With the dawn of the 2015 softball campaign right around the corner, four Valparaiso softball players picked up preseason All-Horizon League accolades from College Sports Madness on Tuesday, highlighted by the selection of junior Kaitlyn Ranieri (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) as the site’s preseason Field Player of the Year.
Ranieri earned the preseason Player of the Year accolade coming off a sophomore campaign where she was named co-Player of the Year by the Horizon League head coaches, the first league Player of the Year in Crusader softball history. The junior was a Second Team All-Region honoree, finishing her 2014 season hitting .370 with 38 runs scored and 33 RBIs, while leading the league in on-base percentage (.460) and walks (27). Ranieri stood out within Horizon League play, dominating league foes to the tune of a .532 batting average, an .887 slugging percentage and 21 RBIs.
Senior Tarah McShane (Streamwood, Ill./St. Edward Central Catholic) joined Ranieri as a preseason First Team All-League selection by College Sports Madness. McShane enters her final season coming off a junior campaign in which she drove in 36 runs, good for third in the league and just shy of the Crusaders’ single-season top-10 chart. A member of the Horizon League All-Tournament Team last season, the senior got on base at a .346 clip in 2014 and slugged .418, and also owns 24 career doubles.
Two Crusaders picked up Second Team All-League preseason honors as well from College Sports Madness. Sophomore Taylor Lawson (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro) earned Second Team All-League honors last season as a freshman, as well as a spot on the league’s All-Freshman Team. The slapper hit .263 overall with 30 runs scored, ranking second among Valpo players and tied for fifth in the league in runs scored. In league-only play, Lawson stood out, hitting .364 with 16 runs scored against league foes, tying for second in league-only contests in runs scored.
Junior Taylor Weissenhofer (Orland Park, Ill./Lockport Township) was a Second Team selection as well. The junior already ranks third in program history in saves (7), fourth in strikeouts (354, just 93 shy of the record), and tie for fourth in victories (37, 18 shy of the record). Last season, Weissenhofer – a Second Team All-League honoree as a freshman – earned 16 victories and struck out 120 batters in 134.2 innings of work, finishing second in the league in wins and third in strikeouts. In league-only play, the junior picked up seven wins – ranking second in the league – and posted a 2.46 ERA.