Release  Alex Kelly ·

INDIANAPOLIS – The Horizon League Softball All-League awards have been announced and Valparaiso’s Sam Stewart was tabbed Player of the Year while UIC’s Elaine Heflin was named Pitcher of the Year for the third year in a row. Co-Freshman of the Year was awarded to Oakland’s Jamie Squires and Youngstown State’s Maddi Lusk. Lynn Curylo guided UIC to a 20-4 league record in her first season as the Flames' coach to earn Coach of the Year.

Sam Stewart has been a force in the lineup all year for Valparaiso and leads the Horizon League in many statistical categories including batting average (.395), on-base percentage (.562), runs (42), runs batted in (46) and home runs (15). The senior broke Valparaiso’s single season record for home runs and walks, taking base on balls 13 more times than the next closest player in the category. The catcher’s play behind the plate has also been important for the Crusaders in picking up the third seed in the championship.

Elaine Heflin led a UIC pitching rotation that was dominant throughout the season, especially during league play. The Flames had an earned run average (ERA) of 1.16 in league play which was tops in the league with second best ERA being Youngstown State's 2.78. Heflin struck out 70 batters during Horizon League action including single game totals of 18 and 19 strikeouts. The senior’s earned run average of 1.50 during conference play was third best in the league. Heflin is the third player in the history of the conference to win Pitcher of the Year three times in a career joining Cleveland State’s Amanda Macenko (2009-11) and UIC’s Samantha Luli (1998-00) as the only other players earn the achievement.

This marks the first time in Horizon League history that there is Co-Freshman of the Year awarded in softball. Maddi Lusk was a two-way player for Youngstown State pitching a league-high 185.1 innings while taking 134 at-bats for the Penguins. Lusk batted .284 on the season with 12 extra base hits. Oakland’s Jamie Squires led the Golden Grizzlies with a .347 batting average, 27 runs batted in, six home runs and 18 walks. Squires’ play bolstered the middle of the lineup for an Oakland team that was second in the league in batting average during conference play.

All nine schools had at least one player receiving All-League honors with UIC recording the most of any school with seven players earning recognition across the three All-League teams. Youngstown State and Oakland each had four different players receiving postseason accolades.

First Team All-League
Sam Stewart, Valparaiso, C
Honnah Susor, Wright State, RF
Lexi Watts, UIC, OF
Courtney Gilbert, Detroit Mercy, SS
Jamie Squires, Oakland, SS
Macy Cook, Wright State, C/DP
Hannah Lucas, Youngstown State, OF
Dani Devlin, Northern Kentucky, C
Jorgi Calombaris, Valparaiso, 3B
Lyndsay Hill, Oakland, 2B
Elaine Heflin, UIC, P
Karissa Frazier, UIC, P

Second Team All-League
Carly Trepanier, Valparaiso, 2B
Jennah Speth, UIC, OF/UTL
Cali Mikovich, Youngstown State, OF
Abby Brinkmeier, Green Bay, OF
Kayla Wedl, UIC, SS
Allie Taylor, Green Bay, 1B
Brittney Moffatt, Youngstown State, INF
Taylor Cairns, UIC, 2B
Jordan Manno, Detroit Mercy, 2B/C
Mikayela Marciniak, Oakland, 1B
Erin Kownacki, Oakland, P
Maddi Lusk, Youngstown State P/DP

All-Freshman Team
Allie Trudeau, UIC, P
Jamie Squires, Oakland, SS
Kayla Wedl, UIC, SS
Jennah Speth, UIC, OF/UTL
Maddi Lusk, Youngstown State, P/DP
Liz Murphy, Detroit Mercy, P
Elizabeth Yager, Detroit Mercy, OF
Melissa Jacobsen, Cleveland State, OF
Kailey Rossiter, Northern Kentucky, OF

Player of the Year
Sam Stewart, Valparaiso

Pitcher of the Year
Elaine Heflin, UIC

Co-Freshman of the Year
Maddi Lusk, Youngstown State
Jamie Squires, Oakland

Coach of the Year
Lynn Curylo, UIC

Tags: Cleveland State - Softball · Detroit Mercy - Softball · Green Bay - Softball · Horizon League - Softball · Northern Kentucky - Softball · Oakland - Softball · UIC - Softball · Valparaiso - Softball · Wright State - Softball · Youngstown State - Softball
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