For a second consecutive season, sophomore Ally Fox (Greenville, Wis.) earns a spot on the All-NACC first team after another strong year at the top of the Sabre lineup. Fox led the Sabres in batting average this season and ranked sixth in the NACC hitting at a .432 clip. When on base, Fox became an even more useful weapon as she led the NACC with 23 stolen bases on the year. The left-handed slapper was held hitless in only four of the 32 games she started in compiling 16 multi-hit games. One of her best games of the season came in the finale of the Concordia Wisconsin series where she went 5-for-5 with three runs scored and three driven in. Fox had at least one steal in 14 games this year and had eight games where she stole multiple bases. She also led Marian in scoring with 35 runs scored in only her second season.
Sophomore Gianna Esposito (Bolingbrook, Ill.) earns her second All-NACC honor being named to the first team after a good year at the heart of the Sabre order. Esposito was a consistent source of offense for the Sabres as she led the squad and ranked eighth in the NACC with 33 runs driven in on the season. She also excelled in situational hitting ranking ninth in the conference in sacrifice flies. The Bolingbrook, Ill. native was held hitless in only seven of the 36 games she started with 11 multi-hit games. She also had 10 games during the year where she drove in multiple runs in one game including a pair of four-RBI games. Esposito set a season-high for herself launching four home runs during the season and also proved to be a threat defensively for the Sabres recording 10 assists from left field. She also closed out the year ranked second on the team with 29 runs scored on the season.
Sophomore Paige Rauhut (McHenry, Ill.) was on the All-NACC freshman team last season and now adds a first team All-NACC selection to her career after leading the Sabre pitching staff all season long. Rauhut was dominant in the circle all season long tossing three shutouts as she went on to earn NACC Player of the Week honors three times. The right-hander ranked second in the NACC with 15 wins on the year and tied a Marian single-season record with three saves during the regular season. Rauhut took care of business herself most of the time as she finished ranked third in the NACC with 108 punch outs on the year for a 5.7 strikeouts per seven innings average. During the year, she had seven starts where she allowed fewer than two earned runs and had 10 starts with six or more strikeouts.
Freshman Peyton Loesch (Bolingbrook, Ill.) was a major addition for the Sabres this season and has been named the NACC Freshman of the Year along with earning a spot on the All-NACC second team. Loesch led the Sabres in on base percentage at .500, also good for fourth in the NACC, behind a 2.70 strikeout-to-walk ratio that ranked seventh in the conference. The Sabre first baseman had 15 multi-hit games and played strong down the stretch going 6-for-12 in the final three games of the season. Loesch finished the season ranked third on the squad with 25 runs driven in and had the fourth-best slugging percentage at .535. Her impact went beyond the batter’s box as she was also a reliable arm in the circle for the Sabres where she went 6-3 with a save and two complete games.
In just his fourth year at the helm of the Marian softball program, Tony Draves has turned the program into a contender and was named the NACC Coach of the Year after leading Marian to a share of their first NACC title in program history. The Sabre softball program has seen a major improvement from the 8-14 record his first Sabre squad put together compared to the 2018 17-5 Marian team. Draves has now brought the Sabres to the NACC Tournament in back-to-back years after missing postseason action four consecutive years. The 2018 NACC title that Draves has led the Sabres to is also the first conference championship the Marian softball program has seen since the 2004 season.
The full release from the NACC can be found at http://naccsports.org/sports/sball/2017-18/releases/201805030b79a0.