2007 Pilot-Tribune All-Area Softball Team
For the second straight year, there are not one but two Pilot-Tribune Softball Players of the Year.
Bryn Johnson's statistics were phenomenal. Morgan Darrow offered a complete-player package rarely seen at her level.
That is why the two senior pitchers from Laurens-Marathon and Storm Lake, respectively, have been tabbed the Pilot's co-players of the year.
Meanwhile, Tornadoes ninth-year coach Jason Stoltzfus molded a good Storm Lake club into a great one, taking the Tornadoes - minus key graduates Ty Zimmerman and Trish Halder - to the school's first state tournament since 1998 and a seventh-place 3A finish. He led them to a second-place finish in the Lakes (14-2), a 37-9 overall record and a 15-game winning streak at one point this season. After knocking on the state tournament door so many times, this was the year they finally tore it down. For that reason, Stoltzfus has been named the Pilot's coach of the year.
Last year the co-players of the year were Storm Lake's Zimmerman and Newell-Fonda's Hanna Reis, while Newell-Fonda's Dick Jungers was named coach of the year.
Like the Pilot's all-area baseball team, this year's all-area softball team has everything a coach would want, and is loaded with solid pitchers and performers that earned the all-conference awards showered on them.
Storm Lake had the best team in the area and was rewarded accordingly, landing five players on the first team.
Following is the 2007 Pilot-Tribune All-Area Softball Team.
* Morgan Darrow (Storm Lake): Darrow (30-7, 0.99 ERA, 220 strikeouts), a shortstop last year, made a seamless transition in her first season as a full-time pitcher, and she was at her best on the biggest stage. A strong case could be made that she was the best all-around Class 3A performer at the state tournament in Fort Dodge. There, she had the highest batting average of anyone batting more than one time (.556); she gave up one earned run for a 0.45 ERA, tying her for the lowest average with Saydel's Christina Bradley; she was the only starting pitcher to not give up an extra base hit; she had five base hits, second only to ADM's Carli Appelgate; she had seven total bases, second only to Cedar Rapids Xavier's Abbey Miller's nine; and she had 3A's only triple. On the season, the BVU-bound Darrow, an underrated base runner, hit .390 with 55 hits, 32 runs, 21 RBIs, 10 doubles, 19 walks and nine stolen bases.
* Bryn Johnson (Laurens-Marathon): About the only thing Johnson didn't do was run bases, but she did knock a team-best 32 runs in. The Simpson-bound Charger hit .417 with 45 hits, five home runs and 12 doubles - and those were just her offensive numbers. Johnson really stood out in the circle, where she recorded 100 pitching wins in her five-year career with L-M. This year Johnson went 28-4 with a 0.65 ERA, the best in the area, but most impressively, she booked an otherworldly 269/7 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
* Lauren Devereaux (Newell-Fonda): The sophomore Mustang helped N-F to an 11-1 Northwest Conference mark, good for a league title over Sioux Central despite having a young team that lost several key players from 2006. She recorded 15 strikeouts in a game with Emmetsburg this season. On the year, Devereaux was 24-5 with 252 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.18. Offensively, she hit .298 and had 25 RBIs.
* Brooke Scharn (Sioux Central): Ranking as one of the area's best freshmen along with Slone Masters and Susan Kies, Scharn went 27-9 with 249 strikeouts and a 0.93 ERA while piloting SC to silver in the NWC. She wasn't bad offensively either, hitting .296 to go with 35 runs, a team-high 29 RBIs, eight doubles, five triples and 25 stolen bases.
* Slone Masters (Storm Lake): Perhaps the grittiest player in the area, the Tornado freshman engineered a game plan for Darrow that kept batters off balance all year long. Masters led the Lakes in batting average, hit .428 on the year, drove home 23 runs, and led SL in hits (71) and runs (41). She sported a .985 fielding percentage and had base runners thinking twice before attempting to steal on her.
* Beth Ehlers (Sioux Central): All Ehlers did in her senior campaign was hit .397, belt 52 hits, score 45 runs, crank 11 doubles and park five homers - all team highs.
