All TL Softball: Powell, Weaver named captains
Another high school softball season is in the scorebooks. For a few teams, and individuals, it was a banner year.
Bridgeport won its first-ever Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championship when it captured the Class 2A title tilt over Toronto.
Barnesville recorded 20 victories while winning a Division III sectional championship. The Shamrocks also advanced to the OVAC Class 3A semifinals.
St. Clairsville and Bellaire also claimed sectional titles in advancing to the Division II and III district tournament championship games, respectively.
The squad includes 21 players and two co-Coaches of the Year.
A capsule on each honoree follows:
SARAH POWELL, Barnesville. This 4-year starter for the Shamrocks and head coach Leslie Skinner earned Division III second-team all-state honors. She serves as a co-captain.
“Sarah has been our every day shortstop for four years. She finished her senior season with many accolades,” Skinner said. “She led our team all season in hitting a very respectful .448 average and a OBP of .460. She also led us in RBIs with 30, while slugging six home runs, two of which were grand slams. She also led the team with 15 walks and 39 runs scored. Defensively, she was our cog with 121 chances and just 10 errors while turning seven double plays. “
KAITLYN WEAVER, Shadyside. A 4-year standout for head coach Jillian Ongley and the Tigers, this speed demon was a froce since the first game of her freshman season when the Orange-and-Black went on to claim the Division IV state championship.
“Kaitlyn has been a huge asset to our team the last four years,” Ongley said. “She’s the type of player that can do it all. We will definitely miss her speed and athleticism next year. She will be hard to replace both offensively and defensively.”
Weaver had 31 hits and batted .449 despite playing the entire season with back problems. She knocked in 12 runs as the leadoff hitter and had a .506 on-base percentage. She walked nine times and struck out just once.
ABBY STARR, Barnesville. A three-year starter at third base for the Shamrocks. She also earned first-team all-eastern District and first-team all-OVAC.
“For three years Abby has been a blessing for us at third base. It’s not secret it’s the hot corner and she has been a offense killer,” Skinner noted. “This season, however, we have been extremely excited how quickly she helped us offensively. We were able to move her up in the lineup and she belted out a career-high 26 RBI. “
REGAN HANLON, Barnesville. Just a sophomore, she really turned it on this season for the Green.
“This was Regan’s second season on the mound for us. She sported a record of 13-4 in our 20-8 season. Regan was able to move the ball around the zone for us and that kept batters off balance. She was very stingy and is becoming one of the best we’ve had out here,” Skinner said. “Outside of one game with eight hits, she never gave up any double-digit hit games in all her outings combined. She averaged just 3.35 hits per outing and also had three games where she gave up only one hit, two of which were complete games.”
OLIVIA MUNCY, Beallsville. This junior first baseman/pitcher supplied a whole lot of power for the Blue Devils with nine home runs. She batted .517 and had an OBP of .667. She was also 5-4 inside the circle.
“Olivia has tremendous power and potential,” Beallsville’s Delmas Moore said. “She was the team’s offensive leader and has aspirations of playing at the college level.”
DE’ASIA BURNEY, Bellaire. A 4-year performer for the Big Reds and head coach Melissa Lahna, Burney played a variety of positions this season.
At the plate, Burney hit .377 as the Big Reds leadoff hitter. She rapped out 25 singles and four doubles. She scored 23 runs and had an on-base mark of .430. She only struck out three times. Inside the circle, Burney worked 84.3 innings, striking out 76 and issuing a mere nine base-on-balls.
When asked to play shortstop, she compiled a superb .969 fielding percentage with only two errors.
“De’Asia is one of most solid fielders that has suited up for the Red-and-Black. She has been a mainstay at short for us and has gotten the job done flawlessly.”
NATALIE STONER, Bellaire. Just a junior, Stoner is another one of those well-rounded athletes that can play a variety of positions, which she did. She could be found in centerfield, at third base or shortstop and even in the circle.
