Lienhard named Softball NJCAA All-American

MASON CITY - North Iowa Area Community College’s Laken Lienhard made more history on June 6. Lienhard is a 2020 Crestwood High School graduate.
Lienhard became NIACC’s second NJCAA All-American in the sport of softball when she was selected to the NJCAA Division II second-team as a utility player. Lienhard is the first NJCAA softball All-American at NIACC since Heather Higgins earned honorable mention NJCAA Division I honors in 1992.
Lienhard was part of a huge turnaround for the NIACC softball program.
In her freshman year of 2021, the Trojans were 19-32 with Lienhard earning second-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association all-American honors (utility/pitcher).
In the 2022 season that Lienhard missed entirely with a broken hand, the Trojans were 3-35.
In the 2023 season, the Trojans were 36-11, placed second in the ICCAC with a record of 19-5 and earned the right to host the NJCAA Region XI-B tournament.
“It was a total shift in culture,” Lienhard said in a phone interview. “We worked hard and wanted to make a name for ourselves.
“In the fall, we had a team meeting and you could just see the look in everyone's eyes. We had the motto of ‘be the first’ and we took different steps to try and make that happen.”
Lienhard, who was the ICCAC Division II offensive player of the year, hit .480 with 27 doubles, 13 home runs and drove in 53 runs. As a pitcher, Lienhard was 19-5 with 126 strikeouts and 35 walks with a 2.73 earned run average.
She was selected as the ICCAC Division II pitcher of the week for the week of Feb. 20-26, the ICCAC pitcher-player of week for the week of April 3-9 and the ICCAC player of the week for the week of April 25-May 1.
She leaves NIACC was the school’s career leader in doubles (39), home runs (27), walks (57), runs scored (118) and strikeouts (282).
Lienhard broke the career doubles mark of 34 held by Tricia Notermann (2015-16). She broke the career home runs mark of 24 by Kaci Sherwood (2018-19, the career walks mark of 48 by Kaitlyn Carlson (2018-19), the career runs scored mark of 106 by Morgan Thesing-Ritter (2017-18) and the career strikeouts mark of 251 by Jennifer Spencer (1993-94). 
Lienhard ranks second at NIACC in career hits (133), fourth in career batting average (.459). fourth in career wins (27) and sixth in career RBIs (83). 
She was selected as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association NJCAA Division II's inaugural Joan Joyce Utility/Pitcher of the year for the 2023 season on June 2. The award goes to the NFCA NJCAA Division II first-team all-American utility/pitcher.
Lienhard was also an all-NFCA NJCAA Division II Midwest Region first-team selection (utility/pitcher).

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