Nicole Cheek Named 2013 MAAC Softball Rookie of the Year
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Led by freshman Nicole Cheek’s 2013 Rookie of the Year award, the Marist softball team had a strong night at the MAAC Softball Tournament banquet on Thursday night in Poughkeepsie. Following a 27-24 regular season and a 10-6 mark in conference play, Marist had four Red Foxes honored on the All-MAAC teams; Cheek (Simi Valley, Calif.) and Danielle Koltz (Chenango Bridge, N.Y.) on the First Team and Alyssa Zahka (Lexington, Mass.) and Emily Osterhaus (Suwanee, Ga.) on the Second Team. For their prowess in the classroom, a league-high 10 Red Foxes were named to the MAAC All-Academic Team.
Cheek, a standout for the Red Foxes from Day One, was chosen as the 2013 MAAC Rookie of the Year by the conference’s coaches. A staple in the heart of Marist’s batting order, she finished the regular season with a .365 batting average, as well as conference-highs with 62 hits, 14 home runs and 49 RBIs. Cheek, who has seen time for the Red Foxes in right field and at second base, also recorded 41 runs scored and nine doubles during her regular season freshman campaign. Besides being named Rookie of the Year, she was selected to the All-MAAC First Team.
Koltz joins Cheek as a first-time First Team honoree. After a breakout junior season, saw Koltz selected the All-MAAC Second Team, she elevated her game even more as senior to earned First Team recognition. Moved into the second spot in the Red Foxes’ lineup in April, Koltz has reached heights in the runs scored department never before seen in Marist history as she set the program’s single-season record by coming around to score 47 times. With this outstanding production and overall completeness of her game, she became the first-ever Red Fox with 25 home runs, 100 runs and 100 RBIs in a career. Her regular season statline from the 2013 regular season was a .365 batting average with 61 hits, 11 doubles, eight home runs and 38 RBIs.
Marist’s starting pitcher-catcher battery unit of Emily Osterhaus and Alyssa Zahka rounded out the Red Foxes, who picked up playing accolades. Named to the All-MAAC Second Team, both players are two-time honorees.
Osterhaus, a three-time MAAC Pitcher of the Week in 2013, once again was the Red Foxes’ staff workhorse. For the fourth straight season, she led Marist in pitching appearances, as she pitched in 21 regular season contests as a senior. Throwing 122.2 innings, Osterhaus posted a 11-9 record with a 2.57 ERA and .270 opponents’ batting average. Her ERA ranked fourth in the MAAC, while her three shutouts were second-best in the league.
Zahka, the third weapon in Marist’s dangerous heart of the order, continued her assent up the ranks as one of the MAAC’s most productive players. With regular season totals of eight home runs, 39 RBIs, 58 hits, as well as a .369 batting average, Zahka was ranked top four in the MAAC in all four categories. A strong-armed defender behind the plate, she also led the league with a .520 caught stealing percentage; gunning down 13 of 25 would be base stealers.
Marist also had 10 athletes named to the MAAC All-Academic Team; seniors Sarah Carmody (Camarillo, Calif./Digital Media), Christina Lausch (Lancaster, Pa./Psychology), Emily Osterhaus (Suwanee, Ga./Biology) and Joelle Zahka (Lexington, Mass./Communication), juniors Haley Birnbaum (Lido Beach, N.Y./Biology/Adole. Education), Aly Klemmer (Hamilton, N.J./Medical Technology), Paige Lewis (Temecula, Calif./Fine Arts) and Alyssa Zahka (Biology) and sophomores Janine Lalli (Eastchester, N.Y./Psychology Special Ed.) and Melanie White (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Biomedical Sciences). Carmody and Joelle Zahka are three-time recipients, while Lausch, Osterhaus, Birnbaum, Klemmer, Lewis and Alyssa Zahka are all two-time honorees.
To be eligible for the MAAC All-Academic Team, a student athlete must complete two semesters at their institution and hold a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 on a 4.0 scale.
The Red Foxes will be in action tomorrow morning at tentatively 11 a.m., as they will play the winner of the Niagara-Siena contest that was suspended due to darkness this evening. The Purple Eagles and Saints will resume their game at 10 a.m. in the top of the sixth inning with the score Niagara 3 – Siena 2.