VIENNA, W.Va. — University of Rio Grande freshman Caitlyn Brisker has been named the 2021 River States Conference Softball Player of the Year, as well as the league’s Newcomer of the Year.
The announcement came during an awards ceremony on the opening night of the RSC Softball Championship at Jackson Memorial Park. The all-conference first and second teams, as well as individual award winners, were selected through balloting of the league’s 10 head coaches.
The All-RSC First Team included 20 selections and the All-RSC Second Team has 16 members. Each of the first and second teams included three starting pitchers, two catchers, five infielders, four outfielders, one designated player and one utility player. The first team also had four at-large selections added, regardless of position.
Brisker, who hails from Oak Hill, Ohio, is hitting .474 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs. She has tallied 64 hits altogether, with 27 of them going for extra bases for a staggering .844 slugging percentage.
Brisker, who didn’t join the RedStorm squad until the conclusion of the basketball season, also has seven triples — a figure which ranks eighth in the NAIA. She’s also tied for 13th nationally with 56 runs scored.
Four other standouts from Rio Grande — which won both the conference regular season and tournament championships — were named to the first team.
Senior Raelynn Hastings (Commercial Point, OH) and freshman Sydney Campolo (New Lexington, OH), both pitchers, were among the honorees, as was junior infielder Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH) and junior outfielder Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH).
Junior infielder Shelby Schmitt (Fairfield, OH) was a second team honoree.
Hastings has a 19-4 record with a pair of saves and a 2.06 earned run average in 31 appearances. In 163-1/3 innings of work, the right-hander has allowed 162 hits and 48 earned runs while walking just 17 and striking out 107.
Campolo is 20-6 with two saves and a 2.12 ERA in 32 outings. Over 178-1/3 innings, she’s surrendered 158 hits and 54 earned runs with 28 walks and 173 strikeouts.
Cremeens is batting .378 with six home runs and 45 runs batted in. She also has 18 doubles, three triples and a .601 slugging percentage.
Webb is hitting .422 with a team-high 11 home runs, 20 doubles and 69 runs batted in. She also has four triples and a .721 slugging percentage, with her RBI total ranking second nationally.
Schmitt is hitting .376 with five doubles, a triple, a home run and 19 RBI.
Joining Rio’s quintet on the first team was RSC Pitcher of the Year, Hannah Ogg of Indiana University Southeast. Entering tournament play, Ogg was 28-10 with a 1.42 ERA in 207.1 innings pitched. She ranked second in the NAIA in wins and innings pitched and was fifth nationally with four saves.
Ogg, who struck out 216 batters in regular season play, suffered a pair of losses to Rio Grande in the conference tournament.
The remainder of the first team included pitcher Ally Moore of Asbury; catchers Erin Templeman of IU Southeast and Rileigh Bobo from Brescia; infielders Kelsey Warman and Ellie Jackman from IU Southeast, Madison Lampe of Carlow, Taylor Enlow of Asbury and Brescia University’s Cassie Moss; outfielders Taylor Goldstrohm of Point Park, Carson Flynn from Midway, Emma Dammeyer of Ohio Christian and Maddie Probus from IU Southeast; designated player Jada Simon of Point Park; and utility selection Taylor Dickerson of WVU Tech.
Moore, Jackman, Moss and Probus were the four at-large first team picks.
The other individual award winner was IU Southeast head coach Joe Witten, who was named RSC Coach of the Year by his peers.
Witten led the Grenadiers to a 42-14 record overall and 22-4 mark in the RSC during the regular season. IU Southeast won the RSC West Division title.
Also named was the RSC Softball Championship of Character Team. One representative from each school was nominated by their head coach for best exhibiting the NAIA’s five character values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship.
Rio’s representative on the list was sophomore Cierra Roberts (Bidwell, OH).
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.