Palczynski and Earl become three-time First Team honorees
NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Senior Colleen Palczynski (Mt. Prospect, Ill.-Prospect) repeated as the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Hitter of the Year, while five other members of the Illinois Wesleyan University softball team earned all-conference honors as the league announced its postseason teams Thursday, May 5.
Palczynski, along with senior Hayley Earl (Washington, Ill.-Washington) and sophomore Bailey Turner (Normal, Ill.-Normal West) landed on the All-CCIW First Team. Juniors Natalie Grubczak (Medinah, Ill.-Lake Park) and Nina Mardjetko (Lemont, Ill.-Lemont) as well as freshman Jen Kuhn (Normal, Ill.-University High) garnered second team selections. Freshman Kennady Estes (Warrenton, Mo.-Warrenton) was IWU’s recipient of the RESPECT Award.
Palczynkski became just the second player in conference history to be named the CCIW’s Hitter of the Year in back-to-back seasons, joining Wheaton’s Katie Thornton who earned the award in 2015 and 2016. The senior third baseman, who boasted a perfect fielding percentage in league games, hit .389 at the plate over the 16-game CCIW schedule. She ranked second in the conference in slugging percentage (.852), OPS (1.293), and RBIs (24) as she earned All-CCIW honors for the third time in her career. Palczynski was the league leader with eight home runs, three-more than the second-ranked mark held by Kuhn and teammate Ava Khoury (Columbia, Ill.-Columbia). The Mt. Prospect, Ill. native’s 15 runs scored were good for third-most in the conference, while her 21 hits were also slotted third.
Earning First Team All-CCIW accolades for the third time in her career, Earl continued her reign as the conference’s top catcher. She hit .379 with 11 hits, five runs scored, three doubles, two homers, and three RBIs. She boasted an on-base percentage of .419, and went 4-for-4 in stolen bases. On the flip side, no team was successful in steal attempts against the flame-throwing catcher. Just two steals were even attempted against Earl, both of which she threw out.
Turner, a All-CCIW First Teammer for the first time in her career, hit .326 with 14 hits, six runs scored, five doubles, and three RBIs as IWU’s starting second baseman. Her five two-baggers are tied for fourth-most in the league, while her four sacrifice bunts were tied for second-best across the CCIW.
Grubczak picked up Second Team All-CCIW honors for the second straight season. She posted a 1.75 earned run average, the fourth-best in the league, in CCIW games, while holding opponents to the sixth-lowest batting average (.223). The Medinah, Ill. product finished eighth in the CCIW with four wins, tied for fifth in saves (1), and tied for second in fewest hits allowed (11). She threw a complete game shutout in a run-rule win over Elmhurst, May 2, and finished with 24 strikeouts over 32 innings of work.
Mardjetko, the league leader in wins with seven, is amid a breakout season for the Green and White. The junior hurler ranked seventh in the CCIW with her 2.10 ERA, while her .209 opposing batting average tied for fourth-best. Throwing 53.1 innings, the fourth-most in the conference, her 41 strikeouts were fifth-most in the conference. Mardjetko tossed three complete games, including a pair of shutouts. She threw the first no hitter of her career in a win over Carthage, April 24.
A walking web-gem at shortstop, Kuhn put together a strong CCIW season en route to second team honors. She hit .340 with 18 hits and eight RBIs, while ranking tied for second in the conference in homers (5), tied for third in runs scored (15), and eighth in slugging percentage (.614). She recorded a hit in IWU’s last 12 CCIW games, highlighted by five multi-hit efforts.
Illinois Wesleyan begins CCIW Tournament play today, May 5, with a 3 p.m. tilt against third-seeded Carroll University.
2022 All-CCIW Teams
|Aly Armstrong||Millikin||P||Sr.||Effingham, Ill./H.S.|
|Addison Sargent||Millikin||P||Jr.||Mt. Vernon, Ill./H.S.|
|Gianna Corban||North Central||P||Sr.||Morris, Ill./H.S.|
|Hayley Earl||Illinois Wesleyan||C||Sr.||Washington, Ill./H.S.|
|Jaime Smith||North Central||C||Sr.||Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North|
|Kaylee Learman||Carroll||1B||Sr.||Greenwood, Wis./H.S.|
|Bailey Turner||Illinois Wesleyan||2B||So.||Normal, Ill./West|
|Alyssa Aragon||North Park||SS||Sr.||Niles, Ill./North|
|Colleen Palczynski||Illinois Wesleyan||3B||Sr.||Mt. Prospect, Ill./Prospect|
|Camryn Skundberg||Millikin||3B||Sr.||Mt. Zion, Ill./Parkland College|
|Bella Spittler||Carthage||OF||So.||Spring Grove, Ill./Richmond Burton|
|KJ Davison||Millikin||OF||Fr.||Avon, Ind./H.S.|
|Elise O’Neil||Wheaton||OF||Jr.||Concord, N.H./H.S.|
|Cassie Reed||Millikin||DP||Sr.||Bethalto, Ill./Civic Memorial|
|Alyssa Malicki||North Park||UT||Sr.||Norridge, Ill./Ridgewood|
|Riley Pavelka||Carroll||P||Fr.||Naperville, Ill./Central|
|Naomi Alonzo||Carthage||P||Sr.||South Elgin, Ill./Montini Catholic|
|Natalie Grubczak||Illinois Wesleyan||P||Jr.||Medinah, Ill./Lake Park|
|Nina Mardjetko||Illinois Wesleyan||P||Jr.||Lemont, Ill./H.S.|
|Leah Foreman||Millikin||C||So.||Riverton, Ill./H.S.|
|Jamie Haas||Elmhurst||1B||Sr.||Aurora, Ill./Oswego|
|Paige Andrews||Wheaton||1B||So.||Fayetteville, Ga./Starr’s Mill|
|Alyssa Sturino||North Central||2B||Jr.||Roselle, Ill./Lake Park|
|Jen Kuhn||Illinois Wesleyan||SS||Fr.||Normal, Ill./University High|
|Madison Wagner||Carroll||3B||Sr.||Harrison, Wis./Genoa-Kingston|
|Sierra Grubor||Carroll||OF||Sr.||Milwaukee, Wis./Whitnall|
|Grace Biondo||Millikin||OF||Sr.||Naperville, Ill./Central|
|Alexa Sherlund||North Central||OF||Jr.||St. John, Ind./Lake Central|
|Ashley Dehmlow||Augustana||UT||Sr.||Spring Grove, Ill./McHenry West|
|Rachael Feazelle||North Park||UT||Sr.||Chicago, Ill./Steinmetz|
Jannae Mehaffey – Augustana
Abby Wimmer – Carroll
Donna Stevens – Carthage
Jena Hicks – Elmhurst
Kennady Estes – Illinois Wesleyan
Jada Wilson – Millikin
Danielle Lambert – North Central
Maddy Tan – North Park
Madison Forberg – Wheaton