SIOUX CITY – Morningside’s regular season Great Plains Athletic Conference champions were rewarded Wednesday when the league announced its all-conference teams.
The Mustangs swept the three top honors after earning their seventh league title in coach Jessica Jones-Sitzmann’s 19 seasons.
Rachel Henks, a senior lefthander, was named GPAC pitcher of the year after posting a 33-8 mark, equaling a single season school record for wins, to go with a 1.60 earned run average. Henks, who struck out 253 batters and held oppositions to a .180 batting average is the sixth hurler under Jones-Sitzmann to be named the league’s top pitcher.
Rachel Koch, a senior outfielder from Denison, Iowa (Denison-Schleswig H.S.) was tabbed as the league’s player of the year after a season in which she hit .354 to go with 13 doubles, four home runs and 37 RBIs.
Koch is just the third Mustang to earn player of the year honors, joining Kati Steffen (2014) and Kendra Klein (2008).
Jones-Sitzmann, meanwhile, took home coach of the year honors for the second straight season and the sixth time in her career. Jones-Sitzmann owns a career-mark of 652-347 and will coach her 1,000th game at Morningside when NAIA Opening Round Series play begins on Monday.
Morningside, which went 17-3 in league play, placed four players on the 18-member first-team all-conference squad. Honored along with Henks and Koch were senior first baseman Moriah Bohlmann (.354), who led the way with 14 doubles and 46 RBIs and senior designated player Allie Martinez (.355, 39 RBIs).
Dordt sophomore earned first-team honors as a pitcher after posting a 14-9 record with two saves and a 2.51 earned run average. Top walked just 17 batters in 156 innings this season for the Defenders, fourth in the regular season.