COLUMBUS, Ohio – Seniors Lilli Piper and Emily Clark concluded their time in Scarlet & Gray by earning All-America honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), the organization announced Wednesday. Piper received second team honors, her third recognition in as many years, while Clark secured a spot on the third team for the first All-American laurels of her career.
Piper and Clark are the 12th and 13th All-Americans, respectively, in program history. It is the first time since 2009 that a pair of Buckeyes have been named All-Americans in the same year. Piper joins Sam Marder ’10 as the only players to achieve All-American status three times during their Buckeye careers.
“We are so excited for Lilli and Emily to finish their careers as All-Americans together,” said head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly. “They have pushed each other and brought the best out of each other during their careers and it’s fitting for them to leave their mark together.”
The duo will continue their playing careers as members of the Cleveland Comets after being selected with the No. 15 and No. 16 picks in the 2019 National Pro Fastpitch College Draft.
“We’ve had such great success with our Ohio kids and will continue to search for talent at home,” said Schoenly. “Lilli and Emily did something you don’t see often. They competed at all four levels – high school, travel ball, college and now pros – all for the same state, the great state of Ohio!”
𝗟𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶 𝗣𝗶𝗽𝗲𝗿 ➡️ @NFCAorg Second Team All-American
• 2nd player in OSU history to be a 3x All-American
• 3x First Team All-B1G & All-Region
• Single-season HR record holder (20)
• .419 career BA ranks 2nd all-time at OSU#BornHere || #RaisedHere || #DevelopedHere pic.twitter.com/Oz958ze5Us
— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) May 30, 2019
Piper secured first team All-Midwest Region laurels for the third time in as many years, becoming the sixth player in Ohio State history to achieve the feat. The shortstop started in all 158 games in her career, has never batted lower than .404 in a season and is the only player in program history to bat over .400 every year. Her .419 career batting average ranks second all-time in Ohio State’s record book. Piper was also named the Big Ten’s Player of the Week five times, which tied for third-most in conference history and Marder for the most ever by a Buckeye.
Through 53 games, Piper led the Buckeyes batting .430 with 71 hits, 56 runs and 33 RBI. She tallied 22 extra-base hits, 10 of which were home runs. The Norton, Ohio native also slugged .691, had a .530 on-base percentage, walked 35 times and stole 18 bases. She recorded 139 assists, 101 putouts and a .952 fielding percentage while playing short. Piper finished the year with a team-high 19 multi-hit games and had nine outings with multiple RBI.
In 23 Big Ten games, Piper hit a blistering .574 to be the conference’s batting average champion. Her mark also ranks second all-time in the Big Ten batting average standings. Piper’s 33 runs scored and 39 hits in league play checked in at third and tied for fifth, respectively, among the conference records. She also led the Big Ten in slugging percentage (.941), on-base percentage (.681), assists (55), fielding double plays (9) and hits while finishing second in walks (23) and runs scored.
The three-time unanimous first team All-Big Ten member leaves Ohio State as the single-season home run record holder with 20 dingers, which she set as a junior, and ranks in the top 12 all-time in multiple categories with 48 home runs (3rd), 153 runs scored (6th), 144 RBI (t-6th), 40 stolen bases (10th) and 211 hits (12th).
𝗘𝗺𝗶𝗹𝘆 𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗸 ➡️ @NFCAorg Third Team All-American
— Ohio State Softball (@OhioStateSB) May 30, 2019
Clark cemented her name on the All-American list after having the best year of her career. She earned All-Midwest Region honors every year and made her second appearance on the first team this season. The Prospect, Ohio native recorded 54 RBI and scored 41 runs to join the elite company of Piper and Maddy McIntyre ‘16 as the only players in Ohio State history with at least 50 RBI and 40 runs in a season.
The second baseman and sometimes catcher played in every game during the 2019 campaign on her way to a .383 batting average, the highest of her four-year career. Her RBI and runs totals along with 14 doubles, 12 home runs and .716 slugging clip paced the Buckeyes. She also connected on 62 hits, drew 27 walks and stole eight bases. Clark accumulated 125 putouts, 84 assists and a .977 fielding rate covering second base. The three-time All-Big Ten honoree also earned a place on the first team after hitting .380 in league contests and stood third in the conference with 29 RBI and eight stolen bases.
This season, Clark earned 16 multi-hit outings and had 12 games with multiple RBI, including nine contests with at least three runs driven in. From Feb. 8-Mar. 22, she reached base successfully in 25 straight games, a career high. Clark did not get on base in just four games and ended her senior season on a 24-game streak.
The four-year starter may be hanging up her jersey but Clark’s accomplishments will remain in Ohio State’s record book as she stands proudly among the program’s leaders with her career totals – 169 RBI (3rd), 40 HR (5th), 42 doubles (5th), 82 walks (8th), 130 runs scored (12th) and 198 hits (15th).
With help from Piper and Clark, Ohio State finished the season at 35-18 overall and 17-6 in the Big Ten. The 17 conference victories are the most since 1994 and the highest total under Schoenly. The Buckeyes earned their fourth straight at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The 2019 senior class are the only Buckeyes to make the national tournament in all four years.
OHIO STATE SOFTBALL ALL-AMERICANS
Shauna Bowman | Third Team 1991
Krinon Clark | Third Team 1993 | Second Team 1994
Jen Fredrickson | Second Team 1994
Wendy Allen | Second Team 2002
Anna Smith | First Team 2002
Jennifer Link | Third Team 2002
Stacy Roth | Third Team 2002
Brittany Vanderink | Third Team 2008
Sam Marder | Third Team 2008 | Second Team 2009 | Third Team 2010
Kim Reeder | Third Team 2009
Cammi Prantl | Third Team 2016
Lilli Piper | Third Team 2017 | Second Team 2018 | Second Team 2019
Emily Clark | Third Team 2019