Softball wraps, postseason awards received

The PNW softball team finished in fourth place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a 15-17 conference record and a 26-26 overall record. The team was the first of PNW’s teams to reach 20 wins this season.

Niki Stansell, head coach, said she considers the season a success, especially because it was the team’s first season competing in the NCAA Division II.  

“I think there were times where we could have won some games by one run and so capitalizing on that, for next year we will be working on that,” Stansell said.“The biggest thing we learned this year is that we need to be consistent, and then if we just play how we are capable of playing we can be one of the top teams in the GLIAC; consistency is key.”

In addition to it being the team’s first year competing in Division II and GLIAC play, it was also Stansell’s first year as a coach at PNW. Stansell said the team exceeded her expectations.

“I am most proud of every single individual on this team choosing to put every single person in front of them,” Stansell said. “This team is very selfless.” 

Stansell said this year allowed the team to learn about themselves and what they wanted to accomplish.

“I think this year set the tone for them to be hungry for next year because I think they are ready to go,” Stansell said.

Kyleigh Payne, infielder for the PNW softball team, was selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association NCAA Division II All-American Third Team on May 23.

“My favorite part of the season was when we all came together as a whole and realized that we are all on the same bus,” Payne said. “That was a turning point for us realizing that we are all in this together.”

Payne said she thought the team had a good first season and learned that in order to be successful, teammates need to play for each other.

“Also, getting those key hits for your team and not for yourself while playing with pride at all times and being a leader,” Payne said.

Payne also was selected to the NFCA Division II All-Midwest Region First Team and was awarded GLIAC Softball player of the year. In March, she was the first female PNW athlete to win GLIAC Player of the week.

Samme Miller, outfielder, and Taylor Kotzo, infielder, both won Honorable Mentions for the GLIAC this past season. Holly Pagan, outfielder, won GLIAC Softball Player of the Week in April and was selected for the All-GLIAC Second Team.