Penn looks to defend NIC softball crown
March 29, 2012By Greg Humnicky of Northern Indiana Conference
NIC Softball for 2012
Penn won the NIC last year outright with an 8-0 record under Beth Zachary. Mishawaka, Marian, SB Riley and SB Adams all look to challenge the Lady Kingsmen in the NIC standings. Elkhart Central also figures to challenge along with St. Joseph's, SB Clay and SB Washington looking to improve from last year.
Penn has won 13 NIC championships since softball became a conference sport in 1983. Mishawaka has earned 9 titles. SB LaSalle earned 7 conference titles before the school closed as a high school in 2002. Elkhart Central has three titles to its credit, SB Riley two, while SB washington as one along with Marian and St. Joseph's also having one crown. St. Joseph's and Marian have only been eligible for the NIC title since 2005.
Penn beat SB Riley for the 4A Sectional title last year, while Marian beat St. Joseph's for the 3A Sectional crown. Penn advanced to the 4A Semi-State while Marian got beat in the 3A Regional.
Marian's Ariel Sheets is a returning 1st Team All-NIC pitcher along with Emillea Rief of Elkhart Central. Penn has Maddie Smith, 1st Team All-NIC returning while Clay has Kalie Niezgodski returning to anchor their respective infields at Penn and Clay. Marian has trio of 2nd Team All-NIC infielders returning, Kathleen Kavanagh, Jamie Young and Katie Barnard. All three All-NIC catchers return, Penn's Holly Hoffman, Annmarie Lindzy of St. Joseph's and Jillian Busfield of Riley. Emily VanTornhout of Marian and Bethany Stoltz of Mishawaka lead the returning All-NIC outfielders.
Conference play begins on Tuesday, April 10 as the NIC plays a single round-robin softball schedule.
ICGSA Softball State Poll - March 23
Penn is 7th
SB Riley - Hon. Mention
Marian is ranked # 1
St. Joseph's - Hon. Mention