Valparaiso sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Ranieri (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) was named the Horizon League co-Player of the Year and earned a First Team All-League spot as the league announced its postseason honors Wednesday morning prior to the tournament. In addition, freshman Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) was tabbed a Second Team All-League honoree and was joined on the All-Freshman Team by fellow rookie Jorgi Calombaris (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East).
Ranieri, a Second Team All-League recipient last season, simply dominated within Horizon League play this year in becoming the first Crusader in program history to earn league Player of the Year accolades. The sophomore led all players within league play, hitting at a .532 clip, over 100 points better than second place in the category. She also led all league players within league play in on-base percentage (.597), slugging percentage (.887), hits (33) and total bases (55), and posted 15 runs scored, 21 RBIs, five doubles and five homers in 19 league games. Overall, Ranieri hit at a .371 clip for the season with 35 runs scored and 32 RBIs, while leading the league overall in walks (24) and on-base percentage (.459).
Lawson stood out as a rookie, turning the lineup over in the nine-hole to Ranieri at the top of the order. The lefty slapper hit .261 overall with 29 runs scored, and stepped up her game within Horizon League play. Within league-only play, she ranked just outside the top-10 in batting average, hitting .364 in 19 league games, and crossed the plate 16 times, tied for second-most in the league.
Calombaris joined Lawson on the All-Freshman Team after also taking her game to another level within Horizon League play. The Crusaders’ regular starter at third base, Calombaris hit .302 within league-only play out of the second spot in the order, scoring seven runs and driving in six while also picking up four stolen bases. Overall for the season, Calombaris scored 20 runs and tallied 14 RBIs for Valpo.