2016 CWRU Softball Season Recap

2016 CWRU Softball Season Recap

The Case Western Reserve University softball team recorded its fifth-consecutive winning season in 2016, finishing the campaign, with an overall record of 21-19.

The Spartans ended the year strong as they closed on a four-game winning streak, and won 11 of their last 14 games.  CWRU hit .348 as a team during the stretch and averaged 5.6 runs per game, while the pitching staff recorded a 2.33 earned run average, helping the Spartans secure the above-.500 record.  Overall for the season, the Spartans hit .317 and slugged 18 home runs, with the pitching staff notching a 3.45 team ERA.

The Spartans' success came despite playing a challenging schedule, which featured 11 games against teams that would go on to make the NCAA Division III Championship field, and six contests against squads that were ranked in the final NFCA poll of the season. 

CWRU went 19-11 in non-conference games during the year, while also exerting its home field advantage, going 8-2 in games at Mather Park to improve to 47-13 at home over the last five seasons (good for a .783 winning percentage).

Case Western Reserve was paced during the season by sophomore first baseman Grace Tritchler and junior pitcher/ outfielder Annie Wennerberg. Each was selected to the All-University Athletic Association Softball Second Team, following their standout 2016 campaigns for the Spartans.  This was the third-straight year that Wennerberg has been named to the All-UAA squad, after receiving second team recognition in 2014, and first team honors in 2015, while Tritchler's All-UAA honor was the first of her career.

Tritchler started all 40 games for the Spartans last season, leading the team with seven home runs, 13 doubles and 36 runs batted in, and ranking second among all CWRU players with a .357 batting average. For her career, she is ranked sixth in school with a .364 batting average, seventh with 13 home runs, and 15th with 67 runs batted in. Tritchler led all Spartans with 11 multiple-RBI games during the year, and was second on the team with 13 multiple-hit games.

Coming off an All-American campaign in 2015, Wennerberg had another outstanding season in 2016, batting .313 with six home runs and 26 runs batted in. On the mound, she led the Spartans with a 14-10 record and a 3.21 earned run average, while striking out 129 batters, the 34th-most among all NCAA Division III pitchers. She broke the program record for career home runs in 2016, breaking former Spartan Lauren Wolz's mark with a three-run home run at home against the College of Wooster, the 29th wall-clearing shot of her career.  Wennerberg ended the campaign with 31 career home runs, and will enter her senior season ranked third in school history in career strikeouts (313), fourth in career wins (41) and fifth in career runs batted in (100).

Other major contributors for the Spartans during the year included sophomore outfielder Katie Wede led the Spartans in hits (47) and runs scored (36), and tied the school's single-season record with 22 stolen bases, the 73rd-most among NCAA Division III players and most in the UAA in 2016.  Sophomore infielder Lindsey Robinson led all CWRU players with a .365 batting average, while sophomore infielder Maren Waldner batted .331 with 10 doubles and 20 RBIs, and freshman shortstop Nicole Doyle tallied a .318 average with 16 RBIs and 11 extra-base hits during her inaugural campaign as a Spartan.

Adding depth on the mound behind Wennerberg were sophomore Katie Dzierwa and senior Rebecca Molnar.  Dzierwa appeared in 26 games during the year, recording a team-best 3.08 ERA and striking out 58 batters in 63.2 innings of work.  Molnar saw action in 13 games, recording a 3-3 record, and had a key moment for the Spartans in the final game of her career.  With the Spartans trailing by a run to Baldwin Wallace in the bottom of the sixth, Molnar registered a go-ahead two RBI pinch hit single to give CWRU the lead, and the remained in the game to pitch a scoreless top of the seventh to secure the victory and the winning season for the Spartans.  It marked the first career hit and RBIs of Molnar's career, and her first save since her sophomore campaign.

In addition to her postseason honors, Wennerberg was named to the UAA All-Tournament Team, as she led the Spartans to a pair of wins in Altamonte Springs, Florida. She turned in a three-for-four performance with a home run and two RBIs against Brandeis on March 9th, and added a one-for-three game with a home run and two RBIs against Emory. On the mound, she picked up the win against Rochester on March 12th, throwing five scoreless innings and allowing just three hits in a 4-0 Spartan win.

In addition to the team's success on the field, the Spartans excelled in the classroom as well. Senior Abby Filliez, senior Kristen Klemmer, Waldner, Robinson, Tritchler, Wede and Wennerberg all received UAA spring All-Academic recognition. 

The Spartans earned the following honors during the 2016 season:

All-UAA

Grace Tritchler

San Antonio, Texas / Winston Churchill

Second Team

Annie Wennerberg

Avon Lake, Ohio / Avon Lake

Second Team

 

All-UAA Tournament Team

Annie Wennerberg

Avon Lake, Ohio / Avon Lake

 

UAA Athlete of the Week

Annie Wennerberg

Avon Lake, Ohio / Avon Lake

Feb. 29

Katie Wede

Carmel, Ind. / Carmel

Apr. 4

 

UAA All-Academic Recognition

Abbey Filliez

Canton, Ohio / Perry

Kristen Klemmer

Orchard Park, N.Y. / Orchard Park

Lindsey Robinson

North Huntingdon, Pa. / Norwin

Grace Tritchler

San Antonio, Texas / Winston Churchill

Maren Waldner

Redondo Beach, Calif. / Chadwick

Katie Wede

Carmel, Ind. / Carmel

Annie Wennerberg

Avon Lake, Ohio / Avon Lake

 

The following were the Spartans statistical leaders during the season:

Hitting

Batting Average

Lindsey Robinson

.365

Hits

Katie Wede

47

Doubles

Grace Tritchler

13

Triples

Two Players Tied

1

Home Runs

Grace Tritchler

7

Runs Batted In (RBI)

Grace Tritchler

36

Pitching

Wins

Annie Wennerberg

14

Innings Pitched

Annie Wennerberg

165.2

Strikeouts

Annie Wennerberg

129

Earned Run Average (ERA)

Katie Dzierwa

3.08

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