The University of Chicago Softball team concluded its season this past Wednesday, losing the first of a doubleheader with Elmhurst before the second game was canceled due to inclement weather. The Maroons finished with a respectable 20–17 record, going 6–7 at home, 7–5 on the road, and 7–5 at neutral sites. Overall, the South Siders carried a .282 batting average throughout the season, with a .351 on base percentage and knocked 13 balls over the fence. UChicago’s most successful stretch of the season was a five-game winning streak, in which they swept North Park and Aurora, before winning the first of a double-header against Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Fourth-year Sara Koniewicz said of the season, “I think the season was fun and a great stepping stone for the team moving forward. They will return a lot of key pieces that should set them up for a very successful campaign next year. The season showed that a lot of returners have great leadership potential and it will be interesting next year to see where the team goes and how the culture develops as a large incoming freshman class adds to the pool of already solid talent. However, it was a little disappointing not making it to regionals as that was our goal entering the season.”
The Maroons were fortunate enough to be led by a strong group of returning underclassmen. Third-year Maeve Garvey led the team offensively with a .368 batting average, 31 RBIs, and five homeruns. Garvey also had only a single error on the season and finished with a .978 fielding percentage. Fellow third-year Carly Shultz was also instrumental in the team’s success, finishing with a .351 batting average and a .992 fielding percentage. The Maroons also return third-year Serena Moss (.299 BA, 15 RBIs) and pitcher Jordyne Prussak (6–2 in the circle with 16 appearances). Second-year Emma Nelson was a key contributor this year, starting every single game and finishing with a .300 batting average, two home runs, and 14 RBIs batting as the cleanup hitter most of the year. Fellow second-year Holli Jones (.245 BA, 15 RBIs, .988 FLD%) and pitcher Megan Stoppelman (5.56 ERA) returns as well. The Maroons also look forward to the next three years of some talented freshman in Abby Hayes and Skye Collins. Hayes (.288 BA, 27 RBIs) and Collins (.250 BA, 15 RBIs, 2 HRs) were key pieces in the South Siders’ lineup all season.
The Maroons only lose two fourth-years, but those two fourth-years have been instrumental in UChicago’s success over the past four years. Catcher and utility player Koniewicz has been a staple in the lineup since she was a first year. As a first-year, she played in 33 games with 32 starts, compiling a .206 batting average with seven RBIs. As a second year, Koniewicz raised her average (.333), and as a third-year, compiling eight RBIs with a .302 average. This year, she batted .291 with a career best 23 hits and six doubles. UChicago also loses record-setting pitcher Molly Moran. Moran has been a regular in the circle since her first year, compiling an impressive set of statistics. Over four years, she went 36-26 (No.8 in school history in wins), pitched 403.1 innings, saved four games (No. 2 in school history), struck out 339 (No. 7 in school history), and had a 2.38 ERA (No. 9 in school history) along with many other school records.
Koniewicz also commented on her career, saying, “In terms of my career, I’m thankful for all that UChicago Athletics has given me. I have had so many great teammates and coaches that I will never forget. I know I will not compete again as a Maroon on the field, but I cannot wait to continue to cheer on my teammates and see where their hard work takes them these next few years.”
Congratulations to the UChicago fourth-years on great careers and the Maroons on a great season. We cannot wait to watch your success next year!