI in the series opener against MSU on April 14
• Captures her second Big Ten Freshman of the Week award
• Last Minnesota Freshman of the Week: Jess Oakland (Feb. 13, 2023)
Mid America Conference
MAC Softball Player of the Week
Holly Blaska, Senior, Miami
Blaska has proved to be a force at the plate. This week she batted .600 after 6 games. Her slugging percentage was an impressive .900 and she managed to make nearly every plate appearance count. She scored seven runs for the RedHawks and was responsible for eight RBI. She went 7-for-11 in the series against Bowling Green including one game where she went 3-for-4. She went 3-for-3 against Louisville and 5-for-9 overall in the Miami Invitational, leading the RedHawks in hits and doubles this week.
MAC Softball Pitcher of the Week
Alexa DiFeo, Redshirt Senior, Akron
Akron redshirt senior pitcher Alexa DiFeo continued her dominating run in the circle tossing three complete games en route to posting a 1.00 ERA and striking out 21 against only four walks to help the Zips extend their winning streak to eight straight. She opened her week pitching a complete game in a 4-1 win at Buffalo. She allowed only four hits and struck out nine batters. She followed with another complete-game gem against Buffalo in a 5-1 triumph striking out eight without allowing a walk. She capped her week working a complete game in a 7-1 win over Bowling Green in which she allowed only four hits, while fanning four.
USA Softball of South Dakota State Commissioner
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