Softball
Big Ten Honors Booker, Schkade, Mychko with Postseason Awards

 
Sophomore Jami Schkade is the only starting second baseman to earn a 1.000 fielding percentage in conference play.
Sophomore Jami Schkade is the only starting second baseman to earn a 1.000 fielding percentage in conference play.
 

May 8, 2013

Park Ridge, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced its postseason awards Wednesday morning, honoring three Illini student-athletes for their achievements this season. Junior Alex Booker was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team, and she and Jami Schkade both earned spots on the inaugural Big Ten All-Defensive Team. Additionally, junior Jenna Mychko received a Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

Junior leftfielder Alex Booker has had a fantastic season for the Illini on both offense and defense, leading the Orange and Blue at the plate with a .352 batting average and a .425 on base percentage. The speed demon has stolen 20 bases on just 21 attempts, becoming just the third Illini in school history to tab 20 swipes in a single season, while tying for second with a .952 efficiency. The Gurnee, Ill., native has put together a team-best 50 hits, 32 runs, 13 RBI, four doubles, a triple and 17 walks, while tabbing three sacrifice bunts.

“She has really improved both sides of her game,” said Head Coach Terri Sullivan. “Offensively, she has really expanded her game by being a triple threat, getting some extra-base hits and more RBIs. She’s stepped up every time we asked her to and in whatever spot we put her in. She’s really produced for us and has been getting better and better offensively.”

Booker has been outstanding in leftfield, recording the most fielding chances in the Big Ten without recording an error, making 87 putouts and tallying seven outfield assists. Her speed and consistency earn her one of the three outfield spots on the first-ever Big Ten All-Defensive Team. 

“Defensively, I think she’s improved a lot, especially in her throwing. She’s made some big catches for us and is still working on her game to get better. We’re excited for her; she’s being honored for her hard work and her love of the game, and her passion to compete at this level and for the University of Illinois is really high.”

Sophomore second baseman Jami Schkade joins Booker on the Big Ten All-Defensive Team after playing flawless defense in the middle infield throughout conference play. The Albany, Texas, native is the only Big Ten second baseman with a 1.000 fielding percentage in conference play. She made 31 putouts and 23 assists during Big Ten play, helping to turn a pair of Illini double plays.

“We use her specifically for the belief we have in her defending a really difficult position to play in second base,” said Sullivan. “You have a lot of responsibilities there, a lot of coverage, between just your routine middle infield plays, but also covering first base and covering steals. She’s a smart player and has really accepted the challenge and the role that she has. I’m really excited about her being honored for something that she takes a lot of pride in; she’s really been an anchor for us.”

Junior catcher Jenna Mychko represents the Fighting Illini with the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

“Jenna is the ultimate team player,” said Sullivan, who nominated the Union, Ill., native for this important honor. “Over the years, she’s had some injuries that she’s battled and they always seem to come at the worst possible time, whether right as the season’s starting or at the beginning of the school year. This year she’s just worked really hard. She wasn’t in the starting lineup at the beginning of the year, but she earned it through hard work and producing.

“She really handles our pitchers well. It takes a lot of growth to handle those upperclassmen pitchers. Our pitches throw really differently, and I think she’s a big reason why they’re doing well.

“She’s very coachable and just has that complete love of Illinois and loves to represent Illinois on the field. She really believes in everything that we’re about, and I’m really excited for her that she’s being honored for those intangibles.”

20 student-athletes representing nine different teams were selected to the All-Big Ten First Team, with an additional 16 conference players earning a spot on the Second Team. The conference coaches voted on the best defensive player at each position for a spot on the 10-person All-Defensive Team.

The conference awarded four prestigious individual honors, three of which were claimed by regular-season champion Michigan. Wolverine shortstop Sierra Romero, winner of six Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors, was named both Player and Freshman of the Year. Nebraska junior Tatum Edwards took home Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, and Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins was selected as the Big Ten Coach of the Year.

2013 BIG TEN POSTSEASON HONORS

Big Ten Player of the Year: Sierra Romero, Fr., SS, MICH
Big Ten Pitcher of the Year: Tatum Edwards, Jr., NEB
Big Ten Freshman of the Year: Sierra Romero, Fr., SS, MICH
Big Ten Coach of the Year: Carol Hutchins, MICH

First Team All-Big Ten
Megan Blank, So., SS, IOWA
Caitlin Blanchard, Jr., 1B, MICH
Sara Driesenga, So., P, MICH
Ashley Lane, Sr., 2B, MICH
Sierra Lawrence, Fr., OF, MICH
Sierra Romero, Fr., SS, MICH
Lauren Sweet, So., C, MICH
Kylene Hopkins, Sr., OF, MSU
Sara Moulton, Jr., P, MINN
Kaitlyn Richardson, So., 3B, MINN
Tyler Walker, So., SS, MINN
Tatum Edwards, Jr., P, NEB
Taylor Edwards, Jr., C, NEB
Amy Letourneau, So., UTIL, NU
Mari Majam, Jr., OF, NU
Cassidy Bell, Sr., OF, PSU
Andie Varsho, Jr., OF, PUR
Cassandra Darrah, Sr., P, WIS
Mary Massei, Jr., OF, WIS
Whitney Massey, Sr., C, WIS 

Second Team All-Big Ten
Alex Booker, Jr., OF, ILL
Amanda Wagner, Sr., 3B, IND
Johnnie Dowling, Sr., OF, IOWA
Haylie Wagner, So., P, MICH
Jayme OBryant, Sr., 3B, MSU
Alicia Armstrong, Fr., SS, NEB
Jordan Bettiol, So., OF, NEB
Courtney Breault, Sr., DP, NEB
Emily Lockman, Fr., P, NEB
Brooke Thomason, Sr., OF, NEB
Marisa Bast, Jr., 3B, NU
Anna Edwards, So., SS, NU
Cammi Prantl, Fr., OF, OSU
Maia Monchek, Sr., OF, PUR
Kendall Grimm, Sr., OF, WIS
Meghan McIntosh, Sr., P, WIS

Big Ten All-Defensive Team
P – Kayla Massey, Jr., IOWA
C – Taylor Edwards, Jr., NEB
1B – Evelyn Carrillo, Jr., OSU
2B Jami Schkade, So., ILL (tie)
2B – Brianna LeBeau, Fr., NU (tie)
3B – Gabby Banda, Sr., NEB
SS – Alicia Armstrong, Fr., NEB
OF Alex Booker, Jr., ILL
OF – Kylene Hopkins, Sr., MSU
OF – Cassidy Bell, Sr., PSU

Sportsmanship Award Honorees
Jenna Mychko, ILL
Meaghan Murphy, IND
Sam Valentine, IOWA
Jaclyn Crummey, MICH
Ellie Stoffer, MSU
Kelsey Klucas, MINN
Mattie Fowler, NEB
Sammy Albanese, NU
Melissa Rennie, OSU
Cassidy Bell, PSU
Ashley Courtney, PUR
Maria Van Abel, WIS

HEADLINES