Valparaiso was well represented Tuesday afternoon as the Horizon League announced its postseason softball All-League squads, as juniors Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden) and Sara Strickland (Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon) both earned First Team honors to lead seven Crusaders overall who were honored on Tuesday.
Seniors KC Boldt (Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing) and Sadie Conner (Washington, Ill./Washington) were joined by junior Alex Lagesse (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) on the All-League Second Team. Meanwhile, the Crusaders’ freshmen keystone combo of Angie Doerffler (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) and Amanda Wisniewski (Lake in the Hills, Ill./Huntley) both earned spots on the league’s All-Newcomer Team.
Rutkowski, a Second Team All-League honoree as a sophomore, earns First Team honors this year after already setting new Valpo single-season records for home runs (10) and RBIs (42), while also breaking the Crusader career RBI record along the way. The junior catcher leads the league overall in RBIs and is tied at the top in runs scored (38), while she ranks second in on base percentage (.434), home runs and total bases (89). Rutkowski hit at a .394 clip in league-only play, good for fourth in the league, while she also ranks among the league’s top-five in league-only action in on base percentage, runs, stolen bases, RBIs and slugging percentage.
Strickland receives First Team accolades for the third time in as many seasons as a Crusader after breaking Valpo career records in hits, runs, total bases and doubles despite being just a junior. Strickland leads the league by far with 16 doubles on the year, second-most in a single year in Crusader history, and is hitting at a team-high .365 clip for the season, good for fourth in the league. The junior also ranks among the Horizon League’s best in hits (61, 2nd), total bases (89, t-2nd), on base percentage (.434, 3rd), stolen bases (14, t-4th) and runs scored (35, 5th).
Boldt earned a nod on the Second Team, her first career All-League honor, after becoming an integral part of the Crusader offense as a senior. The right fielder, who hit cleanup for Valpo most of the season, is tied with Rutkowski atop Valpo’s single-season home run chart with 10 round-trippers this year. Boldt saved her best efforts for Horizon League play, pacing the circuit in league-only games in runs scored (17), home runs (7) and RBIs (25) while slugging at a .686 clip. Overall, the senior is tied for second among HL players in both home runs and RBIs (40) and also ranks among the top-five in slugging percentage (.604, 3rd), runs scored (36, 4th) and total bases (87, t-5th).
Conner was named to the Second Team this year, her second career All-League accolade, after a senior season in which she moved into a tie atop Valpo’s all-time charts for career home runs. Conner cemented herself as one of the Horizon League’s top sluggers in league play, closing the regular season atop the league-only charts in home runs (7), third in slugging percentage (.692) and tied for third in runs scored (16). Overall this season, the senior has tallied nine home runs and 34 RBIs, both tied for fifth-most among league athletes.
Lagesse earns a spot on the Second Team for the first time in her career after excelling both in the circle and at the plate. The junior posted 12 wins overall this year with 100 strikeouts and a 2.71 ERA in 29 appearances at pitcher, picking up seven of those victories and 67 of those strikeouts against Horizon League foes, whom she held to a .240 batting average against on the year. Lagesse also saw some action at the plate in league play, going 11-for-27 (.407) at the dish in ten games against HL opposition, including three doubles and her first career home run.
Doerffler received a spot on the All-Newcomer Team after starting every game of the regular season at shortstop as a freshman for the Crusaders. Doerffler has crossed the plate 38 times this season, already tied for fourth-most in a single season in Valpo history and tied atop the Horizon League charts. 17 of those runs have come in HL play, also tied atop the league leaders as well. Defensively, the freshman has tallied 124 assists this season, leading the league and third-most in a single year all-time at Valpo.
Wisniewski earns her selection to the All-Newcomer Team as well after a freshman year in which she has started most of the season for Valpo at second base. Wisniewski is hitting .286 on the season with 20 RBIs and 20 runs scored. The freshman has also picked up 16 walks en route to a .377 on base percentage, fourth-best among Crusader regulars, and is slugging at a .464 clip on the year, thanks in large part to five home runs.