The Valparaiso University softball team closed out the 2008 season as the nation’s most prolific team on the basepaths, leading all Division I softball squads with 2.57 stolen bases/game as the NCAA released its final official statistics update Tuesday. The Crusaders outpaced Women’s College World Series participant Alabama, which closed the year with 2.47 steals/game, for the top spot in the rankings.
Valpo stole 126 bases on the year, far and away a school record for steals in a single season. The previous school record of 77 steals, set by the 2007 team, was broken just 30 games into this season. The Crusaders were also quite efficient with their opportunities on the basepaths, registering an 82.4% (126-of-153) success rate on their stolen base attempts, including 10 separate streaks of at least seven straight steals without getting caught.
Individually, junior outfielder Karen Korb (Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran North) paced Valpo in the category, swiping 29 bases on just 31 attempts. The 29 steals led the Horizon League and set a new Crusader single-season record. Korb, who finished 15th in the nation with 0.62 steals/game, also broke Valpo’s career stolen bases mark early on in the season and has now stolen 65 bases in her first three years.
Three other Crusaders also finished among the top-ten in the Horizon League in steals. Freshman outfielder Jamie Weinburger (Eagle River, Alaska/Eagle River) stole 17 bases, good for fourth in the league and tied for fifth-most in a single year in Valpo history. Freshman infielder Aubrey Sundling (Huntington, Ind./Huntington North) tied for fifth in the league with 16 steals, while junior outfielder Ashley Wolter (Denver, Iowa/Denver) swiped 13 bags, tied for seventh-most in the league.
Catcher Shannon Robinson (Toronto, Ontario/John Redmond) finished her senior campaign with 12 steals and ended her four-year career with 29 steals, fourth-most in a career all-time at Valpo, while senior outfielder Tracy Korth (Elgin, Ill./Larkin [Elgin C.C.]) rounded out six Crusaders with double-figure steals with 10 thefts on the year. The team record mark for stolen bases was a total team effort, as 16 of Valpo’s 17 position players stole at least one base during the 2008 season.