Meet the Battle Creek Enquirer All-City Softball Team, as voted on by the city coaches and the Enquirer sports staff:
Battle Creek Central
A four-year varsity player for the Bearcats, Cubberly was one of the standouts on a Battle Creek Central team that struggled in a tough Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division.
Cubberly hit .321 on the season and was honored as the best competitor on the team for the Bearcats.
“Caitlyn was one of the most dedicated players on the team this year on and off the field. She had a positive attitude and outlook throughout the whole season. She had many leadership qualities that helped guide our young team through this season,” Battle Creek Central coach Holly Hickmann said.
A three-year varsity player, Burritt was a tri-captain for an 18-14 Harper Creek team that won a district title. Burritt is a returning member of the All-City team as well as being a three-time all-conference player and earning all-district honors this season.
The Beaver shortstop hit .561 on the year with a .617 on-base percentage from her leadoff spot, adding some speed to the lineup with 27 stolen bases.
“Haley had to move from outfield, which she played the last two years, to shortstop. Solid defensive player for us, having to move her into a new position. Believing in her ability to play shortstop, she did a very good job this year for us in her final season,” said Harper Creek coach Bill Burritt.
Graham had a breakout season in her first year on varsity as a junior, taking over catching duties during the season and becoming a stabilizing force behind the plate. Graham helped Harper Creek to an 18-14 season and a district title, showing a strong arm to slow down would-be base stealers.
Graham threw out 12 base stealers and shined on defense for Harper Creek. The junior also hit .296 on the season with a .423 slugging percentage and was named Most Improved Player by her team.
“Kailie has a very quick release that kept the runners off balance on the base paths. Kailie had a good arm that surprised many coaches,” Burritt said.
A three-year varsity player and team captain, Paige Shellenberger had a big senior season at a new position, coming in to play second base after being an outfielder. Shellenberger helped the Beavers to an 18-14 record and a district title, while earning all-conference, all-district and all-region for a third year in a row, while also making her third-straight All-City team.
Shellenberger hit .440 on the season with a .487 on-base percentage and a .642 slugging percentage with 31 RBIs.
“Paige was one of our purest hitters and has one of the strongest arms on our team. When she believed in her ability to play second she could really play a good second base. I could always count on her getting the big hit,” Burritt said.
Only a sophomore, Taylor Shellenberger is making a return trip to the All-City team as she was the top pitcher on an 18-14 Harper Creek team that won a district title. Shellenberger also was named all-conference for a second straight season as well as being all-district and all-region, getting voted by her team as offensive MVP.
Shellenberger had a .505 batting average with a .549 on-base percentage and a .761 slugging percentage with 37 RBIs. On the mound, she was 13-8 with a 4.39 ERA with 125 strikeouts.
“She has the strongest arm on the team and the quickest bat on the team. When Taylor hit the ball, watch out and get out of the way. She’s been our bread and butter pitcher the last two years and a player that we have had to rely on,” Burritt said.
A good defensive player, Tilley had a big junior season in her first year on the varsity. The Beaver third baseman solidified the infield and helped Harper Creek to an 18-14 record and a district title.
Tilley hit .310 on the season and had a .412 on-base percentage with a .448 slugging percentage to go along with 12 RBIs and was voted most improved by her teammates.
“Sam kept a positive attitude all season and worked hard and became our everyday third basemen. Sam has an extremely good glove and strong arm,” Burritt said.
Weller had a big senior season as the team captain helped the Beavers win a district title and finish the year at 18-14. While playing both infield and outfield, the three-year varsity player earned all-district and all-region honors.
Weller hit .355 on the year with a .584 slugging percentage and 25 RBIs, batting in the clean-up position.
“Sadie is one of those players that doesn’t say much, practices hard and executes as the coach wants. She is a super player along with bringing a positive attitude each and every day,” Burritt said.
A four-year varsity player, Gailhouse was a team captain and was named all-conference and all-district from her first baseman position. With a big year at the plate, Gailhouse helped Lakeview to a 14-19 season and was named co-MVP and best offensive player by her teammates.
Gailhouse hit .446 on the season with 27 RBIs and 25 runs scored.
