Here’s a closer look at the 2015 Enquirer All-Area Softball Team, as selected by area coaches and the Enquirer sports staff:
Athens came on strong at the end of the season, and Fairchild was a big reason why.
The senior left fielder and Academic All-State honoree finished the year with a team-best .438 batting average as the Indians captured their first district championship in over a decade.
“Hannah is a focused and dedicated softball player,” said Athens coach Kathy Parlin. “She lead our team at the plate and as co-captain. She works hard at every practice and gives it her all.”
A talented multi-sport athlete, Fuller was a steady force for Athens both on the infield and at the plate.
In her senior season, the shortstop batted .427 while helping Athens claim the program’s first district title in over a decade.
“Ally is a great all-around athlete, she is very talented and determined,” said Athens coach Kathy Parlin. “Ally was a co-captain this year and did a great job leading the team.”
Blouin helped guide Bronson to a state runner-up finish in Division 3 by leading the team at the plate while providing a steady glove at shortstop.
The senior batted a team-best .556 with 15 doubles, eight triples, eight home runs and a team-high 68 RBIs. She also used her speed on the base paths to score 52 runs and swipe 16 bases. She earned first team All-State honors and is committed to play at Kellogg Community College.
“Kinslea has good range and does a great job at the shortstop position,” said Bronson coach Becky Gray. “She is also the top hitter on our team.”
Robinson used her ability to get on base on her speed to make things happen as Bronson’s table setter.
The junior center fielder helped the Vikings finish runner-up in Division 3 after hitting .486 with two doubles and 13 RBIs while scoring a team-high 63 runs to go with 23 stolen bases. Defensively, she posted a .964 fielding percentage. She was named first team All-State.
“Kelsey has great range in the outfield,” said Bronson coach Becky Gray. “She is our leadoff hitter and gets things going for us.”
Sobeski will go down as one of the greatest athletes in Bronson history for her softball talents, let alone her contributions to the school’s volleyball and basketball programs.
The senior pitcher led the Vikings to the Division 3 state final and earned her fourth All-State first team honor in as many years after hitting .457 with 20 doubles, five triples, 11 home runs and 65 RBIs. In the circle, she posted a 0.65 ERA with a staggering 209 strikeouts over 161 2/3 innings while going 24-3 with a pair of saves. She came through in the clutch during Bronson’s playoff run, throwing 12 strikeouts in the state semifinal while holding the state champions to just two runs.
“Skyler is one of the top pitchers in the area and is also a great hitter,” said Bronson coach Becky Gray.
Just a sophomore, Hennessy did it all for Climax-Scotts as the Panthers won 19 games and captured a division championship.
The catcher/shortstop capped off her second varsity season as the cleanup hitter for C-S, batting .568 with an impressive .966 slugging percentage. She led the team with 49 RBIs, 14 doubles and nine triples to go with one home run. She also had a big game in which she hit for the cycle.
“The first half of the season, Mckenzie’s defensive role was behind the plate where she threw out seven runners,” said Climax-Scotts coach Pam Macomber. “She then transitioned to splitting her time at shortstop and the transition was seamless. A true asset to have on the team.”
Macomber was a threat to reach base every time she stepped to the plate for Climax-Scotts this season.
The junior center fielder and three-year varsity member batted leadoff, and led the Panthers in runs scored (49), singles (51) and stolen bases (34). She finished second on the team with a .548 average, earning her honorable mention All-State status in Division 4.
“Hitting from the left side with her speed and being a triple threat, Sydney kept teams on their heels,” said Climax-Scotts coach Pam Macomber. “Syndey is a very smart player, and works hard in the offseason to be the best she can be.”
Macomber played a huge role in helping Climax-Scotts win 19 games as both a standout pitcher and hitter.
The junior hurler/third baseman had a big year at the plate, batting .529 in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. She led the team in walks (23) and used her speed to steal 20 bases. In the circle, she went 9-3 with a 2.82 ERA.
“Taylor was a great team leader for us and was always positive both on and off the field,” said Climax-Scotts coach Pam Macomber.
Gillette finished a well-rounded senior season by helping Coldwater to 29 wins as well as league and district titles.
The four-year varsity member and third baseman hit .430 with 10 doubles and 52 RBIs while scoring 45 runs and stealing 31 bases. Defensively, she posted a stellar .955 fielding percentage with 99 assists from the hot corner.
