Four Blue Tigers Named All-MIAA Honorable Mention
JEFFERSON CITY - Four members of the Lincoln softball team were named as All-MIAA honorable mentions on Thursday. Seniors Kristina Hein (designated player) and Brianna Akers (outfielder) joined junior Shantae Duren (catcher) and Sam Kircher (shortstop) on the All-MIAA list.
Hein split time as both a designated hitter and pitcher for the Blue Tigers, finishing with 22 hits and a .286 batting average. Hein batted in seven runs and scored six more, ending the season with three doubles and two homeruns. She batted in 35 games, making 31 starts, and had five games with at least two hits. Hein also made 13 appearances in the circle, pitching 22.0 innings and striking out eight.
Akers has been one of Lincoln's top hitters over the past two seasons, and this year finished second among all consistent starters with a .295 batting average. Akers, who was named to the Southeastern Regional Invitational All-Tournament team after leading Lincoln to a pair of wins at the season-opening tourney, led Lincoln in 2013 with seven doubles. She was also second on the team with eight multiple-hit games and five multiple-RBI performances. Her 33 hits were the second-most on the team, and she also scored 10 runs with 14 RBI. Akers played in 41 of LU's 42 games and made 40 starts in right field.
Duren led Lincoln with six multiple-RBI games and was one of seven LU players to have at least three hits in a game this season. Duren, who played in 36 games in 2013 and made 31 starts, finished with a .264 average and 23 hits. One of Lincoln's best run producers, Duren scored 14 runs and tallied 13 RBI with five doubles and four homeruns. She also made a big impact behind the plate, catching eight opposing runners on steal attempts.
Kircher was LU's best hitter this season, leading the team in hits (43), batting average (.363), RBI (19) and runs scored (18). Her six doubles were the second-most by any Blue Tiger and she was just one of four LU players to hit a triple. Kircher finished with four homeruns and six stolen bases. Her 12 multiple-hit games led the team while her five multiple-RBI performances tied for second on the squad. Kircher, who started all 42 games at shortstop, led LU with 76 assists who recording 71 putouts.
Lincoln's four honorees represent the most all-league selections the program has had in the three seasons since the Blue Tigers rejoined the MIAA. LU had three all-league selections (Megan Braun, Rachel Hoeflicker and Clair Lorenz) in 2011 before having just one all-MIAA honoree in 2012 (Braun). Lincoln won 14 games this season, including six MIAA contests, and swept double headers against Lindenwood-Belleville (March 7), William Jewell (March 20) and Southwest Baptist (April 13).