By Sue Moore
A catcher on the Calvin College softball team, freshman Grace Stock from Vicksburg was named the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III Player of the Week in April by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. This is the first time for a Calvin player to claim the honor.
“This is a tremendous honor for Grace and our program,” said Calvin head coach Becky Hilgert. “Grace was solid both offensively and defensively for our team last week. Our players who hit ahead of her did a good job of setting the table for her to attack at the plate. She also did a nice job behind the plate, keeping runners at bay and controlling the pace of the game with our pitching staff. What most impresses me about Grace is her high softball IQ which I believe is one of her biggest assets.”
Stock helped the Knights go 4-0 last week, with victories over Anderson and Adrian. The Vicksburg High graduate had a phenomenal week at the plate, with 10 hits at 11 at bats. Stock finished the week with a slugging percentage of 1.636 and led Calvin with 10 hits, three doubles, one triple, one home run, six runs and 10 RBI. Stock led the Knights in game one of the Anderson University series with two singles and a home run. In game two against the Ravens, Stock finished with four RBI.
The Calvin freshman hit her first triple of the season in game one of the Adrian series. Stock closed the week with two doubles and two RBI against Adrian in game two. Defensively, Stock threw out the one runner attempting to steal against her and collected 22 putouts and three assists. In the same week, she was also named the MIAA co-player of the week for her accomplishments.
Stock has helped the Calvin softball team bolt out to a 15-2 overall start. The Knights are currently ranked 20th in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III Top 25 poll, Calvin’s first appearance in the national poll since 1998. Overall on the season, Stock is batting .418 with 17 runs batted in, two home runs, one triple and three doubles.
“I love the leadership position of catching as I can see the whole field for every play,” Stock said. “Calvin, being a smaller school, was a better fit for me. I loved the team and living in Grand Rapids has certainly broadened my horizons a little bit. My GPA in high school was 4.1 and here it’s 3.1. It’s a challenge to keep everything in perspective.”
When she is home this summer, she will work at Classic Mortgage, not playing travel softball. “My classmates have been super fun and dedicated to improve. They have become best friends this freshman year.”