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 Southern Division was dominated by St. Cloud Technical & Community College, who posted a 22-1 Division record, which was amassed in a double-header, home-and-away series format. Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Minnesota State-Fergus Falls both brought seasoned squads to the table in 2017 and the Golden Rams and Spartans battled to second (ARCC) and third place (MS-FF) regular season finishes. Minnesota West earned their way into the fourth spot, and the last Regional tournament berth, with a double-header sweep of Riverland CC on the last day of the regular season. Riverland's 4-16 mark sat them at fifth spot in the league table, one win ahead of Ridgewater College.
Once league play concluded, SCTCC found another gear in their performance arsenal, going unbeaten in Region XIIIA play, dispatching Minnesota West and Anoka twice en route to the Region championship and a spot in the NJCAA Division III fastpitch softball championships.
The Cyclones' collective experience helped them on the biggest stage of their campaign, as Coach Greg Thorstad's team finished their run with a 2-2 record in the national tournament, including an impressive come-from-behind 12-11 win over Brookdale CC , a game in which they were down 9 runs in the third inning. Ultimately, Suffolk CC ended the season for St. Cloud Technical and Community College with a 7-5 setback in the third round of the consolation championship.
Individually, the South produced some notable pitching performances. Anoka-Ramsey's duo of Quincy Gross and Lindsey Swanson both appeared more than 20 times for their team, with Gross finishing with an strong 2.67 ERA and Swanson throwing a team-leading 114 innings. St. Cloud Technical and Community College's pitching ranks were also led by two standouts, as Ashley Pool and Shania Kinghorn easily found their way into double-digit win territory, as Kinghorn went 19-4 overall and Pool notched a 16-4 record. For Minnesota State's Tarreyn Justesen, 2017 was an especially busy season, as Justesen started 23 of her team's 29 games, tallying 16 wins and 22 complete games along the way.
Minnesota West took a balanced approach to the pitching circle, with Katherine Ihnen and Brooklyn Barnett combining for 26 games total and six wins. Riverland's Allison Sharp accounted for 3 Blue Devils wins on the year and teammate Jaydin Bastain had a win and save in 2017. Ridgewater was led by Natalie Nueman, who collected 3 wins and 16 complete games during the year.
Offensively, SCTCC put up some impressive numbers, as they led the division in hits (216), runs (182) and home runs (33). Anoka-Ramsey and M-State were close in the standings, and in offensive statistics as well, with ARCC hitting .307 compared to M-State's .302, and the two squads were separated by only one point in on-base percentage, with the Spartan's .387 just ahead of ARCC at .386. St. Cloud's 137 stolen bases led the division, and was second overall in MCAC, behind only Northern Division foe Rainy River Community College.
Shania Kinghorn made the most of her 154 plate appearances for the Cyclones, hitting at .481 average, but was second on her team in that category, with Chloe Callahan connecting at an impressive .500 clip. Minnesota State-Fergus Falls athlete Lindsey Dierks went yard 6 times in 2017, along with 23 RBI's and teammate Haley Poehler stole 22 bases, tops in their Spartan squad. Anoka-Ramsey's Ashton Prachar led the Golden Rams with a .406 batting average and Lindsey Swanson belted 8 home runs. Minnesota West had a trio of .400+ batters, with Brooklyn Barnett (.414), Emily Haubrich (.436) and Tanner Gunnink (.408) reaching that notable plateau. Joining the .400 club were Ridgewater's Raelin Radke at .418 and three Riverland athletes- Brandi Meyers (.405), Kayla Crowell (.421) and Allison Sharp (.413).
The league coaches chose to recognize the top 18 performers in the MCAC South this year; the MCAC All-Division team is as follows:
The MCAC South All-Division Team:
Quincy Gross, Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Chloe Callahan, St. Cloud Technical and Community College
Shania Kinghorn, St. Cloud Technical and Community College
Tarryn Justeson, M-State Fergus Falls
Amber Boese, M-State Fergus Falls
Ashton Prachar, Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Ashleigh Troumbly, St. Cloud Technical and Community College
Brianna Kinghorn, St. Cloud Technical and Community College
Ashley Pool, St. Cloud Technical and Community College
Doranna Blascyk, M-State Fergus Falls
Shannon Olson, Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Raelin Radke, Ridgewater College
Alexus Martin-Warren, Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Allison Sharp, Riverland Community College
Sydney Imsande, M-State Fergus Falls
Emily Haubrich, Minnesota West Community & Technical College
Lindsey Swanson, Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Katherine Ihnen, Minnesota West Community & Technical College
The 2017 NJCAA Region XIIIA All-Tournament Team:
SCTCC: Shania Kinghorn, Chloe Callahan, Chelsea Schroeder, Hannah VanHale
Anoka-Ramsey: Quincy Gross, Lindsey Swanson, Ashton Prachar
M-State Fergus Falls: Haley Poehler
Minnesota West: Tanner Gunnink
MVP: Shania Kinghorn, St. Cloud Technical & Community College
Coach-of-the-Year: Greg Thorstad, St. Cloud Technical & Community College
For final stats, standings and more in MCAC Softball, please visit: www.mcacsports.org
Story Courtesy of MCAC Sports