“Natalie is such a force to reckon with anywhere she is at on the diamond. She has played just about every position on the field except for right field and catcher. She has a great glove and knows the game no matter where we ask her to play,” Lahna explained.
Stoner hit a whopping .512 with 30 singles, eight doubles, a trio of triples and one home run. She scored 26 runs, had an OBP of .539 and struck out just six times.
Wherever she was on defense, she made the plays with a .953 fielding percentage and just three errors.
Inside the circle, she pitched 37.3 innings with a 3.75 ERA. She fanned 25 and walked 19.
KATRINA DAVIS, Bellaire. Just a sophomore, this athletic Big Red makes things happen when she takes the field.
“Kat is all business! I am very thankful she suits up for the Red-and-Black,” Lahna admitted. “Defensively, she covers so much ground and isn’t afraid to take charge. She has robbed so many hitters of hits up the middle along with running balls down that no one thinks she is able to get, but every time she comes up with the ball. She has a fantastic glove and isn’t afraid to get dirty. “
Davis pounded the bat at a fine .513 clip that included 37 singles, a pair of doubles and two triples. She scored 18 runs and had an on-base mark of .519. She struck out five times and had a fielding percentage of .935 with just half-a-dozen errors.
BROOKLYNN RUBLE, Bridgeport. This junior fireballer hurled the Bulldogs to that elusive OVAC championship with 18 innings of work inside the circle for head coach Donnie Cash. She earned Division IV honorable mention all-state, as well as first-team all-Eastern District and first-team all-OVAC, as well as being selected the OVAC Class 2A Player of the Year.
She was 11-3 inside the circle with 145 strikeouts in 92 innings of work. She fashioned a microscopic 1.83 ERA and opponents hit a meager .114 against her.
“Brooklyn was our ace in the circle. She had a great year for us and was outstanding in the OVAC Tournament with 27 strikeouts and 18 scoreless innings pitched,” Bridgeport head coach Donnie Cash praised. “We’re looking forward to another solid year out of her next year.”
At the plate, Ruble hit .350 with two home runs and 10 runs batted in. She also had an on-base mark of .426 and slugged at a .950 clip.
BRIANA CONAWAY, Bridgeport. A hard-hitting junior third baseman for the Blue-and-Black, she was a steady performer in the field and at the plate.
“Bri batted in the fifth spot in our lineup and had a big year. She improved a lot from her sophomore year,” Cash noted. “She was solid for us at the plate and in the field. We found a position with her at third and she handled it well.”
Conaway hit .489, had a on-base percentage of .567 obp and a slugging percentage of 1.043. She had a home run and 15 runs batted in.
She was a first-team all-Eastern District and all-OVAC selection.
SHELBY MATHENY, Bridgeport. A 4-year letterwinner, she manned centerfield this year after playing left a season ago.
“Shelby had a better year at the plate than her junior year,” Cash said. “She was a good leader for us the past two years on the diamond.”
Matheny batted .314, slugged at a .824 clip and had a .435 OBP. She hit one home run and drove in 13 runs.
She also earned second-team status on the all-Eastern District and all-OVAC squads.
ASHLEY BURKETT, Buckeye Local. A junior first baseman for the Panthers, she led the team in several categories this year.
She hit .424 with three doubles, a trio of triples, 20 runs batted in and 11 runs scored. She also made just one error all year.
“Really great kid. She comes to play every day,” Buckeye Local head coach Joe Soos said. “She’s a quiet player, but she lets her play do her talking. She’s a great fielder and her hitting has greatly improved.”
JOCLYN PESHAK, Harrison Central. A hard-hitting junior third baseman, she is a three-year regular for the Huskies of head coach Darrin Young.
“Joclyn is a girl that work is hard and is very tough on herself,” Young explained. “She’s the type of player you want up when the game is on the line.”
She batted .442 with 34 hits, of which 25 were singles, six went for doubles and 3 were home runs. Her OBP was .476 and she slugged at a .636 clip. She finished with 19 RBI.
