May 15, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A program-record six Boilermaker softball players were named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association's All-Midwest Region teams on Thursday. Purdue previously had four selections in both 2008 and 1996, when just two 12-member teams were selected. In 2014, three 12-member teams were honored. First and second team selections are eligible for All-America honors, which will be announced on May 28.
Senior outfielder Andie Varsho and senior third baseman Tori Chiodo garnered first team honors. Senior catcher Danielle Fletcher and freshman designated player Katy McJunkin were named to the second team, while sophomore pitcher Lilly Fecho and junior first baseman Ashley Burkhardt received third team acclaim.
The all-region honor is the third of Varsho's career, following first team accolades in 2011 and 2013. Burkhardt was previously named to the first team in 2013 as a second baseman.
Varsho boasted a team-best .416 with a team-leading 45 runs and 26 stolen bases this season, ranking 44th nationally in batting average and 48th in stolen bases per game (0.46). One of 50 players selected to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watchlist and one of 30 candidates nationally for the Senior CLASS Award, Varsho reached base in 51 of the team's 56 games, including a 24-game stretch. The 2014 first team All-Big Ten selection drove in 18 RBI, including two game-winners, and registered 18 multi-hit efforts and five perfect days at the plate. The Academic All-District and Academic All-Big Ten honoree leads the Big Ten in hits (74), ranks second in stolen bases, third in batting average and doubles (16), sixth in on-base percentage (.490) and seventh in runs (45). In conference play, the right fielder ranked third in stolen bases (9), seventh in runs (21), eighth in doubles (7) and ninth in hits (28). Varsho also set the school record for longest hitting streak in a season, 22 games from March 1 to April 5, 2014, and tied the game record for hits with 5-for-5 effort against Bryant on March 14 and for doubles with three in Game against Penn State, March 22.
The program's all-time hits (275) and batting average leader (.398) also ranks among the Purdue career top five in stolen bases (2nd with 105), doubles (2nd with 46), runs (2nd with 145), on-base percentage (.464), triples (3rd with 11), walks (4th with 82) and slugging percentage (4th with .549). The three-time All-Region, three-time All-Big Ten and four-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week selection boasts spots among the season top five in seven categories and also tied the game records for stolen bases, runs, doubles and hits.
Chiodo batted .345 with 18 extra base hits en route to second team All-Big Ten honors in 2014. She tallied nine doubles and nine home runs, while driving in 38 RBI, including six game winners. The senior saw action in all 56 of the team's games, starting 44 at third base and 10 at second base. She reached base in 45 of 56 games, including a 22-game stretch. The Big Ten Player of the Week selection also scored 34 runs including three game winners and posted 12 multi-hit efforts, including two perfect days at the plate. The Academic All-Big Ten honoree also put together an eight-game hitting streak. The Sylmar, Calif., native ranks among the top 10 in the Big Ten in walks (4th with 34), a tally which ranks third on the Purdue season listing, and on-base percentage (9th with .472). Chiodo batted .371 during Big Ten play, second best on the team, while ranking second in the league in walks (19), third in on-base percentage (.519), fourth in slugging percentage (.774), fifth in home runs (6), sixth in RBI (22), eighth in doubles (7) and 10th in runs (19). She ranked third all-time among Purdue players in career walks (84) and fifth in career assists (389).
Fletcher garnered second team All-Big Ten honors after batting .333 with 42 RBI, 10 home runs and 12 doubles. The catcher saw action in 54 games, starting 46 at catcher and seven as the designated player. She drove in multiple RBI in 13 games, including three game winners, and scored 21 runs, including one game winner. The Moor Park, Calif., native reached base in 37 games, including a nine game hitting streak. She registered 12 multi-hit efforts, including five three-hit games and four perfect days at the plate. The Academic All-Big Ten honoree also drew 14 walks. Fletcher ranks among the Top 10 in the Big Ten in home runs (6th) and RBI (10th). In league play, she ranked fourth in RBI (23), fifth in home runs (6), and eighth in slugging percentage (.688). All told, Fletcher ranks fourth all-time in career home runs (29) and career RBI (129). She also is one of just two players in Purdue history with three grand slams to her credit.
McJunkin boasted a .363 average in 2014, second best on the team, while driving in 15 RBI and scoring 12 runs. She accounted for the game winning RBI twice and the game-tying scores twice. The rookie played in 50 games, starting 31 as the designated player and nine at catcher, and reached base in 38 of 50 games, including a stretch of 12 straight. The two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week tallied multiple hits in eight games, recorded nine perfect days at the plate, including one 3-for-3 effort, and also put together a six-game hit streak. In addition, the Visalia, Calif., native drew 12 walks and was hit by a pitch four times. During Big Ten play, she ranked third on the team with a .368 average.
Burkhardt batted .343 with a team-best 43 RBI and 25 extra-base hits. The first team All-Big Ten selection started all 56 games, 55 at first base and one at second base. She managed 13 doubles, two triples and 10 home runs, while driving in six game-winning RBI, and scoring 33 runs, including four game winners. The junior reached base in 41 of 56 games, including a 10-game hitting streak. She recorded 17 multi-hit games, including three perfect 3-for-3 days at the plate. The Big Ten Player of the Week honoree drove in multiple RBI in 10 contests, including six against Coastal Carolina, a tally which ranks third on the Purdue game record listing. She launched a Purdue game-record tying two home runs against Coastal. Burkhardt lifted four sacrifice flies, a tally which ranks 29th nationally and fifth on Purdue's season records list. The Academic All-Big Ten selection ranks among the top 10 in the Big Ten in sacrifice flies (2nd), doubles (6th), home runs (6th), RBI (8th), and hits (9th with 62).
Fecho led the Boilermaker pitching staff with a 21-16 record in 39 appearances. The second team All-Big Ten selection started 36 games and tossed 28 complete games, ranking fifth on the Purdue season list, with six shutouts. The sophomore struck out 196 batters in 223 innings, ranking third on the Purdue season list, while allowing just 65 walks. She ranks among the Top 50 nationally in wins (39th), strikeouts (48th) and shutouts (50th). The Carol Stream, Ill., native owned a 2.89 ERA and recorded five or more strikeouts in 24 games, including a season-best 10 twice. Fecho ranks among the Top 10 in the Big Ten in innings pitched (1st with 223), wins (3rd), strikeouts (3rd), looking strikeouts (4th with 42), ERA (10th) and opponent batting average (10th with .245). In conference play, the Academic All-Big Ten honoree ranked second in the league in wins (10) and innings pitched (99.0), fifth in strikeouts (69) and eighth in looking strikeouts (14).