Valparaiso placed a program-record three players on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Midwest Region teams, as announced on Wednesday morning. Redshirt sophomore Jessie Marinec (Alsip, Ill./Marist) earned First Team honors, while senior Jordan Rutkowski (Alden, N.Y./Alden) and freshman Brittany Duncan (Fairborn, Ohio/Fairborn) both were named to the Second Team. For all three, it is their first career All-Region honor.
Marinec receives the First Team nod at second base after hitting .331 with 44 runs scored and 23 RBIs in 2012. The redshirt sophomore is tied for third in a single season in program history with her 44 runs, also ranks among Valpo’s single-season top-10 in hits (58, t-5th) and total bases (90, 9th) and has tallied 16 extra-base hits, including seven home runs. Marinec also has been solid in the field for the Crusaders, committing just seven errors on the season while registering 100 assists, tied for fifth in the Horizon League.
Rutkowski earns the Second Team accolade at catcher after setting numerous Valpo single-season records in 2012. The senior is hitting .428 with 44 runs scored, 14 home runs and 60 RBIs this year, the latter two marks easily new Crusader records. The First Team All-Horizon League honoree also has set new single-season records in hits, total bases and doubles while also breaking Valpo career records in on-base percentage, total bases, home runs and RBIs.
Duncan earns the Second Team honor at designated player after enjoying a tremendous freshman campaign. The rookie was tabbed the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year and has hit .388 with nine home runs, 51 RBIs and 26 runs scored in 2012. Her 51 RBIs rank second in the league, as well as in a single season in Crusader history, while she also ranks third in the league in home runs and walks.
By virtue of their All-Region honors, all three Crusaders are now eligible for All-American consideration.