ICCAC Announces Division II Softball All-Region
After the 2019 Region XI season, the top two teams continued their dominance with DMACC winning Region XI-A and Kirkwood taking Region XI-B. Each of their tournament championships was their third straight, respectively.
On Wednesday, the two teams highlighted the special awards on the 2019 Region XI All-Region teams that were announced.
For the second straight season, Kirkwood's Rachel Stewart took home Defensive Player of the Year honors. In 2019, the sophomore shortstop completed 186 of her 194 chances only committing eight errors; a fielding percentage of .959. In the middle of the infield, she turned a league-best 11 double plays.
The Pitcher of the Year award was taken home by Josie Swafford of DMACC. The freshman filled big shoes in 2019 after the departure of ace Molly Jacobsen, but Swafford didn't miss a beat. She finished the Region XI Tournament fourth in the country in strikeouts (215), fourth in wins (24) and second in shutouts with 11. She tossed one no-hitter against Southwestern March and then threw a perfect game in the regional tournament against Northeast on May 10.
Eight times she finished a game with double-digit strikeouts, including a 13-K performance versus Marshalltown.
Rounding out the special awards was DMACC's second baseman, Mia Ruther. The 2019 Offensive Player of the Year has an astounding average of .600 overall, including .618 in conference games (28) only. Her average and .633 on-base percentage are both second-best in the country. She leads the nation in hits (99) and runs (78).
The Coach of the Year award went to Bob Ligouri. Ligouri and the Bears won their third straight Region XI regular season title and will head to another National Tournament after winning the Region XI-A Championship. DMACC is currently 46-6 heading into the District G Tournament versus Southeast (Neb.). During the 2019 campaign, Ligouri picked up his 1000th career win as a softball coach, spanning over high school and junior college levels.
Joining the two Bears on First Team All-Region are infielder Avery Guy, outfielders Morgan Lewis and Kaisha Wells and Ally Pickering as the designated player.
For Kirkwood, Stewart is joined by pitcher Erin Hocker and outfielder Shelby Hulsebus. Hocker is second in the country in strikeouts (234) while Hulsebus leads all of Division II in stolen bases with 52. London Jackson was an at-large selection for the first team.
NIACC had a breakout season in 2019 winning 30 games, their most since 2010 when they won 31 games. The Trojans, who finished in third place during the regular season and Region XI-A runners-up, notched three First Team selections.
Alyssa Laxson and Kaci Sherwood represented the infield while Hannah Faktor was recognized at the catcher position. Sherwood tied the NIACC career record for RBIs with 97 and broke the school record for home runs in 2019, finishing her career with 24.
Iowa Central tabbed three selections in Sophia Cave, Cheyanne Andersen, and Bre Tjebben, while Iowa Lakes Taylor Allen and Yasmine Nix placed two Lakers on the First Team.
Southwestern's Kaitlyn Schad rounded out 2019 honorees.
First Team All-Region
|Fr.||16||Iowa Central||Sophia Cave||INF|
|So.||18||Iowa Central||Cheyenne Andersen||OF|
|So.||7||Iowa Lakes||Taylor Allen||OF|
|Fr.||23||Iowa Central||Bre Tjebben||UTL|
|So.||21||Iowa Lakes||Yasmine Nix||UTL|
Second Team All-Region
|So.||3||Iowa Central||Payton Adwell||C|
|Fr.||8||Iowa Central||Parker Matthews||INF|
|Fr.||19||Iowa Central||Gabi Bingham||OF|
Honorable Mention All-Region
|So.||10||Iowa Lakes||Laurie Custard||C|
|Fr.||34||Iowa Central||Bre Small||P|
|So.||14||Iowa Lakes||Gabby Heckard||OF|
|Fr.||5||Iowa Lakes||Madisyn Arechedrra||OF|
|Fr.||1||Iowa Lakes||Lexus Gorospe||OF|
Defensive Player of the Year: Rachel Stewart, Kirkwood
Offensive Player of the Year: Mia Ruther, DMACC
Pitcher of the Year: Josie Swafford, DMACC
Coach of the Year: Bob Ligouri, DMACC