By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, Ohio---Kailey Minarchick (Columbia Station/Columbia Station, Ohio), a freshman right-handed pitcher for the Owens Community College softball team, headlines this year's Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) postseason awards.
OCCAC Major Awards
Minarchick, who posted a 7-0 record with one save over nine appearances in conference play, was named the OCCAC pitcher of the year. In 49.0 innings, she posted a 1.00 ERA with 44 strikeouts. While winning the OCCAC pitcher of the week award four times (March 27, April 17, April 24, May 1), she led the conference in wins, fewest losses, complete games (6), strikeouts and ERA.
Furthermore, Minarchick continues a long line of dominance in the circle for the Owens softball program as she becomes the ninth straight OCCAC pitcher of the year from the Express. That list includes Lyndi Johnson in 2008, Kendall Kulakowski in 2009, Aerica Susor in 2010, Jordan Ratliff in 2011, Ashlyn Michalak in 2012, Katie Turski in 2013, and Lesley Ducat in 2014 and 2015.
Owens also entered this season with an eight year streak of OCCAC player of the year recipients. The streak was snapped by Cuyahoga Community College's Serena Tucciarelli, who hit .525 with 16 runs, two doubles, three triples, two home runs and 10 RBI, to be named the 2016 OCCAC player of the year. Those eight players from Owens include Danielle Hahn (2008), Lindsey McIntire (2009), Ashleigh Whitacre (2010), Alaina Haubert (2011), Michelle Hollister (2012), Melanie Iacoangeli (2013), Brittany George (2014) and Jacey Gray (2015).
In addition to those two awards, the conference also named Owens Community College head softball coach Marcus Smith the 2016 OCCAC coach of the year. It is the second consecutive season that Smith has won the award. In two years, he has led the team to a 20-4 record in conference play and two OCCAC championships.
In addition to being named the OCCAC pitcher of the year, Minarchick also earned a spot on the 2016 All-OCCAC team. Joining her were sophomore outfielder Jacey Gray (Springfield/Holland, Ohio), freshman right-handed pitcher Miranda Benschoter (Elmwood/Bloomdale, Ohio), sophomore catcher Ericca Herzog (Southview/Sylvania, Ohio) and sophomore third baseman Cassidy Rolf (Eastwood/Pemberville, Ohio).
Gray, who won the OCCAC player of the year award en route to National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American recognition last year, hit .400 over 10 conference games this year. She added 13 runs, two triples, eight RBI, three walks and 11 stolen bases, while posting a .462 on base percentage and a .514 slugging percentage, which was the best on the team despite batting leadoff. Gray is also a two-time OCCAC player of the week (April 10, April 17).
Benschoter, who formed a solid 1-2 punch in the circle along with Minarchick this year, went 3-2 with one save while striking out 25 over 29.2 innings and posting a 2.36 ERA. She made six appearances.
Herzog hit .344 with four runs, one double, three RBI, four walks and one stolen base over 10 games in conference play. She posted a .417 on base percentage, as well.
Rolf hit .353 with five runs, three doubles, one triple, eight RBI, two walks and two stolen bases in conference play. She posted a .378 on base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.
Minarchick was also named to the All-Region XII team. In 27 games this year, she has posted a 14-6 record with three saves. In 127.2 innings, she has struck out 124, thrown 14 complete games and recorded a 1.48 ERA. She will be nominated for NJCAA All-American recognition, which will be announced after the postseason is over.
Owens (25-12 overall) opens postseason play at 2 p.m. on Wednesday against the winner of Muskegon Community College and Ancilla College in the Region XII winner's bracket semifinals. Should Owens win that game, they would advance to the winner's bracket final on Thursday. The championship of the double elimination tournament is scheduled for Friday. All games will be played at Berliner Park in Columbus, Ohio. For a full schedule, visit here