LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Three seniors from the Heidelberg University softball team were among the 364 athletes that earned all-region honors by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Catcher Mikaela Mitsch was a first-team honoree, shortstop Kayla Zachrich was a second team selection and first baseman Marissa Smego was an at-large pick on the third team. The trio helped rewrite the Heidelberg record book en route to making back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Mitsch becomes Heidelberg's first four-time NFCA All-Region honoree. The McHenry, Illinois, native was a third team selection in 2013 and 2014, and first team in 2015. Mitsch, affectionately referred to as Train, is the career leader in RBIs (148), doubles (48) and home runs (29). She is tied for the all-time hits record with Smego (201). This season, she hit a career-high .464 with 40 RBI, six homers and 17 doubles. Defensively, she threw out five would-be base stealers.
Zachrich, Heidelberg's iron-woman, started in all 161 games over the past four seasons. She remains the career leader in triples (15) -- a record she set as a junior. She is also in the top five on the career lists for at bats, hits, runs, RBIs and doubles. This season, Z hit .402 with three homers, 11 doubles, 32 runs scored and 28 runs driven in. Zachrich was a First-Team regional selection in 2015.
Smego, a first team selection in 2015, is tied atop the career hits list with Mitsch. She was the 2015 OAC batting champion with a .477 average. In 2016 she set a program record with 21 doubles. She is in the top five on the career lists for batting average, at bats, runs, RBI and doubles. In 2016, she hit .399 with 33 RBI and 28 runs to go along with the 21 two-baggers. Defensively, Smego had just one error in 2016 -- a total turn-around from her freshman year.
"Having watched these three develop and grow -- on and off the field -- over the past four years has been a highlight of my professional career," said head coach Betsy Hada, who just finished her eighth season at the helm. "Train, Z and Riss are very deserving of the NFCA recognition."
After squeaking into the postseason, Heidelberg softball won the OAC Tournament for the second straight year. The senior class was 101-60 (.627) during their tenure at The Berg.