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Waubonsee softball garners post-season awards

Eight Chiefs recognized for their outstanding play

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. Eight members of the Chiefs’ program were honored by the ISCC after Waubonsee captured at least a share of the league title for an unprecedented sixth straight year. Tiffani Palmatier, Courtni Neubauer, Abby Etheridge, Taylor Browder, Shannen Sutherland and Mary Wackerlin were each named to the All-ISCC First Team. Bianca Shuler and Alex Wagner were selected to the All-ISCC Second Team. In addition, Palmatier and Neubauer were chosen to the All-Region First Team in leading head coach Perry Clark’s squad. 
Palmatier set a Waubonsee single-season record with 74 runs driven in this spring, surpassing Lauren Vitiello’s mark of 67 set in 2011. Palmatier finished tied for 12th nationally among all NJCAA Division II players in runs batted in. The sophomore from Oswego East High School also slugged a dozen home runs to equal Vitiello’s Chiefs’ single-season record also set in 2011. In addition Palmatier smacked 19 doubles, tying her for 23rd nationally in that category. The right-handed hitter finished the season with a .350 batting average, 126 total bases and a .640 slugging percentage. In ISCC play Palmatier batted .439 with six doubles, a triple and four home runs, to go along with 19 runs driven in and 18 runs scored.
Neubauer batted a sizzling .442 on the season with 76 hits and 54 runs scored. The freshman from Burlington Central High School posted a .527 on-base percentage, placing her 50th nationally. The speedy left-handed hitter drew 25 walks, was hit by pitch six times and also swiped 38 bases out of 41 attempts, tying her for ninth nationally in stolen bases. In conference action Neubauer batted .432 with 15 runs scored, seven stolen bases and an on-base percentage of .544.    
Etheridge, a sophomore from Oswego High School, was also one of the Chiefs offensive catalysts. The left-handed hitter posted a .546 batting average in ISCC contests with 21 runs scored and seven stolen bases. Overall on the season Etheridge batted .407 with a team-leading 77 hits, 61 runs scored, and 26 walks which tied her for 28th nationally in that category. A two-time All-ISCC First Team selection, Etheridge finished her Waubonsee career with 143 hits in 345 at bats for a two-year batting average of .420.
Browder, a sophomore from Mendota High School, won nine games in the circle. The right-hander threw 97 and two-thirds innings with a team-leading 34 appearances. In ISCC action Browder won five games and posted a 4.08 earned run average.
The right-handed hitting Sutherland batted .500 in ISCC action, ripping five doubles, a triple and three home runs to go along with 18 runs driven in. Overall on the season Sutherland batted .316 with 10 doubles, one triple, six home runs and 30 runs knocked in. The freshman from Sandwich High School also posted a .537 slugging percentage.
In conference play Wackerlin batted .467 with three doubles, three home runs, 16 runs driven in and a .590 on-base percentage. The Mendota High School product finished the season with a .347 batting average, smacking 10 doubles, a pair of triples and seven home runs. A right-handed hitter, Wackerlin was second on the team with 47 runs batted in and a .580 slugging percentage. The Chiefs’ freshman catcher compiled a .972 fielding percentage with just five errors on the season.
A sophomore from Joliet West High School, Schuler batted .353 in conference action to earn All-ISCC accolades for the second year in a row. Overall on the season the Chiefs’ second baseman hit .322 with 10 doubles, a triple and a home run. Defensively, Schuler posted a .926 fielding percentage with 66 putouts in 122 chances.
Wagner, an Oswego East High School graduate, earned All-ISCC Second Team honors for the second straight year. The right-hander went 3-0 with a 2.37 earned–run-average in conference play. Overall Wagner won seven games in the circle while tossing a team-leading 103 and two-thirds innings. At the plate the sophomore batted .302 with 29 hits in 96 at bats. 
Clark, in his eight year as Waubonsee’s head coach and 19th with the program overall, guided the squad to an unprecedented sixth consecutive ISCC title. The College of Lake County had streaks of five straight titles on two occasions in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Clarks’ Chiefs went 11-3 in league play this spring and have gone 70-8 over the last six seasons in conference action. An Oswego High School alumnus, Clark has directed Waubonsee to 249 wins and three Region IV runner-up finishes during his eight-year tenure as head coach.