“Taylor was a tough ball player. She started as a catcher for three years then moved to first base for us. Taylor hit the ball great this year. She was great to coach and a treat to be around,” Lakeview coach Brian Ratliff said.
Johnson was a key player at the top of the lineup for Lakeview as the third-year varsity player had a breakout season as a junior, earning honorable mention honors on the all-conference team. The outfielder was voted Most Improved by her teammates and her batting average continued to climb all season.
Johnson hit .384 on the year with 35 RBIs, 14 runs scored and 15 stolen bases.
“Meredith raised her batting avg. 150 points and became our everyday left fielder. She became the lead-off hitter halfway through the season and did a great job on the base paths as well,” Ratliff said.
A first-year varsity player, the sophomore became a key member of the Lakeview infield and helped the Spartans to a 14-19 season with her solid play at second base. Kucharczyk was voted Rookie of the Year by her team as she showed good all-around play on defense and at the plate.
Kucharczyk hit .325 on the season with 26 RBIs and 21 runs scored and on defense she had 50 putouts and 34 assists.
“She had great range and covered her area well. She was a very solid player with good foot speed and a strong bat, two very good things to have,” Ratliff said.
A four-year varsity player, Reimer was a team captain and is a returning member to the All-City team as well as being named all-conference and all-district. The shortstop was a key defensive player for the Spartans as she helped the team to a 14-19 season, getting voted Golden Glove and co-MVP by her teammates.
Reimer hit .457 on the year with a .577 on-base percentage with 32 RBIs and 27 runs scored.
“Katie was an outstanding defensive player. She could play any position and be the best at it. Katie had great baserunning skills and she was also a solid hitter,” Ratliff said.
A three-year varsity player, Bennett put it all together her senior season as an important leader on the 12-23 Pennfield team on and off the field as her coached called her one of the most improved players on the squad.
Bennett hit .316 at the plate and a .389 slugging percentage and was an important defender in the outfield for Pennfield, earning honorable mention all-conference honors in the KVA.
“A good athlete that really came into her own this year as an outfielder and added a great deal at the plate. We will miss her senior leadership,” Pennfield coach Pam Metcalf said.
A four-year varsity player, Miller was the cornerstone of the Pennfield infield and a key member of the batting lineup as she led the team in most offensive categories while being named team MVP.
Miller hit .626 with a .650 on-base percentage with 29 stolen bases as she earned all-league first-team honors in the KVA for the second straight year and she makes a return trip to the All-City team.
“Shelby was a super player for four years and has helped in all areas and positions over the years. We will greatly miss her at our lead-off position,” Metcalf said.
On her first year on varsity, the sophomore made an impact from her catcher position as she controlled the diamond from behind the plate and was a key bat in the lineup, hitting in the No. 2 position.
Roan batted .443 on the season with a .679 slugging percentage and added 18 stolen bases at the plate. From behind the plate, she also threw out 12 would-be base stealers and earned all-conference honors in the KVA for the 12-23 Panthers.
“Fantastic play at the varsity level for her first year and should have many great games and years ahead of her. We are very fortunate to have a solid young catcher with her stick,” Metcalf said.
A key player for the future for Pennfield as the sophomore became the No. 1 pitcher for the Panthers in her first year on varsity and showed improvement as the year went on.
Stephenson was 8-12 on the mound for the Panthers, while striking out 93 on the year. Also a standout at first base and at the plate, Stephenson hit .323 and had a .434 slugging percentage in the middle of the batting order.
“Rising young player and good first baseman. We look forward to her bat continuing to improve along with her pitching. We are fortunate to have a young talent like hers,” Metcalf said.
A young St. Philip team is looking to grow its program and the key is to get young players to grow with it. The Tigers have a player that fits that role as sophomore Abby Mullis was a steadying force on a team that was learning on the go.
Mullis was the top pitcher for St. Philip and also one of the Tigers’ key hitters as the program is trying to bounce back after being shelved a couple years ago.
“Abby was a hard worker. As a sophomore she was our team leader. She was our No. 1 pitcher and also one of our better hitters,” said first-year coach Peggy Boucher.
Miranda Frye (Lakeview), Briana Ashley (Lakeview), Brooke Lenz (Pennfield), Seph Chmiel (St. Philip), Abby McClure (St. Philip), Anna Pascoe (Harper Creek)