Witzlib, Strajack Highlight All-Iowa Conference Softball Awards

Luther's Hartl Named Coach of the Year

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) announced today its All-Conference Teams and major awards for the 2015 softball season. Luther College sophomore Amanda Witzlib (Germantown, Wis. / Germantown) has been named the Iowa Conference Softball Pitcher of the Year, while Central College senior second baseman Abbey Strajack (Davenport, Iowa / Assumption) has been named the IIAC Softball Position Player of the Year. Renae Hartl, head coach of league champion Luther, received honors as the IIAC Softball Coach of the Year.
2015 IIAC Pitcher of the Year – Amanda Witzlib, Luther College, Germantown, Wis. / Germantown
Through 40 team games, Witzlib has posted an 18-3 record, a 2.36 ERA, 145 strikeouts, six shutouts (two combined) and 11 complete games in 27 appearances (17 starts). She led all IIAC pitchers in strikeouts, wins and opponents’ batting average (.227), ranks second in ERA (behind teammate Annie Versnik) and appearances and is third in innings pitched (124 1/3) and batters struck out looking (38).
Witzlib started six Iowa Conference games for Luther, finishing with a 6-0 record, a 2.51 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 39 innings. She threw five complete games in league play and had one shutout while holding opponents to a .233 batting average. Witzlib led the league in wins and strikeouts, ranked second in ERA (again to Versnik), third in opposing batting average, fourth in batters struck out looking (10) and seventh in innings pitched (39.0).
She registered six or more strikeouts in 12 of 27 appearances, topping out with a league season-high 16 in a 7-1 win over Dubuque on April 26. Witzlib also had 15 against Wisconsin-La Crosse on April 14, 12 against Dubuque on April 21 and 10 against Simpson on April 11. She is 29th nationally in wins, 30th in strikeouts and 31st in strikeouts per seven innings (8.2) entering the NCAA tournament. Witzlib’s 145 strikeouts so far this season rank ninth in school history with eighth place (150, Darsi Doyl, 1985) well within reach.
Witzlib is the seventh Luther player to be named an Iowa Conference Softball MVP, accounting for eight total honors. She is the second to be named Pitcher of the Year since separate awards were instituted for pitchers and position players in 2007 (Becca Girvan, 2012).
2015 IIAC Position Player of the Year – Abbey Strajack, Central College, Davenport, Iowa / Assumption
Through 39 team games, Strajack leads all IIAC players with a .493 batting average, 67 hits and 47 runs scored. She also ranks second in stolen bases (18), sixth in on-base percentage (.527) and total bases (76), seventh in total plate appearances (150) and 13th in slugging percentage (.559). Strajack has also fielded six double plays. She ranks 17th nationally in batting average, 28th in runs per game (1.21) and 55th in on-base percentage entering the NCAA tournament.
Strajack has 18 multiple-hit games – including five 4-hit contests – while hitting out of the leadoff spot in the Dutch lineup. Against Lewis & Clark (Ore.) on March 21, she had four hits and a team season-high five RBIs.
In 12 Iowa Conference games, Strajack led the conference in batting average (.583), on-base percentage (.608), runs scored (17), hits (28) and double plays fielded (5) and ranked sixth in total bases (30), seventh in total plate appearances (52) and 14th in slugging percentage (.625). She was one of three players to have four hits in an Iowa Conference game this season, accomplishing the feat three times – April 11 vs. Loras, April 21 vs. Coe and April 26 vs. Buena Vista. Strajack had eight consecutive hits over the course of two games, starting April 21 at Coe and ending April 26 against Buena Vista.
Strajack’s current .493 season average ranks second all-time at Central. She had multiple hits in eight of 12 IIAC games, being held without a hit just once.
A 2012 NFCA All-American, a two-time all-region pick and two-time regional all-tournament selection, Strajack currently holds Central’s career records in hits (212) and runs (146) and is currently on track to break the program’s career mark for batting average (currently .412).
2015 IIAC Coach of the Year – Renae Hartl, Luther College
In her 14th season, Hartl guided Luther to its eighth Iowa Conference title – it first since 2012 – with a 36-4 mark, including a 12-0 record in Iowa Conference play. The Norse have now won four IIAC titles under Hartl’s leadership, matching the four won by Betty Hoff-led Norse squads (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988). Luther’s 36-4 record entering the national tournament is its best since 2010 when the Norse were 37-5 and finished at 42-7 to set a school record for wins. The Norse, who have spent the majority of the season in the top 10 and have been ranked in the top 25 for 84 of the last 87 weeks, currently hold their highest ranking of the season at No. 4 (as of April 29).
Heading into the NCAA Tournament, the Norse lead Division III in fielding percentage (.977) and doubles per game (2.35), third in batting average (.396) and on-base percentage (.469), fifth in scoring (8.18 runs per game) and sixth in win-loss percentage (.900).
In conference play, Luther led the league in team batting (.401) and earned run average (2.57) – leading in batting average by nearly 100 percentage points (.084) and ERA by over one run (1.19). The Norse also led the league in slugging percentage (.605), on-base percentage (.468), runs scored (97), hits (141), runs batted in (90), doubles (29, tie with Buena Vista), home runs (13, tied with three schools), total bases (213), total plate appearances (448), opposing batting average (.243) and batters struck out (77) despite playing two fewer games than the majority of the conference.
Earlier this season, Hartl won her 400th game, becoming the sixth Iowa Conference head coach (Wares, Timmons, Christowski, Willadsen, Hoff) to reach the milestone. Additionally, Central associate head coach Alicia O’Brien won 423 games in 17 years as head coach at Western Connecticut State before joining the Central staff. Hartl takes a 431-159 record into this year’s NCAA Tournament. This is the third time Hartl has been honored by her Iowa Conference peers (2007, 2012).
2015 All-Iowa Conference Softball Team Announced
The IIAC also announced today the 2015 All-Iowa Conference Softball Team. The 28-member team includes nine repeat All-Conference performers. Central senior third baseman Whitney Sowers received all-conference honors for the fourth time, while Strajack and Luther third baseman Miranda McCay both received their third honor.
NCAA qualifiers Central, Luther and Simpson accounted for 17 of the 28 honors with the Norse taking home a league-high eight honors, including four on the first team. Central had five selections, Simpson four and Dubuque three. Buena Vista, Coe, Loras and Wartburg rounded out the totals with two honorees each.
The complete 2015 IIAC Softball All-Conference Team follows this release.
~~ www.iowaconference.com ~~

