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May 29, 2008

2009 Season - 2008 SOFTBALL REVIEW

Augustana falls just short of its fourth CCIW tournament championship in five years; finish the season 26-18; Karlee Quaritsch breaks the school record for home runs in a season

 

Coach Kris Kistler's young 2008 Augustana softball team endured a roller coaster-like season and came up just shy of its fourth CCIW tournament championship in five years and a trip to the NCAA tournament. They finished the season 26-18 overall and 8-6 in the CCIW, good for fourth place. Along the way, the team got some outstanding performances, including a new single season home run record by sophomore Karlee Quaritsch (Palatine HS, Palatine, Ill.), who hit 11, surpassing the previous record of nine.

 

The Vikings opened the season at the Rebel Spring games in Florida. Needing to replace three first team All-CCIW position players, including 2007 Hitter of the Year Lorena Cernetisch, the offense struggled out of the gate with a 4-0 loss to Aurora on opening day. However, they bounced back with a 7-2 win over Muhlenberg later the same day and went on to finish the trip 5-3.

 

After splitting two games each with Dubuque and Luther in St. Louis, the Vikings headed into the meat of their schedule with a 7-5 record and looking for some consistency. They found it, and then some, rattling off 13 wins in their next 16 games. That streak started with an 8-1 win over local rival St. Ambrose and also included a pair of wins over NCAA tournament participant Ripon and a 9-8 road win over Division I Western Illinois.

 

It looked as though the team was really peaking when it scored a season-high 13 runs in the second game of a doubleheader sweep of Wheaton to move to 20-8 overall and 5-1 in the CCIW. However, the offense suddenly fell into a slump, scoring just seven runs in the next five games, all of them losses. At 5-5 in conference play and in danger of not making the CCIW tournament, the team was able to rebound and win three of its last four league contests to finish 8-6 and go in as the number four seed.

 

The Vikings opened the tournament with league champ Illinois Wesleyan and CCIW Pitcher of the Year Christy Engel. Augustana pitchers Jenna Szybowicz (Glenbard North HS, Carol Stream, Ill.) and Jordan Huff (Onalaska HS, Onalaska, Wis.) did a great job of keeping the Vikings close until Quaritsch's potent bat could produce a game-tying two-run homer in the fifth. Sara Brokaw (Orion HS, Lynn Enter, Ill.), the team's 2008 MVP, then came up with a two-out, two-run single in the seventh to give Augustana the 4-2 win.

 

The Vikings faced North Central in the winners' bracket. In a see-saw game that had three ties and three lead changes, the Cardinals pushed across two runs in the eight to remain unbeaten in the tournament with a 9-8 win. Augustana bounced back to eliminate the Carthage Lady Reds on Saturday. With Kistler low on pitching, Jackie Gill (Heyworth HS, Heyworth, Ill.) came up huge, pitching a complete game in just her second start of the season as the Vikings came away 5-3 winners.

 

North Central was waiting in the championship round and the two teams locked up in a game even more amazing than the one they had played the day before. The Cardinals jumped out to an 8-1 lead after two innings and looked ready to coast to the championship and an NCAA tournament berth. However, the Vikings began to whittle away with three runs in the third to cut the lead in half and when they added four in the fourth, they had come all the way back to tie it. Huff had come on in relief in the second and shut the Cardinals out through the seventh, sending the contest to extra innings tied 8-8.

 

Augustana took its first lead of the game, 10-8 in the top of the eighth, on Quaritsch's 11th home run of the season but the miracle comeback wasn't meant to be, as North Central scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the inning to end the Vikings' season with a 11-10 setback--their second heart-breaking extra inning loss in as many days.

 

Brokaw and Quaritsch were the leaders of the Viking offense all year, ranking first and second on the team in nearly every offensive category. Both were first team All-CCIW and third team all-region selections and Brokaw garnered second team academic all-district honors from ESPN the Magazine as well.

 

Brokaw led the team with a .397 batting average. Her 56 hits and 141 at-bats also led the team and rank fourth and fifth, respectively, on the Vikings single season top ten lists. She also led the team in RBI with 34, tied for the third highest single season total in school history. Her seven home runs were the fifth best total in school history and second on the team behind Quaritsch. Despite playing just two seasons, Brokaw ranks in a tie for third on Augustana’s career homer list with 13. She was also second this year in doubles (tied with 10), total bases (89), and slugging (.631). Her .434 on base percentage led the team as well.

