Two members of the Truman State University softball team were recognized among the best players in Div. II this past season. Sophomore outfielder Christa Reisinger was named a First Team All-American by the NFCA and D2CCA and senior catcher Lex Van Nostrand was named an honorable mention All-American by the D2CCA.
The Bulldogs qualified for their fourth straight postseason and recorded their sixth 40-win season in program history. Their lineup contributed to this success by setting numerous offensive team records including runs scored, hits, total bases, batting average, runs batted in and doubles. Both women had key spots in the Bulldog lineup, as Reisinger was the leadoff hitter and Van Nostrand was the cleanup hitter.
Reisinger not only led the team in hits and RBIs but also the entire nation. She placed in the nation’s top 5 in total bases, on base percentage and runs scored per game. She currently has the highest batting average in team history.
“It is rewarding to be recognized with other really talented players,” Reisinger said.
Reisinger said being selected as an All-American is one of the highest honors of her career, along with being selected as an All-State player twice when she played at Troy Buchanan High School.
After playing her inaugural college season, Reisinger said she became more comfortable with the college game during her second season. She said she was able to more frequently, put the ball in play, compiling a better season than last year — a season where she was named the GLVC freshman of the year and named a finalist for the NFCA national award.
Reisinger said she has never been eager to receive awards in her career because she focuses on one game at a time. Nevertheless, she said she feels honored to receive them and believes this mentality will further her growth as a player, possibly netting her an All-American selection or two in the future.
Reisinger said Van Nostrand’s cool-under-pressure cleanup approach gave her the utmost confidence she was going to score when she reached base. Van Nostrand said she is happy she now has All-American status.
Van Nostrand said she first noticed her strong season when she was marveling at the team’s statistics at one point in the season including Reisinger’s sky-high batting average. She said she discovered her average was more than .400, and finished the season with a .400 average — her highest at Truman.
Alongside her batting average, Van Nostrand set a program record for RBIs in a single season. She ranks in the top 25 nationally in RBIs, total bases, doubles, hits and home runs. She is tied for first in sacrifice flies, driving in seven Bulldogs in exchange for an out.
Van Nostrand said it’s the team’s goal to make the pitcher work and get them to throw as many pitches as possible. Even in the event she does not see a lot of pitches or reach base, she said she is content to drive a pitch in the outfield so the runner from third can score.
Van Nostrand said her senior year was the most fun she has had at Truman. She said Reisinger sparked early game leads and helped Van Nostrand’s pitchers.
Now that her playing career is over, Van Nostrand said she can take pride in the fact that she was part of four postseason teams. She said she was disappointed the team fell short again this year, but she is elated she played well enough to be recognized nationally.
Head Coach Erin Brown said she foresaw a possible All-American selection for Reisinger and Van Nostrand when she checked the statistics halfway through the season. At the time, she said Reisinger was in the top 10 in various categories and Van Nostrand was in the top 25 in various categories.
Brown said Reisinger’s remarkable propensity to reach base more than 50 percent of the time and Van Nostrand’s clutch instincts with runners on base were key parts of the team’s success this year. She said having those skillsets, showcased in the leadoff and cleanup roles, provides the team with the necessary punch it needs offensively.
Brown said she noticed growth in Reisinger this year, as she figured out how she can attain success and contribute to the team on a consistent basis. She said Reisinger is showing more patience at the plate this year and keeping her emotions in check allowing her to set the tone in the lineup and the clubhouse. She said Reisinger has a clear opportunity to be an All-American again if she continues to play to her potential.
Brown said Van Nostrand has been the glue that has held the team together the previous four years. She said Van Nostrand’s competitive nature and leadership was evident when she collaborated with pitchers and repeatedly came through with the hit, justifying her position in the upper half of the lineup.
Now that Van Nostrand has finished her playing career, Brown said she is sad her leadership is leaving with her.
“From when I played and the ten years that I have coached, I’d say she is one of the top two catchers that we’ve had,” Brown said.
Van Nostrand’s name is scattered in the program’s record books as she is third in runs, RBIs and total bases and tied for first in grand slams.
Brown said the team is excited to have Van Nostrand fill a graduate assistant role next year while she finishes her master’s degree in education.
Brown said it is not easy be an All-American, as she has had great players in the past not be selected, but having players at that caliber is valuable.
“Whenever you have kids like that on your team, everyone knows where the bar is and that pushes everyone else to have success,” Brown said.