Statesmen Sweep Yearly Honors
Oskaloosa–Jennifer Whitehead (Sr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Biology) is winding up a ridiculous career and got recognized one more time by the league as the all-Midwest Collegiate Conference softball teams were announced.
Whitehead was picked as the league’s Pitcher of the Year, while utility player Brittanee Grove (Jr., Runnells, Iowa, Elementary Education) was named MCC Player of the Year and Mike Christner was tabbed as MCC Coach of the Year.
The yearly honor is Whitehead’s fourth, Christner’s sixth, and Grove’s first. It is the seventh time WPU has claimed the Pitcher award and the fifth time it has been honored with the Player accolade.
Left fielder Sydney Edwards (Jr., Galesburg, Ill., Psychology & Biology), third baseman Malloree Grove (Sr., Runnells, Iowa, Physical Education), second baseman Jorden Steele (Jr., Tacoma, Wash., Physical Education), and catcher Bri Zerley (Jr., Monroe, Iowa, Biology) joined Brittanee Grove and Whitehead on the first team.
Jessica Christensen (So., Marysville, Wash., Sociology) was chosen for the honorable-mention squad. The team’s six first-team picks ties the most in program history. The awards are the second for Christensen and Zerley, while Edwards, Malloree Grove, Brittanee Grove, and Steele are all first-time winners.
A total of 18 players were named to the MCC’s first team, while an additional 14 collected honorable mentions.
The fantastic seven individuals have led the Statesmen (36-18, 19-4 MCC) to MCC regular season and tournament titles and a trip to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round.
The staff ace, Whitehead is currently 26-8 with a 2.04 Earned Run Average in 213 innings of work. She has appeared in 37 games (31 starts) and recorded 28 complete games (nine shutouts). Whitehead has struck out 180 batters against 67 walks, while opponents are hitting just .199 against her.
She is atop the league in wins, ERA, innings pitched, complete games, shutouts, and opponent batting average. She has been named MCC Pitcher of the Week three times.
Brittanee Grove, a two-time MCC Player of the Week, leads WPU and the MCC in several categories. The senior is hitting .454 (74-for-163) with 16 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs, 61 RBIs, and 56 runs scored. She is posting an .871 slugging percentage and a .531 on-base clip (27 BB, 3 HBP). Grove had an 11-game hitting streak earlier in the year.
Edwards came on with surprising power this year. After not having any home runs in 2013, the junior is hitting .347 (58-for-167) with seven roundtrippers. She also has 12 doubles and three triples with 47 runs scored and 42 RBIs. Edwards has also posted a .581 slugging mark and a .394 on-base percentage (10 BB, 3 HBP). She managed an eight-game hitting streak this season.
A two-time first-teamer, Zerley has only gotten stronger as the year has grown on, hitting .395 (68-for-172) with 19 doubles, nine home runs, 42 RBIs, and 42 runs scored. She has a slugging percentage of .663 and an on-base clip of .456 (11 BB, 9 HBP). A one-time MCC POW, she posted a six-game hitting streak.
Steele has also improved greatly during this spring, owning a current average of .336 (51-for-152) with 15 doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 41 RBIs, and 33 runs scored (.586 slugging, .440 on-base–27 BB, 3 HBP). The junior is a one-time league POW and has recorded a five-game hitting streak.
Malloree Grove has provided a great presence at the top of the lineup, hitting .325 (63-for-194) with 11 doubles, one triple, two home runs, 52 runs scored, and 22 RBIs. She has a .423 slugging clip and a .376 on-base mark (10 BB, 7 HBP) and has managed a ten-game hitting streak in 2014.
A two-time honorable mention, Christensen has not suffered a sophomore slump after a great freshman campaign. She has a .351 batting average (60-for-171) with 18 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 36 RBIs, and 33 runs scored. The sophomore, who has a .538 slugging percentage and a .419 on-base clip (18 BB, 2 HBP), had a six-game hitting streak at one point this spring and won one league POW award.
For the complete 2014 all-MCC Softball teams, go to http://www.midwestcollegiateconference.com/article/1711.php