 

In addition to her single season home run record, Quaritsch also led the team in runs with 38, total bases with 91, slugging at .705 and surprisingly, sacrifices with 13. She was second in batting average (.364), hits (47), RBI (31), walks (13), on-base percentage (.431) and steals (tied with nine).

 

Sophomore catcher Brittany Snoreck (Carl Sandburg HS, Orland Park, Ill.) joined Brokaw and Quaritsch as a first team All-CCIW selection. She hit .333 with three home runs and 21 RBI on the year. Freshman outfielder Melissa Nelson (West Aurora HS, Aurora, Ill.) led the team with 11 doubles and hit .286 with two homers and 19 RBI to earn second team All-CCIW honors.

 

Sophomore shortstop Chrissy Rosin (Niles West HS, Morton Grove, Ill.) also had a fine year. She was third on the team with a .341 batting average and four home runs. She shared Augustana's Best Defensive Player award with Brokaw after committing just five errors all year, including just one in league play.

 

Huff went 7-7 with a 3.01 ERA to lead the Viking pitching staff. In a statistical oddity, she led the team in both complete games and saves with four each. She also led in appearances (26), innings (100) and strikeouts (62). Szybowicz was also 7-7 with a 3.57 ERA. She led the team with 19 starts and was second with 78 1/3 innings and 60 strikeouts.

 

Kelli Humbert (Dwight HS, Dwight, Ill.) and Kellie Kinsella (University HS, Cooksville, Ill.) were an effective combination out of the bullpen. Humbert went 3-1 with a 2.04 ERA and Kinsella was 3-0 with three saves and a 2.79 ERA. Kinsella allowed just 23 hits while fanning 34 in 32 2/3 innings. Brokaw went 4-2 with a 3.50 ERA, pitching mostly in a starting role.

 

2008 CCIW SOFTBALL STANDINGS

TEAM

CCIW-W

CCIW-L

CCIW PCT

Overall W

Overall L

Overall PCT

Illinois Wesleyan

12

2

.857

30

11

.732

North Central

9

5

.643

29

12

.707

Carthage

9

5

.643

19

11

.633

AUGUSTANA

8

6

.571

26

18

.591

Wheaton

7

7

.500

21

19

.525

North Park

4

10

.286

13

17

.433

Elmhurst

4

10

.286

12

25

.324

Millikin

3

11

.214

14

24

.368

 

CCIW TOURNAMENT

Friday May 2, 2008
North Central 2, Carthage 1
Augustana 4, Illinois Wesleyan 2
Carthage 5, Illinois Wesleyan 0
North Central 9, Augustana 8

 

Saturday May 3, 2008
Augustana 5, Carthage 3
North Central 11, Augustana 10

 

2008 AUGUSTANA SUPERLATIVES

ESPN THE MAGAZINE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT: Sara Brokaw, 2nd Team

NFCA ALL-GREAT LAKES REGION: Sara Brokaw, 3rd Team…Karlee Quaritsch, 3rd Team

CCIW ALL-CONFERENCE: 1st Team -- Sara Brokaw, At-large…Karlee Quaritsch, 3B…Brittany Snoreck, DP…2nd Team -- Melissa Nelson, OF

CCIW TEAM STATISTICAL LEADERS: Home Runs, 10 (tied)…Sacrifice Bunts, 25…Fewest Triples Allowed, 0.

CCIW INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL LEADERS: Runs Scored - Karlee Quaritsch, 13 (tied)…Sacrifice Bunts - Chrissy Rosin, 5…Saves - Kellie Kinsella, 2 (tied)…Games Finished - Kellie Kinsella, 5 (tied)…Relief Appearances - Kellie Kinsella, Jordan Huff, 5 (tied)

 

AUGUSTANA TEAM AWARDS

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Sara Brokaw

BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYER: Karlee Quaritsch

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Chrissy Rosin & Sara Brokaw

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: Jackie Gill & Kelli Humbert

VIKING AWARD: Tracy Dianis & Michelle Palmer

SCHOOL RECORD: Individual Single Season Home Runs - 11, Karlee Quaritsch; breaks old mark of 9 by Kim Rymer in 2006 and Lorena Cernetisch in 2007.

SCHOOL RECORD: Team Single Season Doubles - 75; breaks old mark of 71 in 2006