The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced its 2012 Softball Awards on Thursday, May 17, recognizing four Gustavus softball players as All-Conference performers this season. Taking home All-MIAC distinction for the Black and Gold was senior Lisa Klass (Richfield, Minn.), junior Kate Rentschler (Lakefield, Minn.), and first-years Kailey Morgan (Mound, Minn.) and Sarah Rozell (Lakeville, Minn.).
Sarah Rozell was also named the MIAC’s Rookie-of-the-Year after a breakout season on the rubber.
The Tommies again proved to be the class of the MIAC in 2012, with three of the conference’s four major awards to show for it. Junior second baseman Kimmy Hassel (Bloomington, Ill./Normal) was honored as the Player-of-the-Year, rookie hurler Kendra Bowe (Chippewa Falls, Wis.) received Pitcher-of-the-Year honors and Head Coach John Tschida received the Coach-of-the-Year award.
The Gustavus softball team finished second in the conference for the third-consecutive season after going 20-2 in MIAC play. The Gusties reached the 30-win mark for the sixth time in the last seven years, going 34-9 overall. Gustavus defeated Augsburg 7-2 in the first round of the MIAC Playoffs before suffering a 9-0 loss to St. Thomas in the second round. After a 7-1 win over Saint Mary’s in an elimination game, Gustavus picked up a 5-2 victory over the Tommies to force a winner-takes-all MIAC Championship game. St. Thomas used a seven-run inning in the bottom of the second, cruising to an 8-0 win in five innings.
Throughout her four-year career on the hill, Lisa Klass has proven to be a leader of the finest caliber both on and off the diamond. The 2012 season was no different, as Klass captained a young Gustie squad to another runner-up finish in the always-competitive MIAC.
By earning All-Conference distinction this season, Klass becomes the fifth player in the history of Gustavus Adolphus softball to take home All-MIAC distinction in all four years. Previous four-year All-Conference performers include Laura LeVander `96, Audrey Lenoch `06, Julie Mahre `08, and Rachel Click `09.
Klass, a First-Team All-Region performer this year, tallied career-best numbers in the categories of batting average (.393), slugging percentage (.664), hits (55), doubles (17), and total bases (93). It was during conference play that the senior truly shined. Of the 22 league games the Gusties played, Klass registered a multiple-hit game nine times, finishing with a team-leading batting average of .443 (4th/MIAC). She led the league in doubles (12), ranked second in slugging percentage (.757), second in runs scored (23), and fifth in on-base percentage (.506). Starting in all 22 league contests at second base, Klass notched a fielding percentage of .962 after 51 putouts, 49 assists, and four errors.
Junior Kate Rentschler makes her second-consecutive showing on the All-MIAC Team after another solid season both on the hill and at the plate. As a pitcher, Rentschler finished the conference season with a record of 9-2 and an ERA of 2.15, ranking her fifth in the MIAC. She threw 68.1 innings against league opponents, striking out 43 batters with 23 walks, and holding her opponents to a .240 batting average (3rd/MIAC).
To go along with her prowess on the hill, Rentschler also ripped four home runs (t-3rd/MIAC) against MIAC teams this season. She finished with a .364 batting average and a slugging percentage of .659. Overall this season, Rentschler went 17-4 with an ERA of 1.98, while hitting .329 with a team-high six bombs.
In her first season wearing a Gustavus uniform, Kailey Morgan stepped into a starting role at first base and took advantage of the opportunity. Also shining within conference play, Morgan ranked third on the team in hitting with a .378 batting average. She led the team with 17 RBI (5th/MIAC) and finished second on the team in hits with 28. Overall this year. Morgan hit .292 with 10 doubles, 22 runs, and 25 RBI.
After an outstanding rookie campaign donning the Three Crowns, Sarah Rozell was named the MIAC’s Rookie-of-the-Year after going 11-0 with a 0.80 ERA against league opponents. Rozell and St. Thomas’ Kendra Bowe (12-0) were the only two pitchers in the league to finished undefeated with double-digit victories. Gustavus’ rookie hurler is the first to receive the honor since Lisa Klass was named Rookie-of-the-Year in 2009. Rozell is also the first MIAC pitcher to finish the conference schedule with a sub-one run ERA since St. Thomas’ Marta Radcliffe did so in 2010. Pitching 78.2 innings within league play, Rozell allowed just 10 runs (9 earned runs) in 16 appearances.
Rozell was named to the All-Midwest Region Second Team at the conclusion of the season, going 17-4 overall with an ERA of 1.76. At the plate, Rozell hit .348 against the league and .317 overall.
To go along with Gustavus’ All-Conference performers, sophomore Brittany Brenke and first-year Sarah Rozell also garnered All-MIAC Honorable Mention distinction. Hitting .347 against league foes, the speedy slap hitter Brenke proved to be a tough out following Klass in the Gustie lineup. Brenke recorded 25 hits (2nd/Team) and finished league play with a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000 after 14 putouts. Much like Morgan stepping into a starting role at first, Shelby Nosan proved her worth with a strong arm and a good glove at shortstop. Although she hit just .235 overall this season, Nosan was a dangerous stick at the bottom of the Gustavus order during conference play. The rookie hit .333, scored 13 runs and had seven doubles (2nd/Team) through 20 league match-ups.
As part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC announced the sixth annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for softball. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition. Gustavus’ representative on this season’s All-Sportsmanship Team is senior Dee Dee Arnold (Grand Rapids, Minn.).