“Michaela’s hard work and dedication to softball and here ability to play the sport has made her one of the best third baseman’s in the area for the past three seasons,” said Coldwater coach Tina Scheidler.
Watson was the catalyst for a Coldwater team that won 29 games as well as the Interstate Eight Conference and Division 2 district trophies.
The junior catcher finished her third varsity season by hitting .628 with eight triples and a .835 slugging percentage. On the bases she scored 67 runs while swiping 39 bags. Defensively, she posted a .989 fielding percentage.
“Payton is a great asset to our team,” said Coldwater coach Tina Scheidler. “She is a great catcher and an offensive threat.”
Wellet had quite the debut in her first varsity season, playing a big role in Coldwater’s 29-win season.
The freshman center fielder finished the year with a .445 batting average on 49 hits while driving in 30 runs. On the base paths, she used her speed to score 40 runs and stole 29 bags. Defensively, she had 70 put outs while posting a .987 fielding percentage.
“Jamie is an outstanding center fielder,” said Coldwater coach Tina Scheidler. “She is very quick and has ability to run down fly balls. She was also one of our best hitters this season.”
Eastman brought some pop to the Gull Lake lineup and helped the team stay competitive in a perennially strong Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference.
The junior first baseman/catcher batted .379 with 10 doubles, one triple, one home run and a team-high 35 RBIs. She also crossed home plate 17 times.
“Cassidy was a great team leader who also led the team in RBI,” said Gull Lake coach Kate Smith. “She drove in many important runs and did a great job defensively at first base and behind the plate.”
Butler served as Homer’s ace in her sophomore season, helping the team win 21 games and a Big Eight Conference title.
An outstanding player defensively, she went 19-8 in the circle with a 2.89 ERA.
“Karleigh is someone who proves hard work will lead to success,” said Homer coach Jeremy Ball. “She is someone who puts in a ton of work outside of the season to help the team be better.”
Wilson could do everything and do it well in leading the Trojans to 21 victories and a Big Eight Conference title.
The junior center fielder earned Homer’s MVP honor by posting a .472 average with four home runs, six triples and 13 doubles on the year.
“Courtney is a great player who truly loves the game. She is a five-tool player who understands what it means to be a great teammate,” said Homer coach Jeremy Ball. “Courtney is someone who you can always count on in a pressure situation. She has the ability to make success happen out of her great determination and will.”
Just a sophomore, Saari was tasked with carrying a big load for Marshall in its first season in the newly-formed Interstate Eight Conference.
The outfielder came through with her bat, leading the team with a .304 average on 31 hits including five doubles. Defensively, she had 34 putouts and six assists in the outfield with a .910 fielding percentage.
“Elisa was asked to take the place a two players that we counted on greatly from last year,” said Marshall coach Anthony Miller. “She stepped right up after having played soccer a year ago and really helped solidify our outfield throughout the year. She was also someone that we could count on to put the bat on the ball frequently which was a nice plus as well.”
When Richmond stepped to the plate, odds were that it was a matter of time before she was standing on base.
The junior third baseman helped Olivet win half its games with an impressive .515 batting average to go with five doubles, eight triples and one home run.
“One of the toughest, most competitive players I’ve ever coached,” said Olivet coach Steve Meyer.
Harty was a major run producer in helping Union City win 19 games while facing stiff competition in the ultra competitive Big Eight Conference.
The senior third baseman led the team in RBIs (31), finished second in batting average (.432) and tied for second in stolen bases (17). She also blasted two home runs with eight doubles, one triple and scored 38 runs.
Herman was impressive in her sophomore campaign for Union City, leading the Chargers to a 19-win season.
The shortstop led the team in hitting with a .505 batting average. She also added 13 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 27 RBIs while scoring 42 runs. She had a great eye at the plate, drawing 23 walks while striking out only four times all season.
Aubrey Cole, Noelle Fuller, Kelcie Weeks (Athens); Lydia Swager, Allison Kienast, Tacey Piper (Climax-Scotts); Gracie Boyle, Kylie Tobias (Gull Lake); Bailey Manis, Tyme Warner (Homer); Kaylie Bates (Marshall); Michaela Johnson, Emily Morris (Maple Valley); Alexis Newbold (Tekonsha); Riley Smith, Marissa Mead, Brenna Johnson (Union City)
Nick Buckley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter: @NickJBuckley