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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

COLUMN: Building the 2024 MAC All-Star softball team

No. 25 Miami leads star-studded roster with five picks
Tim Dodge
Senior catcher/outfielder Ellis Erickson (23) rounds first base after hitting a single on March 30 against Kent State University. Erickson was named to the Northern Star Sports Staff’s MAC softball All-Star squad. (Northern Star File Photo)

As the 2024 regular season winds down and the postseason draws near, there’s no better time than the present to visit the world of make-believe – one where the MAC’s top talents join forces on a stacked 2024 MAC softball All-Star team featuring the top-three home run hitters in the country.


Ball State University redshirt junior utility McKayla Timmons kicks this year’s star-studded MAC roster off as the nation’s third-best home-run hitter with 21.

One of Timmons’ best showings of the season (so far) came in the Cardinals’ 13-9 triumph over Marshall University on March 7. She launched two home runs to drive in six runs while crossing home four times herself.


The first of five selections from the explosive Miami University squad, graduate student infielder Holly Blaska earns the first infield nod as a top-10 placement in just about every major MAC hitting category.

Blaska recorded one of her best outings of the season in Miami’s 16-0 decimation of Central Michigan University in the opening contest of an April 20 doubleheader. She went 3-for-4 at the plate, hitting a trio of home runs to bring home five baserunners and score three runs of her own.


Kent State University graduate student infielder Julia Mazanec graces herself on the list of MAC’s best as the lone non-RedHawk infielder.

In the conference, Mazanec ranks seventh in batting average (.381), tied for eighth in runs scored (34) and seventh in hits (51).


Any all-MAC list that doesn’t include Miami senior infielder Karli Spaid isn’t one to be taken seriously.

The holder of multiple school, conference and NCAA records, Spaid is one of the best college players to ever take the softball field. The Chicago native leads the country with 27 home runs in 43 games and is one dinger shy of tying the University of Oklahoma’s Lauren Chamberlain for the second-most home runs (95) in NCAA history.

In one of her many highlight performances this year, Spaid went a perfect 3-for-3 against the University of Akron in the first game of an April 13 doubleheader. She rocketed two homers to bat in three RedHawks runs and ran for three more scores.


Another infielder, another RedHawk. Miami sophomore infielder Reagan Bartholomew might not produce as much as her high-scoring teammates, but she’s a shortstop that comes with runs aplenty.

Bartholomew is currently batting .377 and has brought home 40 runs this season. Of her 39 hits through 37 games, Bartholomew has homered 12 of them, making her the seventh Miami player in the MAC’s top-10 leaderboard in home runs.


Miami fifth-year outfielder Kate Kobayashi keeps Miami’s selection streak going as the MAC frontrunner in on-base percentage (.543). 

Kobayashi is the conference runner-up in runs scored with 58, second only to Spaid’s 65.

Among Kobayashi’s best games this year was her near-flawless performance in Miami’s 10-6 Boneyard victory over the University of Pittsburgh on March 27. The center fielder hit 3-for-3 with two home runs to finish with four RBIs and three runs.


Like her teammates, Miami junior outfielder Jenna Golembiewski has terrorized opposing pitchers all season long.

Golembiewski sits atop the MAC with 68 RBIs, a 1.041 slugging percentage and a .439 batting average, leading the nation in the first two categories.

This season, Golembiewski has had seven outings with four or more RBIs, including a 6-RBI outing against the University at Buffalo on March 29.


NIU senior catcher/outfielder Ellis Erickson’s breakout season earns her the nod in this All-Star outfield.

This year, Erickson has recorded more hits (55), runs (26) and RBIs (20) than any season before in her career. She holds the highest batting average (.393) on the Huskies’ roster and has homered seven times this season.

Erickson’s best game of the season came in a losing effort to the University of Montana on March 8. The veteran center fielder hit 2-for-4, including a home run, with two RBIs and 2 runs.


As one of many no-brainers on this list, Western Michigan senior pitcher/infielder Rissa Bajusz has established herself as the MAC’s strikeout master.

The Aurora, Illinois, native leads the conference with 198 strikeouts and ranks fifth in the country in the same category. Bajusz also owns five of the MAC’s eight best strikeout performances this season, having pitched two 13-strikeout games and three 12-strikeout games.

Bajusz has an earned run average of 1.92 and an opposing batting average of .187, both MAC-best marks.


Kent State sophomore pitcher Macy Irelan enters the fold as the second strike of what would be a nasty 1-2 pitching punch alongside Bajusz.

As half of Kent State’s regular starting tandem, Irelan has recorded a 2.50 ERA and struck out 102 batters in 17 starts, both good for third in the MAC.

Irelan posted one of her more impressive days on the mound in Kent State’s 6-2 victory over Ball State on March 23. Irelan pitched a complete game for the Golden Flashes, allowing six hits, two runs and three walks while recording a staggering 12 strikeouts.

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