Softball: Andrean’s Nikki Steinbach is the P-T Player of the Year
BY John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent June 26, 2012 11:14PM
Nikki Steinbach of Andrean is the Post-Tribune softball player of the year. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 28, 2012 6:40AM
Andrean pitcher Nikki Steinbach was the epitome of dominance throughout the 2012 season, leading the 59ers (28-4) to the Class 3A state championship.
A quick glance at Steinbach’s statistics reveals exactly how dominant this year’s Post-Tribune Softball Player of the Year actually was during a memorable senior season.
Steinbach went 25-2 in the circle with 304 strikeouts. She walked 24 batters and had an incredible 0.47 earned run average, while tossing 15 shutouts, throwing four no-hitters and fashioning a pair of perfect games.
In 193 innings, the Ball State-bound sensation allowed 68 hits and only 13 earned runs, while averaging 11 strikeouts per seven innings pitched. She also hit .309 with 29 hits, including four homers and 23 RBI.
“If I had to use one word to describe her I’d say, dominating,’’ Andrean catcher Morghyn Neal said. “She always wants to be the best and show she’s the best one out there. She just has that drive where she doesn’t lay down for anyone.’’
Steinbach said first-year 59ers coach Brooke Baker-Runyon deserves a lot of credit for helping her take her game to another level this year.
“Coach Brooke always told me to dominate,’’ Steinbach said. “I didn’t really understand what that meant at first, but as the season went on, I realized what she meant. She wanted me to go out there and be the dominant pitcher she knew I could be. When a batter stepped into the box, she wanted me to trust my pitches and rely on the ones I knew would work best, then, just build off that. I like getting ahead in the count a lot, so I always try to keep my pitch count down.’’
After two prior trips to the state title game, Steinbach was definitely elated her team was able to bring home a state title.
“It means all my hard work paid off in the long run,’’ she said. “All the extra work I put in over the winters — the conditioning, the pitching and hitting — all really did make a difference.’’
Steinbach wants to make a difference in the future, too. The B-plus student plans to major in Sports Administration at Ball State. She contemplated a career in athletic training — even working during the football and basketball seasons with 59ers’ athletic trainer, Julia Sturm.
Steinbach, though, has since changed her mind. She now wants to work for the NCAA in some administrative capacity.
“I just want to be part of something that’s important and necessary,’’ she said.