Seven Adams County girls are honored in coach’s voting
By Mark Carpenter
A long-time tradition continued recently as the softball coaches from the Southern Hills Athletic Conference met to make their choices for the 2016 All-Conference Softball Team. Each coach comes loaded with statistics and nominates their own players, then the voting takes place and this year, there were 20 young ladies from SHAC schools who received All-Conference honors, seven of those from teams in Adams County.
For the Adams County honorees, it was a mix of young and old as five seniors and two freshman were named as All-SHAC softball players.
After finishing regular season conference play with a 12-1 mark and a Division I (Big School) championship, the Peebles Lady Indians had three girls named to the All-SHAC squad, freshmen Madison Pierce and McKenzie Swango, plus senior Kaitlin Toller.
Pierce turned out to be one of the top pitchers in the area in 2016 in her freshman campaign, finishing with a record of 10-1 for the 17-6 overall Lady Indians. Pierce also struck out 79 batters in 71 innings pitched and had an earned run average of 1.38 for the season. She wasn’t too shabby at the plate either, hitting .413 with seven extra-base hits and 17 runs batted in.
Swango, another freshman, was a force at the plate from Day One, wreaking havoc on opposing pitchers to the tune of a .486 batting average, rapping out 35 hits in 72 at-bats, with eight extra base hits and 26 RBI’s. The young slugger only struck out four times in 80 official
plate appearances. Swango was also the No. 2 pitcher on the Peebles staff, going 4-1 with an ERA of 3.89, fanning 26 hitters in 27 innings of work.
The senior Toller was an all-around important cog to the Peebles’ success, seeing most of her time at the third base hot corner. Toller hit an outstanding .574 for the season, banging out 35 hits in 61 at-bats, with nine doubles and a team-leading 34 runs driven in.
After finishing with a conference record of 9-4, good for the runner-up spot in Division II (Small School), the North Adams Lady Devils placed a pair of players on the All-SHAC squad, seniors Jade Spriggs and Anslee Creech.
Spriggs has been a familiar name on these lists during her high school career, and her final year on the mound for the Lady Devils produced an 11-6 record and a 3.93 earned run average. The right hander struck out 128 batters in 114 innings pitched, while walking just 15. At the plate, she hit .344 with eight doubles and stole 12 bases in 12 attempts.
Creech was the leading hitter for the Lady Devils, with 21 hits in 57 at-bats producing a .368 batting average. She also added six two-base hits and drove home seven runs. Creech also swiped 12 bases in as many attempts.
The Manchester Lady Greyhounds had a disappointing season overall, finishing at 4-16, but the usual bright spot was senior Morgan Johnson, who was named All-SHAC in her third sport in the 2015-16 school year, adding softball to her laurels in volleyball and basketball. Johnson handled the majority of the pitching duties for this year’s Lady Hounds, somewhat thrust into an unfamiliar position as she had mainly been an infielder until this year. She struck out 53 hitters in 76 innings pitched, but did her most damage with the bat, as she tallied 22 hits in 54 at-bats for a team-leading .407 batting average. Johnson banged out seven doubles and drove home 15 runs, also a team-high, with an on-base percentage of .500 and 14 stolen bases.
The final All-SHAC selection from Adams County was West Union senior Kristen Grooms. Grooms was the workhorse pitcher this season and one of the biggest offensive threats for the Lady Dragons and was one of four seniors to graduate from the squad in 2016.
The remainder of the All-SHAC Softball Team for 2016 consisted of: Marin Cofrancesco and Paige Vilvens from Fayetteville, Chelsi Hacker and Hayley McConnaughey from Lynchburg, Ashleigh Harless and Jaycie Parr from Whiteoak, Regan Inlow and Brittany Koewler from Eastern, Grace Larrick, Kourtnie Smith, Kaiti White, and Emily Williams from Fairfield, and Tommi Wright from Ripley.
All of these girls along with the All-SHAC baseball and track teams will be honored at the SHAC Spring Sports Awards, scheduled for Tuesday, May 31 at Peebles High School.
2016 SHAC Softball Final Standings
Division I (Big School)
West Union 2-11
Division II (Small School)
North Adams 9-4