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Several softball players earn top AMCC honors
On the eve of the Lake Erie College softball team’s appearance in the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament first-round, which is only the second in program history, several Storm players made history of their own with the announcement of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) post-season honors.
For the first time in the program’s 11 seasons of membership in the AMCC, Lake Erie players not only earned one of the top individual honors, but both as Lake Erie junior first baseman Brittney Binko (Warren, Ohio/John F. Kennedy) was named AMCC Co-Player of the Year and freshman third baseman Katie Puda (Euclid, Ohio/Euclid) was named AMCC Newcomer of the Year. Additionally, a total of seven players combined to earn either first or second team honors, including Binko and senior designated hitter Shaina Vanderpool (Chillicothe, Ohio/Kingston) as first-team honorees and Puda, freshman pitcher Lauren Malicki (Independence, Ohio/Independence), freshman catcher Mary Beth Hoagland (Garfield Heights, Ohio/Trinity), junior shortstop Jessica Hedrick (Geneva, Ohio/Geneva) and junior left fielder Katie Staats (Willoughby, Ohio/Willoughby South) as second-team honorees.
Binko, who earned AMCC Player of the Week honors this season for the fourth time in her career, hit .435 with a program season record of 47 RBIs and a slugging percentage of .702 as the team’s leading hitter. She was third in the AMCC in average and the league leader in RBIs. Her RBI total ranked her 24th in NCAA Division III, while also moving her into Lake Erie’s career leader spot. Additionally in the AMCC, she was third in hits (54), home runs (9) and total bases (87), fifth in slugging percentage and ninth in on base percentage (.478). Her .989 fielding percentage led the team and was the third best in the conference with more chances than any other player in the AMCC at 263. She has been recognized by the conference each year, being named honorable mention as a freshman and second-team as a sophomore.
Puda, who set Lake Erie’s season record for home runs with 10, hit .435 with 40 RBIs. She also had 10 doubles, 35 runs scored and was named AMCC and ECAC South Region Player of the Week in her collegiate debut season. She was the league’s ninth leading hitter, who ranked third in slugging percentage (.800) and RBIs, fourth in runs and ninth in hits, while leading the AMCC in home runs and total bases (96).
Vanderpool, who is a two-time first-team pick, hit .348 with 12 doubles, five home runs and 25 RBIs. She was sixth in the league in doubles and finished her career as the program’s third all-time leader in RBIs with 70.
Malicki went 8-0 in the AMCC with an ERA of 1.68. For the season, she recorded nine wins and 38 strikeouts in 89.2 innings of work. She earned AMCC Pitcher of the Week honors earlier this season.
Hoagland hit .382 with eight doubles, three home runs, 17 RBIs and 29 runs scored. She had a .987 fielding percentage, which was the second best on the team and sixth best in the conference.
Hedrick, who garnered her third AMCC post-season honor in as many years, hit .391 with a program season record 45 runs scored, which also ranked second in the league and 37th in the nation. She had a team-best 14 doubles, which was third most in the conference. She was fourth in the AMCC in total hits (52) and total bases (84) and sixth in home runs (6), never before having hit a round tripper until this season. She stole a team-leading seven bases to make her the program career leader in the category, while also becoming Lake Erie’s all-time leader in runs.
Staats, a first-timer for AMCC accolades, hit .346 in conference play, while totaling 22 runs and 16 RBIs on the season. She had seven extra base hits on the year, four of which were home runs.
The nine total honors received this season is the most ever accumulated in one year for the Storm program. Last year’s team set the previous record with eight post-season conference accolades. It is the first time, however a Lake Erie player has ever earned any of the top individual honors of AMCC Player and Newcomer of the Year.
This was the teams last year of membership in the AMCC as the Storm moves up to NCAA Division II with the 2008-09 academic year.