The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) is proud to announce the 360 players chosen for the 2019 NFCA Division III All-Region softball teams.
As in the past, the squad is comprised of three 15-player teams in each of the country’s eight NCAA regions. First team honorees will advance and now be considered for 2019 All-American honors that will be announced at the National Championships in Tyler, Texas May 23-28.
Luther placed five players on the Midwest Region, three on the first team and two on the third team.
Senior pitcher Samantha Bratland (Spring Grove, Minn.) becomes the sixth player in Luther history to earn all-region honors four times. A two-time All-American, Bratland was named first team all-region for a third consecutive year. She was named second team in 2016.
Bratland completed the 2019 campaign with a record of 18-6. She allowed 33 earned runs in 136 2/3 innings of work posting an ERA of 1.69. She struck out 110 and walked 45. She finishes her career as Luther's all-time leader for career wins with a mark of 88-17. She ranks second for career appearances (116), innings pitched (633 1/3) and strike outs (625). Her career ERA of 1.57 ranks ninth all-time.
Making their first appearance on the all-region team is junior Abby Gehringer (Indianola, Iowa) and sophomore Maleah Georgen (Manchester, Iowa/West Delaware). Both were first team honorees.
In her first year as a full-time starter at first base, Gehringer led the Norse in seven offensive statistical categories. This list included batting average (.400), hits (48), doubles (14), home runs (7), rbi (40), total bases (83) and slugging percentage (.692). Defensively, she was credited with 268 putouts and just three errors producing a fielding percentage of .989.
Georgen saw action in 34 games as the designated hitter. She batted .313 with 18 rbi. In 83 at-bats she tallied 26 hits and struck out just five times.
Third-team honors were presented to seniors Addy Pender (Johnston, Iowa) and Blake Banowetz (Bellevue, Iowa/Marquette Catholic). Pender is making her second appearance on the all-region squad, while this is the first time for Banowetz.
Pender, who earlier this month was named first-team all-conference, started all 40 games behind the plate. She batter .290 that included six doubles, her first career triple and four home runs. Defensively, she was credited with 197 putouts, 23 assists and three errors for a fielding percentage of .987. She finished her career with 754 putouts that ranks eight all-time. Her career fielding percentage of .992 is tied for second all-time.
Banowetz finished third on the team with a batting average of .366. She ranked second for runs batted in with 35 and doubles with 12. Defensively, she recorded 27 putouts, 73 assists and five errors at third base for a fielding percentage of .952. She completed her career with a batting average of .327. She ranks tied for 10th all-time for career doubles (33), tied for fourth for career hit-by-pitch (15) and ranks seventh for career assists (207).
During the 2019 campaign, Luther posted its 13th consecutive year with 30-plus wins, with a mark of 30-10. The seniors on this squad recorded a four-year record of 154-24; two Iowa Conference championships; three Iowa Conference Tournament titles; three appearances in the NCAA III National Tournament; a Super Regional title in 2018; and a third place finish at the DIII Softball Championships in 2018.