OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The Association of Division III Independents All-Independent softball team was announced today along with the yearly awards for the AD3I. Along with multiple All-Independent honorees, the Blue Angels were able to send senior Payton Hintz (Almond, Wis.) off with the 2018 AD3I Softball Player of the Year Award.
The senior converted to first base this season in order to anchor her team's defense. Hintz and the Blue Angels may have took a little while to settle into the 2018 season, but once the weather stabilized the Blue Angels fed off the consistent play.
Hintz was scorching hot during her series against rival Maranatha Baptist. Hintz bat was responsible for 13 runs crossing the plate in the six games against the Sabercats as MMU got the season sweep. Hintz took that momentum at the plate and went a combined 5-for-6 against Rockford University in MMU's 1-1 split against the Regents.
After the dust settled on the season, Hintz was top ten in the AD3I in a myriad of categories: batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, RBIs, doubles and hits. Also earning the first team honors for the All-Independent softball team, Hintz finished her senior season with a .356 BA, .983 OPS and 24 RBIs.
Pitcher/third basemen Adrianna Nester (So./Anaheim, Calif.) and outfielder Amelia Flint (Jr./Whitefish Bay, Wis.) will be joining Hintz on the first team. For the first time in MMU history, the Blue Angels will send a single student-athlete to the first team at two different positions.
With her strikeout totals (56) and ERA (8.49), Nester was able to make the AD3I first team. When the sophomore hurler was not in the circle, she traded time at third base with Hannah Harnsberger (So./Hillsboro, Ore.) to keep her bat in the lineup. Nester came through hitting .333 at the plate, which put her at seventh in the AD3I in batting average. While a majority of the sophomore's hits were singles, she made each of her 22 hits count blasting 18 RBIs which again placed her at seventh in the association for RBIs.
Flint was able to make the first team this year despite hitting under the Mendoza line. With unprecedented patience at the plate, Flint ended the year nearly with a .383 OBP. The equivalent to making it on base in three of every eight at-bats, Flint was able to get on base consistently to score 11 runs on the year.
Making more records, Harnsberger made it onto the second team roster at two different positions. Trading time with Nester at both pitcher and third base, Harnsberger consistency at both positions earned her the pair of honors. Harnsberger posted a 9.03 ERA on the year and labored through 66.2 innings in the circle. The pitch-to-contact pitcher had the fewest walks surrendered of any pitcher in the AD3I with as many innings pitched. Harnsberger was consistent at the plate hitting .254 at the plate with six RBIs.
Second basemen Haley Jacquez (So./Oakley, Calif.) has been a consistent glove for the Blue Angels for the past two seasons. That work earned the sophomore middle-infielder a spot on the second team. Finishing the year with a .911 fielding percentages at second base, Jacquez was fourth on her team with 18 assists. With similar consistency at the plate, finished the year with a .290 BA and a .476 OBP. That OBP translated to the sophomore making it on base nearly every other at bat and was fourth in the AD3I in that category.
Shortstop Michaela Buchholz (So./Germantown, Wis.) and catcher Haley Johnson (So./Germantown, Wis.) worked their way onto the AD3I second team. Buchholz recorded 35 assists at one of the hardest defensive positions in the game. While covering the middle for the Blue Angels on defense, Buchholz hit .313 at the plate with a .421 OBP; both top ten in the AD3I. Buchholz also finished the season third in the AD3I in stolen bases with nine.
Johnson was clutch at the plate with nine RBIs on the year, which was third on the team. Johnson also was a dependable backstop finishing the year with a .953 fielding percentage in her 20 games plated at catcher.
For more information on this year's Association of Division III Independents All-Independent softball team, check out d3independents.org. To get more on your Blue Angels, check out mtmaryathletics.com.