Malloy, Ubben share NICL West’s top honor
As a new crop starts its rise toward the top of the NICL West Division, a group of senior softball players returned to the forefront with selection to the all-conference first team.
Pitchers Samantha Ubben of BCLUW and Kallie Malloy of West Marshall shared the league’s Most Valuable Player honor, while three additional seniors earned repeat selection on the all-conference first team as voted by the league’s coaches.
Ubben posted a 0.64 earned run average from the circle for the Comets, who won the NICL West title for the second year in a row. She was 9-1 in league play, striking out 92 batters in 66 innings, and finished ninth in the conference with a .375 batting average. Ubben’s 11 RBIs tied for seventh. This marked the third-straight all-NICL West honor for Ubben, who was a second-team selection as a sophomore and a first-teamer last summer.
Malloy, a second-team pick last year, earned her promotion by going 8-1 in the circle for West Marshall, which was one game shy of its first conference crown since 2011. Malloy posted a 1.19 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 53 innings, walking only six and hitting three opposing batters.
There were two other seniors like Ubben to return to the all-conference first team. BCLUW first baseman Jordyn Beeghly and West Marshall catcher Georgia Porter were voted to the top team for the second year in a row, while AGWSR sophomore pitcher Taryan Barrick was a unanimous first-team honoree.
Beeghly hit .297 in conference play with four doubles, a triple and a league-leading 15 RBIs, while Porter finished fourth with a .429 batting average to go with eight RBIs and a league-leading 12 walks. Barrick started 11 of 12 conference games for AGWSR, going 7-4 with a 1.03 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings.
The first-team selection was the fourth all-conference accolade for Porter, a five-year starter for West Marshall. She was an honorable mention selection as an eighth-grader and a second-team pick as a freshman.
Of the 13 first-team players, nine of them were first-time honorees. West Marshall junior third baseman Brooke Snider and East Marshall sophomore catcher Madison Farrington moved up from second-team laurels a year ago, while seven others had not received all-conference accolades prior to this summer: West Marshall sophomores Karisa Blocker and Kayla Cripps, East Marshall sophomores Madison Duncan and Melinda Puumala, and AGWSR eighth-grader Makenna Kuper.
Farrington led the conference with a .500 batting average, while Puumala was second in batting (.486) and first in stolen bases (12). Duncan batted .382 with 10 RBIs.
Snider connected for two doubles and two home runs during NICL West action, Blocker batted .410 and shared league-high honors with 15 RBIs, and Cripps hit .423 with six stolen bases.
Kuper, in her varsity debut, led AGWSR with a .457 batting average, four doubles, two triples and was second with 13 RBIs.
BCLUW’s David Lee and West Marshall’s Todd Verwers shared the conference’s Coach of the Year distinction after their teams were tied for the league lead going into their head-to-head showdown to determine the NICL West championship.