ABBY BUMBICO, Martins Ferry. A junior pitcher for the Purple Riders and head coach Paige Williams, Bumbico had a fine 2.01 ERA and struck out 89 batters. On offense, she batted .432, with six home runs and 19 runs batted in. She also recorded half-a-dozen doubles and fielded at a .927 clip.
“Abby is a fierce competitor. She leaves it all on the field. She excels in every aspect of the game and works to get better every day,” Williams said. “Abby is a team player and a leader on and off the field.”
KIRSTEN FRIDAY, Monroe Central. A junior centerfielder for the Seminoles and head coach Michael Brock, she turned in a superb season.
“Kirsten really came a long way this spring,” Brock allowed. “We are looking for bigger and better things from her next spring.”
Friday hit .500 with 47 hits, of which 11 were doubles and four home runs. She also drove in 29 runs and scored 28.
LIVI ROSE, River. This three-year letterwinner for head coach Dave Wright showed versatility during her junior season as she came out from behind the plate to play shortstop in order to make the Pilots more sound defensively.
She batted .489 with 44 hits and 30 runs batted in. She has 111 career hits entering her senior season next spring. Her on-base percentage was .540.
“Livi loives to play the game,” Wright noted. “She was our catcher for two years but switched positions to help the team. She’s an unselfish player and it showed.”
Rose was also a first-team all-Eastern District performer, as well as second-team all-OVAC.
TAYLOR GALLENTINE, St. Clairsville. This slick-fielding and speedy junior shortstop was the Red Devils’ catalyst for head coach Ron Hummel.
“Taylor is a very disciplined hitter,” Hummel said. “She really works the strike zone and is an outstanding leadoff hitter. She sets the table for our offense.”
Gallentine hit .478 with 35 hits and 18 stole bases.
AMAYA SMITH, St. Clairsville. A four-year letterwinner for the Red Devils, she will continue her career with her older sister, Adrian, at St. Francis (Pa.).
“Amaya is very dominant in the circle,” Hummel noted of his ace who finished the season at 15-4. “She fields her position very well.”
Smith charted 117 strikeouts and walked 20, while hitting .355 and compiling a fielding percentage of .897.
MADDY VICKERS, St. Clairsville. This speedy four-year centerfielder led Red Devils in hitting with an even .500 mark . She slugged at an .875 clip and was selected as team Most Improved Player. She was also honored as all-Eastern District first team, all-OVAC first team and all-Buckeye 8 South.
“Maddy covered a lot of ground in the outfield for us,” Hummel said. “She had a lot of speed and ran the bases well. She also has power for a small girl.”
SHAY HORVATH, ST. JOHN CENTRAL. A junior first baseman for the Irish and head coach Jerry Magistro, she put up some impressive numbers this spring.
She batted .488 with 32 hits, of which five went for doubles and three for home runs. She drove in 25 runs and had an OBP of .639.
“Shay came to play everyday, never said a word and was all business,” Magistro said. “She played a solid first base and had a great year of hitting. She has a lot of power and had some monster home runs. “
KADEN MERCER, Union Local. A junior shortstop for the Jets and head coach/father Rich Mercer, she had an outstanding season.
She hit .422, had a .519 OBP and a .750 slugging percentage,. She finished with seven doubles, a triple and four home runs. She knocked in 20 runs and scored 21.
“After doing well last year, Kaden was able to do a little better this year. She improved her on-base and slugging percentages,” Coach Mercer said. “She is as hard-nosed and competitive as anyone that I have ever coached. Sometimes she even needs reeled back in some, but you can always count on getting 100% from her.
DONNIE CASH, Bridgeport. In just his second year at the Bulldogs’ helm, he guided them to the OVAC Class 2A championship. Bridgeport finished 11-7.
LESLIE SKINNER, Barnesville. The Shamrocks won 20 of their 28 games this season while advancing to the OVAC semifinals and winning a Division III sectional crown.