No fewer than 10 players on this year’s Morris Daily Herald All-Area softball team returned for a second stint this spring.
The team is led for the second straight year by MVP Nicole Pihl. Others who were named to the team last year are Morgan Akre of Morris, Sarah Novak of Minooka, Tori Hanford of Morris, Lindsey Fenner of Minooka, Katie Gretz of GSW, Abby Horrie of GSW, Jackie Lilek of Minooka, Molly Manietta of Coal City and Madison Giordano of Coal City.
That’s a lot of combined experience to take the field for the MDH crew this year. So, without any further ado, here is the 2012 MDH All-Area softball team.
One of the most complete softball players in the area, she batted a robust .453 with a .735 slugging percentage. Inside the circle she won 14 games and had a 1.65 ERA while striking out 227 in 127 innings.
Novak scored 30 runs and knocked in 30 at the plate.
“Sara has a competitive drive that is matched by few. She set school records in wins and strikeouts,” Minooka coach Mark Brown said. “She did it all in 2012 — pitched, played infield/outfield and was an offensive force all season.”
The lanky lefty pitched 176 1/3 innings for the Coalers this spring, giving up 78 earned runs while striking out 110 and logging a 14-12 record.
“She did great for us on the mound,” Coal City coach Stephanie Harmon said. “She was a great leader on and off the field.”
Another solid pitcher/infielder to add to the team, she won 11 games and had a 1.63 ERA in 90 innings. She struck out 83. At the plate, she batted .283 at the plate with six doubles, a triple and a homer while scoring 15 times and driving in 12.
“Jackie was dominant again in the circle this year for us. She was a team captain and played the role to perfection,” Brown said. “She’s a great motivator and great talent and there is still room to grow.”
Horrie batted .365 and won two games in the circle for the Panthers.
“She led the team in triples, stolen bases and ERA. She ended up the season very strong on the mound, gaining a lot of pitching time throughout the season,” Gardner-South Wilmington coach Michelle Lardi said. “Abby’s a very natural athlete that makes everything look easy. She has a very strong bat and arm. She is a very coachable athlete and strong leader.”
Hougas batted .322 by getting 37 hits in 115 at-bats, had 18 doubles and three triples while scoring 43 runs and knocking in 27. She also had 17 stolen bases.
“Miranda is truly like having an assistant coach on the softball field. She is a head strong player who knows and appreciates the game,” Seneca coach Dan Stecken said. “She will be greatly missed in our program.”
She hit .380 (38 of 100) while scoring 21 runs and had 12 stolen bases.
Bonic hit .362 at the plate by going 38 for 105 and had five home runs to go with 28 RBI.
“Not only did Gabby do great for us offensively, but she was solid defensively,” Harmon said. “She filled the four hole in our lineup very well and always found a way to get the job done.”
Senior first baseman
Manietta batted .429 on the year by collecting 42 hits in 98 at-bats. She had 12 doubles and three homers to go with 33 runs scored and 31 runs batted in.
“Overall she was our leader and she played a tremendous first base,” Harmon said. “She batted third in the lineup and did a great job.”
Junior second baseman
McCormick batted .396 by getting 40 hits in 101 at-bats. She stole 22 bases and scored 25 runs while knocking in 18.
“She really has improved her bat a a quality line drive hitter and small ball threat for us,” Stecken said. “She is one of the most entertaining kids to coach with unique personality and a great competitive drive.”
Freshman second baseman
Pavlis batted .330 on the season by getting 32 hits in 97 at-bats. She scored 18 runs and batted in 14.
“Carly played a great second base for us,” Harmon said. “She also did great offensively by finding a way to get on base.”
Fenner hit .306 by getting 38 hits in 124 at-bats. She had 12 doubles, a triple and four home runs. She scored a team-high 36 runs and knocked in 24.
“Lindsey was a three-year varsity starter and has contributed so much to Minooka’s softball success,” Brown said. “Her experience and talent had helped make us a team that was highly competitive.”
Bunton atted .356 on the season by getting 42 hits in 118 at-bats. She stole nine bases while scoring 36 runs and knocking in 17.
“Bunton was definitely our spark,” Harmon said. “Offensively she found a way to get on and score,”
Senior third baseman
Coughlin hit .389 by getting 42 hits in 108 at-bats. She had 10 doubles, a triple and a home run while knocking in 28 runs.
“Allison was challenged in the offseason to improve immensely if she planned on competing for a spot as our third baseman,” Stecken said. “Most kids would have backed down ... but Allison did just the opposite and worked to improve.”
Senior third baseman
Gretz batted .379 at the plate and won seven games as a pitcher.
“She led the team in batting average, home runs and runs scored. Katie’s a very versatile players — she could play anywhere on the field and do well,” Lardi said. “She is also a very strong hitter that had many extra-base hits this season.”
Torkelson showed a dependable bat by hitting .387 (36 of 93) with seven doubles, four triples and five home runs. She scored 18 times and drove in a team-high 29.
Giordano batted .317 at the plate in 101 at-bats. She had three homers and 17 RBI to go with 35 runs scored.
“Giordano was my leader in the outfield, where she had a 1.000 fielding percentage,” Harmon said. “She also was a great heads-up player defensively and offensively.”
Radtke hit .360 by getting 41 hits in 114 at-bats. She had 11 doubles, two triples and seven home runs. She scored 32 run, knocked in 31 and stole 11 bases.
“Sarah really blossomed into a quality power hitter for us this season,” Stecken said. “She has greatly improved her abilities thanks to hard work and a drive to be great.”
She led the Indians in batting by hitting at a .476 clip over 84 at-bats, and had six doubles and two triples while scoring 24 times and driving in 18.
“Kelly burst onto the varsity scene this year and led our team in batting average,” Brown said. “Kelly’s hustle and heart are contagious.”
Shanks had 32 hits in 100 at-bats for a .320 average but as the leadoff hitter was on base at a .480 clip. She had 19 stolen bases and scored 30 runs.
“Without her aggressive base running, we would not have scored early in the postseason against Herscher, Wilmington and PBL,” Stecken said. “She will greatly be missed patrolling center field for us where she has been home the last three seasons.”
Akre led the Redskins at the plate with a .431 batting average while belting 13 doubles, a triple and three home runs. She also scored 27 runs and drove in 22.
Baker had 35 hits in 121 at-bat for a .289 average but was a solid run producer, collecting 29 RBI. She had 12 doubles, a triple and two home runs.
“Coley was a consistent middle of the order hitter for us for four seasons,” Stecken said. “She was a hard-working member of three sports at Seneca and will be greatly missed.”
Melone was second on the Indians with 28 RBI this spring while hitting .348 (39 for 112). She had six doubles and two triples.
“Mikayla was huge for us all season, both in the field and with her bat,” Brown said. “She was an RBI machine, producing some big hits when we needed them. Mikayla has a drive to get better with each game.”
Feeney batted .357 by going 25 for 70 at the plate for the Redskins. She also walked 11 times to push her OBP to .451 — second only to Akre (.473) on the Morris team.