What started out as a promising 2011 season for the Kenyon College softball team was derailed by a rash of injuries. In spite of the difficulties, the Ladies persevered and still managed to post a double-digit win total for the eighth-straight season.
Opening the season at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic in Fort Myers, Florida, Kenyon ripped of six-straight wins and sat at 6-1 overall through seven games. However, losing clean-up hitter and No. 1 pitcher Brittany Vanegas in a 3-2 victory over Worcester Polytechnic Institute left the Ladies without a key piece of their lineup and rotation for 12 games. Further compounding the problem were injuries to starting shortstop Brianna LaChusa (.329 avg., 11 2B, 3 HR), who missed a total of nine games.
When Kenyon returned to full strength for the final 12 games, the season immediately got back on track. Although the Ladies went 4-8 down the stretch, they were much more competitive than their record suggests. Five of their losses in that span were by three runs or less.
At the conclusion of the season, North Coast Athletic Conference coaches reserved spots on the all-conference first team for Vanegas and Emily Prehoda. Although she missed several weeks of action, Vanegas still produced a .422 batting average to go along with a pair of home runs, 16 RBIs, a .578 slugging percentage and a .506 on-base percentage. Prehoda, a slugging sophomore, turned in a campaign for the record books. Her .439 average (3rd), .673 slugging percentage (T-2nd), and .495 on-base percentage (3rd) were all top three single-season tallies at Kenyon. Prehoda also belted four homers and plated 26 runs for the Ladies.
The first-team honor was a fitting conclusion to Vanegas' outstanding career. One of the finest players to ever don the Purple and White, Vanegas departed among the College's career offensive leaders in batting average (.395, 2nd), slugging percentage (.616, 1st), on-base percentage (.478, 1st), runs scored (98, 2nd), hits (147, 5th), doubles (33, 5th), home runs (13, 2nd), runs batted in (87, 2nd), total bases (229, 2nd), and walks (47, 4th). Her .984 fielding percentage is also the best all-time at Kenyon.