* Jess Lussman (St. Mary's): The senior Panther hit .368, slugged .776, had 28 hits, drove in 31 runs, scored 22 runs, hit seven home runs, laced six doubles and threw out 20 of 26 base stealers.
* Amanda Proczak (Storm Lake): 'Pro' hit .400 while playing a solid first base for the green and white. The junior cleanup led the team in RBIs with 48, doubles with 11 and homers with three.
* Abby Richardson (St. Mary's): The senior shortstop hit .420, had a .652 slugging percentage and had 29 hits. She also had 14 RBIs, 25 runs, two homers, three triples, and was 15-for-15 on stolen base attempts while booking a .937 fielding percentage.
* Briana Scharn (Sioux Central): The senior shortstop led the Rebels in stolen bases (39) while scoring 35 runs, driving in 28, hitting eight doubles and five triples, and batting .366.
* Amber Woodford (Storm Lake): The Tornadoes junior rally-starting second baseman not only played sound defense (.931 fielding percentage), she also hit .314 with 30 runs, 22 RBIs, seven doubles and a team-best 12 stolen bases.
* Kelsey Meyer (Laurens-Marathon): The senior Charger third baseman had the area's best batting average at .443 and scored 36 runs, both team bests.
* Susan Kies (Newell-Fonda): The freshman led the Mustangs in hits (48), runs (41), batting average (.381), doubles (13) and stolen bases (19).
* Michaela Brungardt (Storm Lake): The Tornado junior hit .401 and had 30 runs, 30 RBIs, nine doubles and eight triples while patrolling center field with exceptional speed and agility.
* Haley Payne (Alta): Payne anchored the Cyclones' outfield in center while leading Alta in batting average (.421), runs (40) and hits (38). And here's the scary part: She was just an eighth grader.
* Kelsie Peterson (Alta): The Cyclones' sophomore catcher hit .330 with 30 runs, 16 RBIs, six doubles and four triples.
* Val Anderson (Newell-Fonda): The Mustangs' senior backstop hit .366 with 41 runs and a team-best 28 RBIs.
* Jessy Bibler (Alta): The Cyclone sophomore went 17-10 with a 2.29 ERA and 200 strikeouts. At the plate, she hit .356 and had 26 RBIs.
* Brynn Larson (Laurens-Marathon): Larson hit .291, drove in 15 runs, had 12 doubles and drew a team-high 21 walks while sporting a near perfect fielding percentage (.984).
* Ellie Feilmeier (Schaller-Crestland): The Wildcat senior led her team with a .379 batting average.
* Kelly Johnson (Newell-Fonda): The junior shortstop hit .330 and drove in 23 runs for the Mustangs.
* Ellen Gruntorad (Newell-Fonda): The sophomore Mustang hit .365 with 21 runs, 20 RBIs, eight doubles and 23 walks while solidifying third base.
* Becky Willer (Schaller-Crestland): The senior Wildcat second baseman hit .341 while stealing 11 bases and scoring 21 runs, both Wildcat bests.
* Steph Thompson (Sioux Central): Thompson, a junior first baseman, hit .342 with 25 RBIs.
* Becky Lenhart (St. Mary's): The senior Panther third baseman hit .349 with 30 hits, 23 runs and eight doubles.
* Robyn Bredvick (St. Mary's): The junior Panther second baseman hit .321 with 27 hits and 12 RBIs.
* Tricia Hogrefe (Sioux Central): The senior Rebel stole 31 bases, hit .316 and had a .944 fielding percentage. She also scored 32 runs and led the Rebels in walks with 13.
* Brianna Ehlers (Sioux Central): The sophomore Rebel hit .252 with 16 runs, 22 RBIs and five doubles.
* Geneva Heschke (Alta): The freshman Cyclone hit .290 with a co-team-best two home runs.
* Lindsay Guenther (Storm Lake): The Tornado senior left fielder hit .248 with 29 RBIs and 15 runs on a rehabilitated right knee.
* Laci Hall (Laurens-Marathon): Hall, a senior, hit .286 while playing solid defense at shortstop. She also hit four home runs and scored 20 runs.
* Kristine Munden (Aurelia): The senior Bulldog first baseman hit .283 with eight RBIs and a .973 fielding percentage.