A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Local college notebook: Stewart excels at Ohio Northern; TMC duo earns PAC baseball honors

By Don Owen
NKyTribune reporter

St. Henry High School graduate Gabby Stewart enjoyed an outstanding sophomore season for the Ohio Northern University softball team, helping the Polar Bears advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Stewart batted .371 with a team-leading 38 runs batted in this season as Ohio Northern posted a 32-11 record. The sophomore catcher also collected a team-best 16 doubles and hit three home runs for the Polar Bears, who earned a trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time since 2012.

ONU’s Gabby Stewart

In addition, Stewart earned second team All-Ohio Athletic Conference honors. Ohio Northern captured the OAC championship and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament, where the Polar Bears were eliminated in the regional finals by Case Western Reserve.

Earlier this season, Stewart was named the OAC’s Hitter of the Week. The Union native posted a .529 batting average, adding 11 RBI, three doubles and a homer during six games for the Polar Bears to earn the weekly honor. In a doubleheader sweep over Capital on April 2, Stewart finished with five hits, four runs scored and nine RBI in the two contests. She drove in seven runs in the nightcap, including a three-run homer.

As a freshman in 2017, Stewart hit .350 with four homers and 29 RBI.

During her senior season at St. Henry in 2016, Stewart led the area with a .594 batting average. She also added five homers and 12 doubles to earn Northern Kentucky Softball Coaches Association Division II all-star honors.

TMC DUO HONORED: Thomas More College senior second baseman Ben Laumann and baseball head coach Jeff Hetzer have earned postseason accolades from the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.

Laumann was named the PAC Player of the Year, while Hetzer was tabbed the PAC Coach of the Year.

In 42 games this season, Laumann hit .345 (58-for-168) with 16 doubles, four triples and seven home runs. He is tied for first among the league leaders in runs scored (55) while his 16 doubles, 103 total bases and 17 stolen bases rank second. In 17 PAC regular-season games, Laumann hit .391 (27-for-69) with a PAC-best 30 runs scored. He finished the circuit with a .506 on-base percentage, a .797 slugging percentage and six home runs while going a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen base attempts.

Laumann is Thomas More’s fourth PAC Player of the Year selection. He is also a four-time All-PAC first team honoree. His 197 career runs rank first all-time at Thomas More, while his 216 career hits rank second. He is also just one double shy (55) of tying the program record.

TMC’s Jeff Hetzer

Hetzer, in his 18th season with Thomas More, guided the Saints to the PAC championship tournament title. He is the all-time winningest coach in program history with a career record for 470-257-3. The Coach of the Year award is Hetzer’s fourth (2011, ‘14, ‘16, ‘18). This year’s tournament championship is the fifth for the Saints (2010, ‘11, ‘14, ‘16, ‘18) since joining the PAC in 2006. The Saints will be making their eighth appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament this weekend.

Joining Laumann on the All-PAC first team was junior catcher Sam Hauer, junior second baseman Sean Lawrence and senior pitcher Jayson Essell.

Thomas More junior shortstop Jacob Whitford, senior third baseman Tyler Smith and first-year pitcher Jordan Houze were named second team All-PAC.

XAVIER TOPS NKU: The Xavier baseball team plated eight runs in the first inning Tuesday and coasted to a 14-3 win over visiting Northern Kentucky University.

Xavier belted three home runs during the first-inning outburst, including an inside-the-parker by Blaine Griffiths. Conor Grammes and Andrew Sexton also homered in the first inning for the Musketeers, who improved to 18-34.

Chris Givin went 4-for-6 to lead the Xavier offensive attack, which pounded out 18 hits.

Will Haueter went 2-for-3 with a homer and two runs batted in to pace NKU, which dropped to 14-35. Haueter has now reached base in 27 consecutive games. Norse starting pitcher Jordan Menfee retired just one batter and was charged with eight earned runs after surrendering seven hits.

Contact Don Owen at don@nkytrib.com and follow him on Twitter at @dontribunesport

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