Four softball Cardinals earn all-Big 8 honors

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton's Jessica Parente was named first-team all-Big Eight Conference./File photo

Middleton’s girls’ softball team had a rough season on the field, going 9-14 overall.

But the Cardinals were well-represented when it came to all-Big Eight Conference honors.

Senior first baseman Jessica Parente was named first-team all-conference. Parente was the only player on the first team that wasn’t from Sun Prairie or Verona.

Freshman Olivia Hebert was named second-team utility and honorable-mention all-conference as a catcher. Junior third baseman Ashley Bindl was named second-team all-conference, while senior second baseman Sophie Schafer was named honorable-mention all-league.

Parente was named all-conference for the fourth consecutive season. Parente was a second-team utility player in 2015, a second-team catcher in 2016 and a first-team first baseman in 2017.

This year, Parente led the Cardinals with a .380 batting average, tied for the team lead in home runs (three) and doubles (six) and led the Cardinals in triples (two). Parente also led Middleton in slugging percentage (.648) and runs scores (18) and was second in RBI (13).

“Jessica has been a great hitter since the first day of her freshman season,” Middleton coach Perry Hibner said of Parente. “A lot of teams tried to pitch around her this year, yet she still found a way to lead us in virtually every offensive category. We will also miss her leadership efforts. We can't wait to see what she accomplishes on the softball field at Belmont.”

Bindl was also a second-team all-conference player in 2017 at third base. Bindl’s .351 batting average was third on the team and she tied Parente for the team lead in home runs (three) and doubles (six). Bindl was also second in RBIs (13), led the Cardinals in stolen bases (three), was third in slugging percentage (.571) and had a .935 fielding percentage.

“Ashley is the best third baseman in the Big Eight and if we had a better record, I really believe she would have made the first team,” Hibner said. “She can do it all.

“She hits for average and power, has an above average arm, good hands in the field and can really run. She is one of those players who leads by example, but she also became more vocal this year.”

Hebert had a terrific freshman season, batting .338 with three home runs, 12 RBI and five doubles. Hebert also had a .563 slugging percentage and threw out three runners trying to steal.

“We had so many good catchers in the conference this year, but Olivia certainly showed she is right up there with them,” Hibner said. “She also did nice work at shortstop the few games she played there. She has good power and improved as the season went on of taking outside pitchers the other way. She has a very bright future.”

Schafer had a big senior year, batting .357 with two home runs, 12 RBI, 12 runs scored and a .985 fielding percentage. Unfortunately for Schafer, she tore her ACL and MCL before Middleton’s regional semifinal against Madison Memorial.

“Sophie had an incredible senior season,” Hibner said. “It's always rewarding to see a senior get an opportunity and run with it. She did that. She made some amazing plays in the field at second and improved so much as a hitter. We're going to miss all that she brought to the team.”


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