Six members of the Hiram College softball team have been named to the 2014 All-North Coast Athletic Conference Teams. Senior outfielder Sarah Loyer (Barrie, Ontario/St. Joseph’s) and freshman first baseman/pitcher Brittany Zajac (Corry, Pa./Corry) were both first-team award winners. Senior catcher Jess Bolanz (Randolph/Waterloo), sophomore shortstop/second baseman Jessica Wahl (Akron/Ellet), junior outfielder Kayla Schmidt (Garfield Heights) were second-team selections and junior second baseman Angela Perella (Lyndhurst/Beaumont) was tabbed honorable mention. [2014 All-NCAC Teams]
Loyer caps her four-year career with back-to-back all-conference awards, including her first first-team honor this season. She was a second-team All-NCAC pick last season. This past spring, Loyer started all 30 games she played and led the team and the NCAC in hitting with a .412 batting average (40-of-97). She also led the team in hits (40), stolen bases (10) and was second in runs scored (21). Loyer recorded 13 multi-hit games, including a season-high three hits on two occasions. In addition, she hit one triple, three doubles and had six runs batted in.
For her career, Loyer played in 132 games and started 128. She posted a .345 lifetime batting average (144-of-417) with two triples, 19 doubles, 89 runs scored and 44 RBI. She also stole 29 bases in 33 attempts. She ends her career tied for fourth all-time in program history in runs scored (89) and tied for fifth all-time in stolen bases (29). Loyer also is ninth all-time in both batting average (.345), hits (144) and is 10th all-time in at-bats (417).
Zajac becomes just the third player since Hiram joined the NCAC to garner first-team all-conference accolades. In her first season with the program, she finished second on the team in batting average at .364 (36-of-99) in 31 games and 30 starts. She was sixth on the team in runs scored (12) and third in RBI (16). Zajac also had a homerun and four doubles. In addition to playing in the field, Zajac was also one of three pitchers to see playing time. She ended the season the team leader in earned run average at 4.32 in 13 appearances, including three starts, a complete game and one shutout. She struck out 12 batters in 34 innings and posted a 1-2 overall record.
“It is an honor to be named All-NCAC,” said Zajac. “I’d like to thank my coaches and my teammates because I couldn’t have done it without them pushing me to the potential I needed to be at.”
Bolanz adds to her list of post-season awards with her second all-conference honor having earned back-to-back second-team distinctions. She was also tabbed All-Region by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) at the end of last season. This year, Bolanz started all 32 games and was third on the team in hitting with a .337 batting average (32-of-95) to go along with a pair of homeruns, a triple, eight doubles, 14 runs scored and 22 RBI. Her 22 RBI ranked second most on the team and her 14 runs scored were fifth most. In addition, she led the team in walks with 10.
Bolanz ends an impressive four-year career as the program’s all-time leader in homeruns with 24, including the Hiram single-season homerun record with nine which she set as a junior during the 2013 campaign. She started every game she played during her career (146 games) and posted a .334 lifetime batting average (146-of-437). In addition to belting 24 homers, Bolanz had hit four triples, 34 doubles, scored 80 runs and had 120 RBI. Her 120 RBI place her second all-time while her 80 runs scored are sixth-best and her 34 career doubles put her in a tie for sixth all-time.
Wahl earns her first All-NCAC award in only her second season with the program. Wahl started all 32 games as an infielder and had a .292 batting average (31-of-106) leading the team in at-bats with 106. She had eight multi-hit games with a season-high three hits on three occasions. Wahl also ended the season tied for third in runs scored with 19 and was fourth in RBI with 15. In addition, Wahl hit a homerun, two doubles and had five stolen bases.
Schmidt joins Wahl as a first-time all-conference award winner having completed her first season as a Terrier. In her first season, she started all 27 games she played in and finished with a .281 batting average (18-of-64) and was tied with Wahl for third in runs scored with 19. She was also third on the team in doubles (six), was second in stolen bases (six) and was amongst the team leaders in RBI with 10. Schmidt recorded four multiple-hit games with a season-high three-of-five effort in the second game of a NCAC doubleheader against Ohio Wesleyan University on Apr. 23 in which she also scored a pair of runs and RBI.
“I would like to thank my family, coaches, and friends for the unconditional love and support they have provided me with throughout the years,” said Schmidt. “It is truly an honor to be name All-NCAC. ‘Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.'” (Lou Holtz).
Perella claims her first All-NCAC honor following a season that saw her play in 31 games and started 29. She recorded a .326 batting average (29-of-89) to place fourth on the team. She led the team in three statistical categories including: homeruns (three), doubles (nine) and RBI (23). Her 29 hits were the fifth most on the squad and she also scored nine runs. Perella had eight games with two or more hits, including an impressive four hits in six at-bats in game two of the twinbill against OWU in which she also had a run scored and five RBI.
“It’s a true honor to have been apart of the Hiram softball program for three years, and I am so grateful to have been named All-NCAC.” said Perella.