The Cyclones softball team showed up all season, and some players earned honors.

After consecutive years of success, the Cyclones hit a bump in the road. The talented players struggled to click on the field, and the coaches tried everything to get the team back on track. Even through the frustrations, Head Coach Ari Bulthuis, who finished her third season at the helm, was happy with how her team persevered.

“This season was a bunch of ‘I don’t knows.’ Toward the end, they started figuring it out a little more,” she said. “They’re all good kids. I told them I was proud of them for showing up to play because they could’ve quit.”

The 2022-23 Moraine Valley Community College softball team.

The 2022-23 Moraine Valley Community College softball team.

The Cyclones finished with an overall 12-29 record and 6-8 in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference. Even though they only reached the quarterfinals of the Region IV playoffs, several players stood out.

Sophomore Nicole Wagner (Marist) was out last year due to injury but quickly stepped into a leadership role in many ways this season. She was the starting catcher and a killer at the plate, earning the second highest batting average in the region – .500. She also tallied 25 RBIs, seven doubles and 16 stolen bases. She earned All-Conference and All-NJCAA Region IV first team honors, the latter of which qualified her for an All-American nomination.

Third-year player Alexandria Palumbo (Richards) was another leader on the team in the outfield and at the plate. She averaged a .355 with 26 RBIs, 14 doubles and one homerun. She was named to the All-Conference second team.

Sophomore Emily Manso (Evergreen Park) also was a leader on the team who earned All-Conference honorable mention for averaging .394 at the plate with 28 RBIs and 18 doubles.

Despite some rough outings, freshman pitcher Cassidy Ostema (Sandburg) was a workhorse, starting many games for the Cyclones. Due to injuries on the team, sophomore Emily Madrigal (Shepard) had to step into the pitching role again this year when needed, but she also had a strong year at the plate. Madrigal hit a .356 with 39 RBIs, 42 hits, 12 doubles, two triples and two homeruns.

This was a season that left the coaching staff speechless at times, but they’re looking ahead to more success next year.

“Sometimes this happens with a team despite everything you try and as much as you want the same success every year. It was a humbling experience, but we’ll get back there,” Bulthuis commented.

Most of the freshmen are expected to return, and the coaches have signed some new talent to give the Cyclones another boost. “I’m excited for the recruits coming in. I have hope for the future,” Bulthuis said. “We’ll focus on more team bonding at the beginning of the year. I’m looking ahead. Eyes forward.”

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For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley communications specialist and sports information coordinator, at (708) 974-5742 or