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Waubonsee softball earns post-season honors

Coach Clark, 10 Lady Chiefs recognized for their outstanding season

The Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) and the NJCAA’s Region IV Softball Committee recently recognized Waubonsee Community College players for their outstanding play this past spring. Ten members of the Lady Chiefs’ program were honored by the ISCC after Waubonsee captured the league title for the fifth straight year. Abby Foulk was tabbed the ISCC Pitcher of the Year, while MacKenzie Brown, Abby Etheridge, Alora O’Malley Molk, Jessa Garcia and Bianca Schuler were all named to the All-ISCC First Team. A quartet of Lady Chiefs; Ashley Blocker, Courtney Thomas, Molly Jordan and Alex Wagner, were selected to the All-ISCC Second Team. Waubonsee head coach Perry Clark was tabbed the ISCC Softball Coach of the Year for the fifth straight time. In addition, Brown was chosen to the All-Region First Team and Etheridge was selected to the All-Region Second Team. 

Foulk, a sophomore pitcher from Sycamore, went 5-1 in conference play with a 3.40 earned-run-average over 35 innings pitched. The right-hander walked just seven batters while striking out 31 in ISCC action. On the season Foulk won 14 games while posting a 3.76 earned-run-average over 158 and a third innings in the circle.

Brown batted a sizzling .535 in ISCC play, garnering 23 hits in 43 at bats with a .674 slugging percentage. The Lady Chiefs’ sophomore catcher finished the season with a .459 batting average, 28 runs knocked in, 18 stolen bases, 54 runs scored and 79 hits. The Plano High School graduate was chosen as the NJCAA Division II Player of the Week for the beginning of May after batting .593 over Waubonsee’s seven games in the Region IV Tournament. Brown also registered a .950 fielding percentage while handling a majority of the catching duties over 66 games played.

Etheridge, a freshman outfielder from Oswego High School, batted a torrid .559 (19 of 34) with seven stolen bases in ISCC action. On the season she posted a .423 batting average with 24 runs batted in, 43 runs scored, 66 hits and 19 stolen bases in 20 attempts.

Molk finished as the runner up in the ISCC’s Player of the Year voting after hitting a blistering .568 in conference games. The Plainfield East High School graduate smacked 10 doubles, drove in 17 runs, scored 17 runs and had a .630 on-base percentage in ISCC play. On the season the sophomore batted .359 with 52 runs batted in, 43 runs scored and 66 hits. Included in that total was 21 doubles, which tied O’Malley Molk for 11th among all NJCAA Division II players in two-baggers. The Lady Chiefs’ third baseman also drew 24 walks, booked a .429 on-base percentage, stole 11 bases and finished with an even .500 slugging percentage.

Garcia, another Oswego High School graduate, batted .484 in ISCC action with a .564 on-base percentage and a .645 slugging percentage. Overall on the season the Lady Chiefs’ sophomore right fielder posted a .379 batting average with 44 runs knocked in, 41 runs scored and 50 hits. The left-handed hitter smacked 13 doubles, two triples and five home runs en route to compiling a .621 slugging percentage. Garcia finished with a .491 on-base percentage while drawing a team-leading 27 walks, which tied her for 20th nationally in that category.

A freshman from Joliet West High School, Schuler batted .483 in conference with a .621 slugging percentage. Overall the Lady Chiefs’ second baseman finished the season with a .282 batting average, 34 runs batted in, seven doubles, a triple and two home runs.

Blocker batted .357 with six stolen bases in ISCC games. On the season the Oswego High School graduate finished in the top-30 nationally in five offensive categories. The Lady Chiefs’ sophomore outfielder was third nationally in at bats with 208, tied for 11th with six triples, tied for 13th with 84 hits, tied for 15th with 64 runs scored and tied for 29th with 25 stolen bases. Overall Blocker batted .404 with 25 runs driven in from the lead-off spot in Waubonsee’s line-up.

Thomas, a sophomore from Yorkville High School, hit .381 in conference play with a .571 slugging percentage. The Lady Chiefs’ shortstop finished the season with a .326 batting average, 35 runs knocked in, 40 runs scored, 59 hits, 14 doubles, three triples and a dozen stolen bases.

Jordan batted .410 in conference action with a .615 slugging percentage. The Aurora West High School graduate finished the season with a .323 batting average to go along with 47 runs batted in, 39 runs scored, 54 hits and 24 walks. The Lady Chiefs’ first baseman also drilled 11 doubles and was second on the team with six home runs.

Wagner, also an Oswego High School graduate, went 5-0 with a save and 2.55 earned-run-average in ISCC play. The right-handed pitcher walked just two batters in 33 conference innings. On the season the freshman won 16 games in the circle, compiling a 3.90 earned-run-average while also earning three saves along the way. Wagner tossed 161 and a third innings to rank 22nd nationally among all NJCAA Division II hurlers. In addition she walked only 40 batters this spring, to rank eighth nationally in least walks allowed among pitchers with at least 150 innings pitched.

Clark, in his eighth season as Waubonsee’s head coach and 18th with the program, guided the squad to their fifth consecutive ISCC title and sixth crown overall. The Lady Chiefs went 13-1 in league play this spring and have gone 59-5 over the last five seasons in conference action. During his eight-year tenure the Oswego High School alumnus has led Waubonsee to 223 wins and three Region IV runner-up finishes, averaging nearly 28 wins per season.  

 Waubonsee finished the season 41-25 overall, coming within three outs of advancing to the NJCAA Division II World Series before Sauk Valley Community College rallied for a 5-4 win in the Region IV Championship game. The Lady Chiefs finished in the top-20 nationally in eight offensive categories. Waubonsee led all NJCAA Division II teams with 238 walks, and was sixth in total runs scored (445), hits (605) and runs batted in (387). The squad tied for 10th nationally in triples (19), was 12th in doubles (103), 16th in stolen bases (102) and 17th in extra base hits (149).