A total of five Valparaiso players earned accolades from the Horizon League as the league announced its postseason awards Wednesday. Sadie Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington) and Sara Strickland (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon) both were named First Team All-League, while Sam McGee (Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson) and Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden) each earned Second Team honors. In addition, Jessie Marinec (Alsip, Ill./Marist) was placed on the league’s All-Newcomer squad.
Conner earned First Team All-Horizon League accolades, her first career league postseason honor, after hitting at a .408 clip during league play, good for seventh among league players. The junior also ranked sixth in the league in league-only play in slugging percentage (.662) and tied for ninth in RBIs (19). A .344 hitter overall in 2010, Conner led the league and set a new Valparaiso single-season record with 141 assists from her third base position. She was named the league’s Batter of the Week earlier this year on April 5.
Strickland was named to the league’s First Team for a second straight season after pacing all players during league-only play in both batting average (.446) and on-base percentage (.526). A .404 hitter overall this year, good for second in the league, the sophomore outfielder has already set new Crusader single-season records for hits (65) and total bases (98) out of her leadoff spot. She also has crossed the plate 41 times on the season, third-most in a single year in Crusader history and tied for fourth-most in the league. Strickland earned Batter of the Week honors from the Horizon League this year on May 3.
McGee received Second Team All-League honors, her first postseason league award, after going 6-4 with a 2.06 ERA in league play, which ranked fifth among league pitchers. Overall on the season, the sophomore righty closed the regular season 14-6, her 14 wins third-most in the league and tied for third in a single season in Valpo history. She also ranked third among Horizon League twirlers in all games with a 2.16 ERA during the regular season and allowed opponents to hit just .254 against her.
Rutkowski earned Second Team accolades, the first postseason honor of her career, after driving in 18 runs while posting a .444 on-base percentage during Horizon League play. She ranked among the league’s best during the regular season in a number of categories, finishing third in on-base percentage (.482) and fifth in walks (27) and RBIs (36), while she also is in second place in a single season in Crusader history in the latter two categories. The sophomore utility player received Batter of the Week recognition from the league on March 1 this season.
Marinec received a spot on the All-Newcomer squad after hitting .351 in Horizon League action for the Crusaders as a freshman. The shortstop hit .349 overall during the regular season and posted a .429 on-base percentage, which ranked seventh in the league. Marinec has also scored 36 runs already this season, fourth-most in a single year in the program’s annals.