posted May 22, 2013

Laura Tjepkema Honored as a Softball Academic All-American a Second Time

For the second time in her career,  Hope College senior Laura Tjepkema of Dorr (South Christian HS) has been named a Capital One Softball Academic All-American.

An education major with a special education emphasis she is a first team honoree after having been named to the third team as a junior.

Tjepkema maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average over her collegiate career. She was a two-time all-conference (MIAA) first team honoree.

"Laura was a dedicated student who successfully combined high expectations of herself in the classroom and on the softball field." said coach Mary Vande Hoef.  "She will definitely be a great special education teacher."

Tjepkema becomes the second Hope softball player to receive Academic All-America honors twice. The other two-time honoree was Dee Ann Knoll in 1987 and 1988. She is the seventh Hope softball player and the college's 41st Academic All-American across all sports in a program sponsored by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

The rightfielder was outstanding in the field and at the plate. Starting in all 36 of the team's games, she was errorless and was credited with nine putout assists. She batted a team-leading .380 and was the leader in RBIs, extra base hits and total bases. A two-time all-conference (MIAA) honoree, she was also named to this year's Great Lakes All-Region second team by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).

Tjepkema went into the Hope record book ranked in the top ten in several categories. She batted .358 over her career and finished third alltime in RBIs (109), fifth in total hits (162), and sixth in runs scored (87). She had the second best stolen base success rate (.951) over her four years.She concluded her career starting in 145 consecutive games dating back to her freshman year.

To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a starter or key reserve, maintain a minimum 3.3 grand point average on a scale of 4.0, have reached sophmore athletic and academic standing and be nominated by his/her sports information director. The program has been coordinated by CoSIDA since 1952. The current sponsor is Capital One Financial Corporation with support from the NCAA.

Other Hope softball Academic All-Americans have included Anne Hendrickson (1985), Johanna Pscodna (1992), Laurie Byington (1996), Kim Grotenhuis (2000) and Kylee Brouwer (2008).