The 2017 Minnesota College Athletic Conference fastpitch softball season concluded recently with the annual end-of-season coaches meeting. The league skippers took time to recognize some of the top talent in the MCAC with All-Divisional team selection, as well as the Region All-Tournament honorary squad.
The Northern Division proved to be a tightly contested affair, with several teams in the hunt for the hardware. In a schedule which included both double-header format and a season-ending, seeded, Northern Division tournament, Itasca Community College outlasted the rest of the field, earning a 10-2 MCAC record, one better than both Central Lakes College and Mesabi Range College, who finished 9-3 in the Division. Rainy River turned in a 7-5 league mark, good for fourth place, while Hibbing, Vermilion and Northland CTC rounded out the standings table.
Once league play concluded, Itasca leaned on their talent and experience to carry them to the Region XIIIB crown and a bid to the 2017 NJCAA Division III World Series, where they finished in 8th place.
Individually, the North produced some notable performances from the circle, with ICC pitcher Mandi McNeil hurling an impressive 30 complete games and a league-leading 213 total innings. McNeil went 24-9 in 2017, followed closely by Mesabi Range College pitcher Joely Roberts, who was 18-11 for the season, and was credited with 2 saves as well. The Central Lakes pitching duo of Andrea Wagoner and Kayla Larson had a great year as well, as both appeared in 20 contests for the Raiders, as did as Rainy River's two aces, Arianna Orre and Kamia Arbizo, which combined to start over 20 contests apiece. Avery Azure led Northland CTC in appearances with 26 on the year.
From the batter's box, Itasca led the division in home runs (27) while Rainy River was tops in batting average at .422. Individually, Rainy River was paced by Kamia Abrizo who drove in 66 runs on the year, while Cassie Tomsczak swiped 37 bases. Mesabi Range athlete Joely Roberts hit for a .478 average, while her MRC teammate, Lexi Hill, cracked 9 home runs. Itasca's season produced a pair of .400 hitters, Sam Olejar (.456) and Kayla Christopherson (.418) and Northland CTC had a bright spot in Emily Anderson, who led her Pioneers with a .400 batting average. Central Lakes had perhaps the most balance offense, with three Raiders eclipsing the .400 mark: Kayla Smude (.482), Maddy Stall (.403) and Andrea Wagoner (.400)
The league coaches also recognized a pair of Hibbing CC athletes, Ashley Mossuto and Abby Lemke and Vermilion's Desley Sabby, all of whom had solid all-round performances for their squads in 2017.
The MCAC North All-Division Team:
Joely Roberts, Mesabi Range College
Mandi McNeil, Itasca Community College
Cassie Tomczak, Rainy River Community College
Lexi Hill, Mesabi Range College
Kaye Smude, Central Lakes College
Kayla Christopherson, Itasca Community College
Maddy Stall, Central Lakes College
Ashley Mossuto, Hibbing Community College
Desley Sabby, Vermilion Community College
Kamia Arbizo, Rainy River Community College
Sam Olejar, Itasca Community College
Andrea Wagoner, Central Lakes College
Jordan Switzer, Rainy River Community College
Emily Anderson, Northland Community & Technical College
Abby Lemke, Hibbing Community College
Arianna Orre, Rainy River Community College
Alexis Boissy, Mesabi Range College
Sydney Denny, Itasca Community College
The 2017 NJCAA Region XIIIB All-Tournament Team:
Itasca CC: Mandi McNeil, Kayla Christopherson, Carli Haynes
Central Lakes College: Kaye Smude, Maddy Stall, Kayla Larson
Mesabi Range College: Joely Roberts, Lexi Hill
Rainy River CC: Arianna Orre
Tournament MVP: Mandi McNeil, Itasca
2017 Region XIIIB Coach-of-the-Year: Kyle Erickson
For final stats, standings and more in MCAC Softball, please visit: www.mcacsports.org
Story Courtesy of MCAC Sports