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Deborah Hile, Designer

Laurren Ladwig continues to swing a big bat.

The Lake Central product was recognized for her production at the plate after a huge Florida spring break trip for Manchester University.

The senior slugger was tabbed the Heartland College Athletic Conference’s Hitter of the Week, while also snagging honors from Fastpitch News and National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s NCAA Division III Hitter of the Week.

Ladwig hit a jaw-dropping .625 and registered a 1.583 slugging percentage with 15 hits, 13 runs scored, seven homers, two doubles, and 15 RBIs in 10 games.

The Spartans’ softball thumper also tied her single-season program record with 11 homers in just 14 games and went over the 100-RBI mark for her career. She also took over the NCAA Division III lead for homers per game (.76). If that wasn’t enough, Ladwig flashed some leather with a perfect fielding percentage with 18 putouts and eight assists.

• UMKC’s Lia Lombardini (Chesterton) hit a three-run walkoff homer in a victory over Murray State and added another walkoff homer against Western Illinois. Lombardini tied the game against Western Illinois with an RBI single, then added to her heroics in extra innings.

• George Mason’s Liz Seymour (Lake Central) hit a homer in a 12-9 loss to Virginia. The shot was the seventh of Seymour’s career, which puts her in a tie for 10th in program history. She is third on the team with a .318 average to go with five doubles, 11 RBIs and 13 RBIs.

• Oregon’s Miranda Elish (Crown Point) has been off to a stellar start to the spring. The sophomore is 11-1 on the mound with a 0.93 ERA, which is fourth in the NCAA and tops the Pac-12. Elish, who lost her first collegiate game in a 4-3 loss to Oregon State on Friday, has tossed seven shutouts and gone the distance in all 10 of her starts this year. She also has wins against four top-25 teams this season. Her best outing to date was a 10-strikeout, two-hit shutout against No. 7 LSU. She also added a two-hit, eight-strikeout shutout against No. 13 Florida State.

• Notre Dame’s Alexis Holloway (Crown Point) is 13-8 on the mound with a team-best 124 innings pitched with 118 strikeouts. The freshman ace has 13 complete games and a 2.20 ERA. She also had a no-hitter against N.C. State earlier this season.

• Loyola’s Kiley Jones (Portage) allowed only a pair of hits in a complete-game shutout in the team’s 2-0 victory over Evansville.

Jones (13-3) has a stellar 1.85 ERA with 62 strikeouts on 110 innings pitched.


Franklin College’s Frank Podkul (Andrean) had two hits, including a three-run homer and drove in five runs as the team hammered Colby College 14-7 in Auburndale, Florida. It was Podkul’s team-leading sixth homer of the season. Podkul is hitting .323 with a team-best 27 RBIs.

Alex Mis (Munster) is batting .391 with 11 walks, while Christian Sullivan (Lake Central) is 3-0 on the bump with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched for the red-hot Grizzlies (15-1).

Women’s track and field

Indiana State’s Taylor Austin (Griffith) demolished her own school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday at the Stanford Invitational. Austin ran the best race of her career against the nation’s elite. She finished in 9 minutes, 54.01 seconds — better than her previous school-record time of 10:02.89. She finished fourth overall, while her time pulled her into within three seconds of the overall Missouri Valley Conference record.

The senior All-American claimed the Missouri Valley Conference title in the steeplechase in 2017, while also earning the school-record at the NCAA East Regional with a time of 10:02.89 by more than 45 seconds. She finished ranked eighth in the East Regional and placed 18th overall at the NCAA Championships in Oregon last season.

Men’s basketball

Northern Illinois sophomore standout Eugene German (21st Century) has announced he will declare for the 2018 NBA Draft, but without hiring an agent.

Just a sophomore, German led the Mid-American Conference in scoring at 20.6 points per game. He scored in double figures in all 32 games and had 659 points this past season, which were third-most in a single season in program history.

Men’s track and field

University of Saint Francis (Joliet) runners Matt Wilson (Lowell) and Zachary Hoover (Crown Point) finished 15th and 17th, respectively, on Friday at the Washington University Invitational in St. Louis.

The Times welcomes information about local athletes for inclusion in Region Collegians. Email Brian Waddle at