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November 29, 2020

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Seven Polar Bears earn all-OAC softball awards

Seven players from the Ohio Northern softball team have been awarded All-Ohio Athletic Conference accolades for their performance during the 2019 campaign, the league office announced Monday.

Seniors Hailee Loughman (Brookville) and Kaitlin Surdej (Lancaster, N.Y./Central), junior Gabby Stewart (Union, Ky./St. Henry), and freshman Rachel Hish (Gainesville, Va./Patriot) each received All-OAC First-Team honors to lead the selections.

Meanwhile, junior Brady Guest (Convoy/Crestview) and freshman Abby Elliott (Loveland/Ursuline) garnered All-OAC Second-Team accolades. Junior Alicia Swierz (Deerfield/Southeast) was tabbed All-OAC Honorable Mention, rounding out the ONU honorees.

Loughman received her third consecutive All-OAC honor after earning Second-Team kudos in 2018 and Honorable Mention accolades in 2017.

This season, the senior led the Polar Bears and ranked fifth in the conference with a .433 batting average. In addition, she led ONU with 55 hits, 14 doubles, a .493 on-base percentage, and a .630 slugging percentage while ranking second in RBI with 34.

Loughman is currently tied for seventh in program history with 14 career home runs and ranks eighth all-time with 35 career doubles. She also stands 15th on the all-time hits list with 143 base knocks.

The Brookville native was named to the OAC All-Tournament Team and earned OAC Hitter of the Week honors this season. She has additionally been tabbed Academic All-OAC twice during her career.

Surdej garnered her second straight all-conference award after being named Honorable Mention last season.

The Lancaster, New York product posted a 15-10 overall record in the circle during the 2019 campaign. She led the Polar Bears with a 2.99 ERA, 97 strikeouts, 22 complete games, and four saves in a team-high 175.1 innings pitched.

Surdej also topped the league in saves and ended third in strikeouts and overall wins this year.

The senior leaves the program second in career strikeouts (342) and third in career wins (47) and innings pitched (533.2) at Ohio Northern.

In addition, Surdej was awarded OAC All-Tournament Team kudos this season.

Stewart captured All-OAC honors for the second time in her career with the announcement.

In 2019, she led ONU and stood fifth in the OAC with 36 RBI and ranked second on the team in hits (53), runs (28), doubles (10), home runs (4), and slugging percentage (.556). The junior also ended third in batting average with a .393 clip.

She currently owns 145 career hits, which ties for 13th-most in program history. Stewart is also tied for eighth all-time with 103 RBI, tied for ninth with 33 career doubles, tied for tenth with 11 home runs, and ranks 15th with a .372 batting average.

She has additionally been named to the 2018 OAC All-Tournament Team and Academic All-OAC squad in her three-year career.

Hish secured her first career all-conference accolade following her inaugural college campaign.

The first-year outfielder finished second on the team with a .403 batting average, primarily from the leadoff spot. She also led the team with 29 runs and ended third in hits (48) and on-base percentage (.450).

Hish adds the All-OAC honor to her first OAC All-Tournament Team accolade earned this past weekend.

Guest returns to the All-OAC honors list after being named First-Team All-OAC in 2018.

This year, Guest led the team and tied for third in the league with six home runs. She also ranked third on the team with 28 RBI and 25 runs scored, fourth with 47 base hits, and fifth in batting average with a .359 mark.

The Convoy native currently sits tied for tenth on the program's all-time home run list with 11 career big flys. She is also a member of the school's .300 Club and sits six hits away from joining Ohio Northern's 100-Hit Club.

Elliott became a first-time honoree with the announcement.

In her first season, Elliott appeared in all 42 games for the Polar Bears. She compiled 39 hits on a .317 batting average and contributed 18 RBI, 18 runs scored, and six doubles during the campaign.

Swierz was also honored for the first time in her three-year career at Ohio Northern.

The junior from Deerfield played in all 42 games this season, primarily in center field. She posted a career-high .328 batting average with 40 hits, 21 runs, 15 RBI, and a home run.

Swierz currently owns a .292 career batting average, 80 hits, 38 RBI, 51 runs, and two home runs. She was also named to the NCAA Division III Notre Dame All-Regional Tournament Team and Academic All-OAC team in 2018.

The Polar Bears concluded the season with a 23-19 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the OAC, which finished second in the final regular season standings. ONU then made its 24th appearance in the OAC Tournament, ending the season against Otterbein in the championship series.