Mustangs’ Farrington named Outstanding Player in NICL West
It had been six seasons since the last time the Outstanding Player of the Year came from a team that didn’t win the NICL West Division championship.
That’s the kind of season East Marshall senior catcher Madison Farrington is having.
Farrington was selected for the conference’s highest honor in a vote of league coaches Sunday, becoming the first player to win the honor from a team that didn’t finish atop the standings since AGWSR pitcher Ashley Sicard shared it with East Marshall’s Mariah Fritz in 2014.
Farrington is the first Mustang to be named Outstanding Player since Fritz won back-to-back in 2014-2015, and the first catcher to take the top spot since East Marshall’s Katie Roseland in 2013.
Farrington led the NICL West in a number of offensive categories, including doubles (6), home runs (4), RBIs (18), walks (6), on-base percentage (.585), slugging percentage (1.091) and batting average (.545) during conference play.
Defensively, East Marshall’s standout backstop committed just one error in 99 chances and allowed only two stolen bases against her — tied for lowest in the league.
This marks the fourth all-conference laurel for Farrington, who was a second-teamer in 2016 and is now a three-time first-teamer.
Farrington was not one of three unanimous selections to the all-conference squad, however. BCLUW senior pitcher Bailey Ashton and senior outfielders Melinda Puumala of East Marshall and Carrinton Hunt of AGWSR were the only three members of the 12-player first team to gain that distinction.
Ashton pitched the Comets to each of their 12 conference wins, posting a 0.79 earned run average with 86 strikeouts in 71 innings in the circle. BCLUW allowed just 14 runs against them in 12 league games.
Ashton was one of five conference-champion Comets to earn first-team honors, along with NICL West Coach of the Year Megan Yantis. Junior third baseman Kiersten Kruse gained her second-straight first-team selection, senior shortstop Easton Swanson got her promotion to the first team after back-to-back seasons on the second team, while senior first baseman Cate Nason and senior center fielder Olivia Hughes got their first all-conference nod of any kind.
Kruse hit .425 with 11 runs scored, three doubles, a triple and a home run, coming in second with 14 RBIs and first with 13 stolen bases. Swanson batted .541 with 11 runs, three doubles, a triple, a home run and 13 RBIs. Nason hit .417 with 10 RBIs and Hughes batted .378 with 10 RBIs and seven stolen bases.
Farrington and Puumala represented half of East Marshall’s four first-team selections, as junior pitcher Kodie Hoskey and senior second baseman Maria Rasmusson joined them. Puumala hit .500 in conference play with 14 runs scored and 11 stolen bases, earning her third-straight first-team honor. Hoskey posted a 9-1 record in conference games with a 1.62 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings in adding her second-consecutive first-team selection after back-to-back second-team honors. Rasmusson returned to the first team, an award she picked up as a freshman, after batting .472 with a league-high 16 runs scored, four doubles, a home run and 14 RBIs. She was a second-team pick each of the previous two seasons.
West Marshall’s top all-conference honoree was junior first baseman Renae Schaper, who was voted to the second team after batting .308 with seven RBIs.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck had a pair of second-team picks in junior shortstop Reagan Skovgard, who batted .346 with two doubles, two triples and six RBIs in league play, and senior utility Taylor Gienger, who hit .296 with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs.
East Marshall junior third baseman Hannah Birks gained the second team after hitting .382, and BCLUW junior right fielder Kennedy Williams achieved the same after batting .406.
BCLUW senior catcher Lili Wilson, Gladbrook-Reinbeck sophomore third baseman Alyssa Morgan, East Marshall junior shortstop Reagan McIlrath and West Marshall senior catcher Karisa Blocker received honorable mention.
2019 NICL West Division Softball
(* — denotes unanimous selection)
Outstanding Player of the Year — Madison Farrington, sr., East Marshall
Coach of the Year — Megan Yantis, BCLUW
*Bailey Ashton, sr., P, BCLUW
Kodie Hoskey, jr., P, East Marshall
Madison Farrington, sr., C, East Marshall
Cate Nason, sr., 1B, BCLUW
Maria Rasmusson, sr., 2B, East Marshall
Easton Swanson, sr., SS, BCLUW
Kiersten Kruse, jr., 3B, BCLUW
*Melinda Puumala, sr., OF, East Marshall
Carrinton Hunt, sr., OF, AGWSR
Brooke Flater, sr., OF, Grundy Center
Ali Gerbracht, jr., UT, AGWSR
Olivia Hughes, sr., UT, BCLUW
Taryan Barrick, sr., P, AGWSR
Megan Beck, jr., P, Grundy Center
Jenna Bonorden, sr., C, Grundy Center
Renae Schaper, jr., 1B, West Marshall
MaKenna Kuper, so., 2B, AGWSR
Madison McMartin, sr., SS, Grundy Center
Hannah Birks, jr., 3B, East Marshall
Sydney Mathews, sr., OF, Grundy Center
Taylor Gienger, sr., OF, G-R
Kennedy Williams, jr., OF, BCLUW
Reagan Skovgard, jr., UT, G-R
Josie Winterberg, so., UT, AGWSR
Rachel Sicard, jr., AGWSR; Lili Wilson, sr., BCLUW; Reagan McIlrath, jr., East Marshall; Alyssa Morgan, so., Gladbrook-Reinbeck; Emma Beck, fr., Grundy Center; Madison Maifeld, so., South Hardin; Karisa Blocker, sr., West Marshall.