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    Softball Trio Earn Postseason Honors Prior To Facing Cleveland State In Horizon League Tournament
     

     
    Freshman shortstop Natalie Hernandez was named to both the All-League second team as well as the All-Newcomer team this afternoon.
     
    Freshman shortstop Natalie Hernandez was named to both the All-League second team as well as the All-Newcomer team this afternoon.
     
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    May 10, 2011

    CHICAGO - Prior to the start of tomorrow's Horizon League Tournament, three members of the UIC softball were bestowed with post season honors, the league office announced this afternoon.

    Sophomore first baseman Coryn Schmit and senior outfielder Carly DeMarco were named All-League First Team selections, while freshman shortstop Natalie Hernandez was selected as both a member of the All-League Second Team and the All-Newcomer teams.

    Slugging at a league-best .800, Schmit led the Flames with six home runs and 16 RBI in 20 Horizon League contests. Slapper DeMarco and Schmit ended the regular season with identical .364 averages, with DeMarco contributing eight RBI, a double and a .905 fielding percentage from her spot in center field.

    Newcomer Hernandez tallied the third-highest average for the Flames at .349, committing a mere four errors from her infield post at short. The freshman tallied nine RBI with three doubles, a pair of homers and a triple in her first season donning a UIC uniform.

    The Flames closed out the regular season this past Sunday, falling to Wright State twice in a three game series, concluding league play with an 11-9 record. The regular season champion came down to the final day of the year as Loyola defeated Detroit while Valparaiso bested Cleveland twice to give the Ramblers the top seed and hosting duties for this week's championships.

    The fourth-place Vikings enter this weekend on the heels of an abbreviated series at Valparaiso. A late season surge pushed CSU to the top of the league standings prior to the series at Valpo, but rain cut short their chance to repeat as regular season champions after Saturday's contest was suspended due to rain and due to league rules, were only allowed to play a pair of contests on Sunday. CSU fell 4-2 in the resumed contest and closed out the day with a 3-0 loss.

     

     

    Two-time Player of the Year Tess Sito was again one of the top players in the league at the plate, pacing the Vikings with a .427 average, seven doubles and eight RBI. In the circle, the sophomore threw all but one league contest for CSU, compiling a 12-8 record with 147 strikeouts in 144.2 innings of work.

    The Flames fifth-place regular season finish is the lowest the squad has finished in head coach Michelle Venturella's tenure after claiming the regular season crown her first year in 2009 and third last season. Since 1990, UIC has only finished lower than fourth entering the league championships a scant six times.

    Sito earned her second straight Player of the Year honor, while Loyola's freshman hurler Brittany Gardner was named Newcomer of the Year. Butler's Jenny Esparza earned Pitcher of the Year accolades, while first year head coach Missy Beseres was awarded with the Coach of the Year title, as voted on by her peers.

    The Flames and Vikings take the field in the first game of the tournament at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Loyola Softball Park.

    2011 Horizon League Softball Awards

    Player of the Year
    Tess Sito, Cleveland State

    Newcomer of the Year
    Brittany Gardner, Loyola

    Pitcher of the Year
    Jenny Esparza, Butler

    Coach of the Year
    Missy Beseres, Loyola

    All-League First Team
    Tess Sito, Cleveland State
    Erin Falkenberry, Butler
    Coryn Schmit, UIC
    Jordan Rutkowski, Valparaiso
    Lauren Arceneaux, Loyola
    Sara Strickland, Valparaiso
    Louie Haney, Wright State
    Jordan Ingalls, Youngstown State
    Lauren McNulty, Butler
    Brooke Andersen, Loyola
    Carly DeMarco, UIC
    Alli Rivera, Green Bay (Designated Player)
    Jenny Esparza, Butler (Pitcher)
    Brittany Gardner, Loyola (Pitcher)

    Second Team
    Mollie Berry, Wright State
    Dara Toman, Cleveland State
    Olivia Bell, Loyola
    China Frost, Wright State
    Sadie Conner, Valparaiso
    Natalie Hernandez, UIC
    Justine Shilt, Wright State
    Erin Jackson, Butler
    KC Boldt, Valparaiso
    Chelsea Archer, Wright State
    Kim Klonowski, Youngstown State (Designated Player)
    Alex Lagesse, Valparaiso (Pitcher)
    Keali Engelkens, Loyola (Pitcher)

    All-Newcomer Team
    Olivia Bell, Loyola
    Brittany Gardner, Loyola
    Shannon Butts, Green Bay
    Natalie Hernandez, UIC
    Amanda Wisniewski, Valparaiso
    Chelsea Archer, Wright State
    Sara Cupp, Detroit
    Keali Engelkens, Loyola
    Angie Doerffler, Valparaiso
    Kacie Rapshus, Wright State