The Sailors’ 9-3 record and second place finish in the OK-Gold conference this season was recognized by conference coaches, who honored three South Christian .400 hitters with all-conference status, and two of their teammates with honorable mentions. This equals the recognition the Sailors received in 2016, with a second place finish.
The 3-4-5 hitters in the lineup drove the Sailor offensive attack this season: Hannah Wohlfert, Maddy Baar and Kendra Kuiper.
Wohlfert paced the Sailor attack in 2017, leading the team in batting average (.422), hits (49), and doubles (14). The team’s clean-up hitter also tallied a .438 on base percentage (OBP), .621 slugging percentage, and 1.059 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS). She also flashed some power at the plate, sending three round-trippers over the fence. “Hannah is a three year Varsity starter, and she stepped up her game from 2016 when she earned an O-K Gold Honorable Mention,” said Coach Tara Schreur. “She moved from first base to third this season for us, and she did a great job, with her always-positive attitude. She came up big for us game after game with clutch at-bats when we needed them.” When not manning the hot corner, Hannah served as the Sailors’ number two pitcher, fashioning a 9-6 record on the season. She should be back in 2018 to lead a senior-heavy Sailor roster.
Baar is a Junior and second year Varsity starter at first base, after spending 2016 as the team’s designated hitter. Batting behind Wohlfert, the prototypical slugging first baseman’s most noteworthy statistic was her team-leading five homeruns on the season. However, she also batted .417, and led the Sailors in several power-based categories, including 35 RBI, a .469 OBP and .631 slugging percentage, which naturally combined to produce a team-leading 1.100 OPS. She also topped the Sailors with a .437 batting average on balls in play. “Maddy batting behind Wolf really gave us two clean-up hitters in our lineup. She would put a charge into our dugout and our energy when she drove the ball out of the yard,” said Schreur.
Kuiper, a sophomore and two year Varsity starter, earned her second all-conference recognition. She anchors the Sailor pitching attack as number one starter, as well as the number three slot in the batting order. Kendra batted .407 and tied for the team lead in doubles (14). Kendra provided a balanced offense, placing in the top three in 11 offensive categories: .407 batting average, 33 runs scored, 48 hits, three homers, .619 slugging percentage, and 1.072 OPS. “Kendra brings a balance and consistency to the field every day. She is easy to coach, because monitors her own performance. If she feels she isn’t performing to her own high standards, she will stay after practice to get in some extra swings or grounders until she is satisfied.”
Lynden Hoeksema and Lauren Teitsma also received Honorable Mentions for their 2017 performances.
Lynden completed her third year of Varsity play as the Sailors shortstop. In her senior season she also took over the leadoff spot in the batting order. The slightest of the Sailors, she was a team captain, leader and sparkplug. She could always be heard from the dugout cheering on her teammates, and offering encouragement to the on-deck batter. Lynden led the team with 38 runs scored, as well as a team high 14 stolen bases on the season, to go along with a .319 batting average. Coach Schreur sent Lynden off on Senior Day with the following, “We will all miss Lynden’s sass, her wild hair, and her ability to make us laugh every day.” 2017 was Lynden’s second consecutive Honorable Mention, having earned the same in 2016.
Lauren Teitsma is Coach Schreur’s other junior and three year Varsity starter. After two years in right field, flashing a big stick, consistent glove and a strong arm that threw out several would-be singles at first base, she moved behind the plate for the Sailors in 2017. “Lauren began training as a catcher before her freshman season, just in case we would need a catcher down the road. We are glad she did, because Lauren answered a big question for us coming into the season – and better than anyone expected,” said Schreur. Catching all 217 innings for the Sailors this season, Lauren’s offensive numbers dipped from her breakout 2016 season that earned her all-conference, all-district and all-region accolades. Yet, she batted a respectable .355, with 32 RBI, and a team-leading four triples to go with three round-trippers.
While the Sailors say good-bye and best wishes to Hoeksema, the other four O-K Gold honorees are expected to be back in 2018 to do battle with their conference opponents. With as many as eight returning Seniors and 11 of 13 players from 2017, and a summer and off-season to work on their skills, the Sailors should be strong contenders again next year.