Akron, Oh. - The Lady Lions narrowly missed out on their fourth consecutive United States Collegiate Athletic Association softball championships appearance, but none the less, their presence was felt at the championship banquet on Sunday, May 14. Hazleton, who ranked fourth in scoring, and second in both home runs and RBI's saw four players earn All-American status. Sophomore Samantha Varela and freshman Jerrika Chorba were named first team All-Americans, with sophomore Vanessa Michael and freshman Breann Fetterman earning second team status.
Samantha Varela (Hazleton, Pa.) 1st Team All-American
Sam Varela took the USCAA by storm in her second season in a Lady Lion uniform. In the circle, the sophomore finished the season tied for the fifth most wins in the country, netting 12 wins out of 18 games started including a perfect game no-hitter and national pitcher of the week honor. Varela sported the eighth lowest ERA at 3.30 amongst players with 10 or more wins and her 87 strikeouts were the sixth most in the nation.
The Hazleton ace was even more impressive at the plate, notching eight home runs to tie for the national lead at the end of the regular season. Varela's power didn't end with just the long ball. The sophomore connected for a total of 18 extra-base hits, the second highest total in the country leading to the nation's third most runs driven in at 40 RBI.
Jerrika Chorba (Bloomsburg, Pa.) 1st Team All-American
Chorba broke onto the national scene with 20 multi-hit efforts and a .505 batting average after March 6 of 2017. The sophomore surged up the hitting charts to finish the season with a team-best .482 batting average, a mark that ranked as the second highest batting average amongst players who participate in 30 or more games this season. Chorba's 42 runs scored and 53 hits were the third most in both categories, cementing the freshman's position as one of the premiere lead-off hitters in the USCAA.
Vanessa Michael (Bloomsburg, Pa.) 2nd Team All-American
Vanessa Michael earns her second straight All-American nod with another monster year at the plate for the Lady Lions. Michael notched a pair of grand slams in 2017, helping her on her way to the fifth most regular season home runs in the nation with seven blasts. Michael consistently raked in Hazleton base runners, totaling nine multi-RBI efforts to finish the season with 47 runs driven in, ranking her with the second most RBI in the country. Michael totaled a season high seven RBI on three hits in a win over Penn State Schuylkill on March 30, leading to a national player of the week honor by the USCAA.
Breann Fetterman (Mountain Top, Pa.) 2nd Team All-American
A staple in the number two spot of the Lady Lion batting order, Fetterman perfected that role with a patient approach at the plate. Fetterman led the Lady Lions with 18 walks, ranking as the 7th most in the USCAA. Combined with her .342 batting average, Fetterman reached base in nearly 50 percent of her plate appearances, allowing her to score the 10th most runs in the country with 34 tallies. The freshman also showed her skills in the Lady Lion outfield, converting put outs with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 38 total chances.