2015 All-Iowa Conference Softball
Position Player of the Year – Abbey Strajack, sr., 2B, Central
Pitcher of the Year – Amanda Witzlib, so., Luther
Coach of the Year – Renae Hartl, Luther
First Team School Year Pos. Hometown/High School
Amanda Witzlib Luther So. P Germantown, Wis. / Germantown
Riley Fisher Simpson Jr. P Des Moines, Iowa / East
Carli Radil $ Luther Jr. C Chanhassen, Minn. / Minnetonka
Taylor Smola Wartburg So. 1B Stevens Point, Wis. / Stevens Point Area
Abbey Strajack # £ Central Sr. 2B Davenport, Iowa / Assumption
Jeanne Bramhall Buena Vista Fr. 3B Papillion, Neb. / Papillion-LaVista South
Katie Wieland Luther Sr. SS Cedar Rapids, Iowa / Prairie
Katie Sommer Wartburg Fr. SS Marion, Iowa / Linn-Mar
Ashley Burrows Luther Fr. OF Bondurant, Iowa / Bondurant-Farrar
Andrea Smith Dubuque Jr. OF Burlington, Iowa / Burlington
Brianna Chaplin Simpson Fr. OF Indianola, Iowa / Indianola
Karlee Rock & ^ Central Sr. DP Wheatland, Iowa / Calamus-Wheatland
Gretchen Lilienthal Coe Jr. UT Durant, Iowa / Durant
Meggie Schmidt % Dubuque Sr. UT Edgerton, Wis. / Edgerton
Second Team School Year Pos. Hometown/High School
Mallory Schulenberg & Central Sr. P Kansas City, Mo. / St. Pius X
Megan Loes Dubuque Jr. P Cascade, Iowa / Cascade
Tori Haag $ Simpson Jr. C Waukee, Iowa / Waukee
Alise Miller Luther Sr. 1B Iowa City, Iowa / West
Marissa Schmidt Buena Vista So. 2B Sergeant Bluff, Iowa / Sergeant Bluff-Luton
Whitney Sowers @ % $ Central Sr. 3B Marshalltown, Iowa / Marshalltown
Miranda McCay & $ Luther Jr. 3B Waukee, Iowa / Waukee
Paige Schreiner Central Jr. SS Ottumwa, Iowa / Ottumwa
Lindsey Uphoff Luther Jr. OF Prior Lake, Minn. / Lakeville South
Dani Stromert Loras So. OF Cedar Rapids, Iowa / Jefferson
Stacie Brown Simpson Sr. OF Des Moines, Iowa / East
Katie Serpico % Loras Sr. DP Norridge, Ill. / Ridgewood
Anna Strien Luther Fr. DP Cedar Falls, Iowa / Waterloo Columbus
Haley Smith Coe So. UT LeClaire, Iowa / Pleasant Valley
Honorable Mention School Year Pos. Hometown/High School
Ashley Prettyman % Simpson Sr. 2B Des Moines, Iowa / East
Stephanie Hayden % $ Buena Vista Sr. SS Prairie City, Iowa / Prairie City-Monroe
Micaela Forsyth Wartburg Jr. OF Charles City, Iowa / Central City
Previous Honors
$ - 2014 All-Iowa Conference First Team
£ - 2014 All-Iowa Conference Second Team
^ - 2014 Honorable Mention All-Iowa Conference
& - 2013 All-Iowa Conference First Team
% - 2013 All-Iowa Conference Second Team
@ - 2012 All-Iowa Conference Second Team
# - 2012 All-Iowa Conference First Team

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