Softball Set to Battle for Top Spot in Horizon League
By Rachel Buck (@GBRachel)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – It will be a battle atop the Horizon League this weekend in Green Bay as the top two teams in the conference square off in the regular-season finale for both squads.
The Phoenix (22-11, 9-4 HL) currently reside in first place in the League and will welcome Valparaiso (20-28, 10-6 HL) which currently sits in second place. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. before wrapping up the series on Sunday at noon.
Saturday’s game marks the team’s annual parents day, with players and their parents recognized in a ceremony between contests. On Sunday, Green Bay will recognize its five seniors: Shannon Butts, Stacey Butts, Gabrielle Cassady, Ashley Nannemann and Miranda Reinke in a pre-game celebration. Below is a look at the seniors and their contributions to the Phoenix during their time here.
The Phoenix comes into this weekend on a five-game winning streak, having swept Detroit and UIC in consecutive Horizon League series. Reinke currently leads the team hitting .373 with 11 doubles, while sophomore Marissa Michalkiewicz (Appleton, Wis.) has a team-best 41 hits and 31 RBI and junior Hailey Mohrfeld (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) has a team-leading 30 runs scored and five home runs.
In the circle, Green Bay leads the conference with a 2.51 ERA while holding opponents to just 107 runs (79 earned). Nannemann has pitched a team-leading 92.0 innings this season, posting a 7-7 record with a 2.21 ERA, 52 strikeouts and team-best three saves and eight complete games. Freshman Heather Sanderson (Rapid River, Mich.) has struck out a team-high 58 batters in 62.1 innings of work.
Valparaiso has dropped its last four contests, including a doubleheader against Indiana on Wednesday. Sophomore Kaitlyn Ranieri has started all 50 games for the Crusaders and leads the team hitting .357 with 56 hits and 34 runs scored. Junior Tarah McShane has a team-best 32 RBI, while senior Amanda Wisniewski has 11 home runs on the season. The pitching staff has a combined ERA of 4.57 and is led by sophomore Taylor Weissenhofer (13-10) with a 4.59 ERA, 111.1 innings pitched and 105 strikeouts.
2014 GREEN BAY SENIORS
A native of Greenfield, Wisconsin Shannon Butts has been a consistent player behind the plate for the past four seasons. Over her four seasons she has appeared in over 100 games posting 65 hits, 32 RBI and 17 extra-base hits while going a perfect 2-for-2 on stolen base attempts. As a freshman in 2011, she was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team after appearing in 31 games for the Phoenix. This season she is hitting .373 in 25 appearances with 22 starts with 25 hits, including nine for extra bases, 13 RBI and six runs scored. One of her top performances came this season during a doubleheader at in-state rival Wisconsin when she went a perfect 6-for-6 with three RBI and two runs scored with three doubles. Off the field, Shannon has been named to the Horizon League All-Academic team and honor roll on several occasions, and is currently pursuing a degree in democracy and justice studies with a minor in psychology.
Hailing from Greenfield, Wisconsin Stacey Butts spent two years at Tennessee Tech before joining sister Shannon on the Green Bay roster for the 2012 season. Playing three seasons for the Phoenix, Stacey has appeared in over 100 contests posting 76 hits, 44 RBI, 37 runs scored and is a perfect 8-for-8 on stolen base attempts. This season she has appeared in 27 games with 24 hits and is hitting above 300 with 23 hits, 19 RBI and 10 runs scored. Her best performance of the season came in a series opener at Cleveland State on April 19, when she went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Off the field, she has been recognized for her academic success by being named to the Horizon League academic honor roll several times and was recently the recipient of CoSIDA Academic All-Region accolades. She is pursuing a degree in education with minors in human development and mathematics.
A native of Janesville, Wisconsin and four-year member of the team, Gabrielle Cassady has appeared in over 30 games for the Phoenix primarily as a catcher. During her career she has posted four hits, one double, an RBI and six runs scored. Academically, Gabrielle is working towards a degree in business administration with a minor in human development.
Hailing from Burlington, Wisconsin, Ashley Nannemann has been a key part of the Phoenix pitching staff during her four seasons. She has posted a record of 23-28, making over 75 appearances and tossing 25 complete games, one shutout and four saves. In 327.2 inning of work she has struck out 169 batters, which currently ranks sixth all-time in the Phoenix record books. Her 23 wins rank her 7th all-time, while 25 complete games stands 6th all-time and her four saves are tied for the top mark. This season, Ashley has thrown 92 innings, striking out 52 while holding opponents to .227 hitting with a 2.21 ERA. She threw her first career shutout earlier this season against Youngstown State and a few weeks ago at Cleveland State struck out a season-high eight batters in 6.2 innings of work. Off the field, Ashley is currently pursuing a degree in design arts with a minor in humanistic studies.
A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Miranda Reinke has appeared in over 150 games for the Phoenix and totaled 127 hits, 50 RBI, 72 runs scored, 25 doubles and 20 home runs while going 23-for-25 in stolen base attempts while being named to the Second Team All-Horizon League squad as a sophomore in 2012. Her 72 runs scored ranks 6th all-time, 25 doubles stand 7th all-time, 23 stolen bases is 4th all-time and her 20 home runs are a program career record. This season, Miranda has started all 33 games in the outfield and leads the team hitting .373 with 11 doubles. All told, she has 38 hits, 26 runs scored and 11 RBI in 2014, with her runs scored and doubles totals making the mark in the single-season record books. One of her top performances of the season came in game two of a doubleheader against Wisconsin-Parkside when she went 2-for-3 with a run scored, three RBI, a double and home run. Off the field, Miranda has been named to the Horizon League honor roll on several occasions, and is currently working towards a degree in human biology.
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