The National Junior College Athletic Association has named Seward County Community College softball players, Rachel Balencia and Dana McLaren, the Division I Softball Player & Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for the week ending April 29. Seward County was led by the hitting of Balencia and the pitching of McLaren during their 2-2 week with doubleheader splits against Garden City Community College and No. 18 Butler Community College. The Seward County softball program has now had nine players selected as the National Player or Pitcher of the Week.

Balencia, a 5-foot-3-inch freshman third baseman from Artesia, N.M., led the Lady Saints at the plate batting .583 (7-for-12) with a double and two RBI. Balencia recorded a .688 on-base percentage while recording multi-hits in three of four games last week. She went 2-for-3 in each game against Garden City and finished the week going 3-for-6 with three runs scored and three walks against Butler.

Earlier this week, Balencia received recognition when the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference awards were announced, earning Honorable Mention All-Conference at third base. Balencia finished the regular season leading Seward County with a .455 (35-for-77) batting average against Jayhawk Conference opponents. Entering the post-season, Balencia is batting .426 with 54 runs scored, 11 doubles, three home runs, 42 RBI and a school record seven triples.

McLaren, a 5-foot-6-inch sophomore right handed pitcher from Frontenac, Kan., earns her second NJCAA National Pitcher of the Week honor this season after making four appearances last week, while posting a 2-1 record. McLaren battled conference foe Garden City in an eight-inning game, where she threw a complete game with two strikeouts to earn the win. McLaren also tossed two relief innings against Garden City in the nightcap.

In the Lady Saints final doubleheader of the season, McLaren threw a seven-inning complete game in Seward County’s 8-7 victory over Butler. In game-two, McLaren entered the game against Butler in the third inning of the Lady Saints 15-9 loss.

This season, McLaren has a 23-6 record with a 2.88 earned run average. She leads the team with 88 strikeouts, 185 innings pitched, 24 complete games and 34 appearances.