2011 West Central Tribune All-Area Softball Team
By Gregg Aamot, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Gregg Aamot, email@example.com
Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, which made a run at the 2011 Class A State Tournament, finishing in third place, leads the 2011 Tribune All-Area Softball Team with four selections, including repeat pick Samantha Dunn.
The Fighting Saints (23-1), who went unbeaten in the Camden North Conference, came up just short of the title game at Caswell Park in North Mankato, losing 3-2 to state champion New Life Academy in the semifinal round. The Fighting Saints defeated Blooming Prairie 11-5 to earn the third-place trophy.
Joining Dunn on the 20-player All-Area team are KMS teammates Brooke Carlson, a senior, and sophomores Erin Haglund and Courtney Olson.
Two other players on this year's squad are repeat All-Area selections: Willmar sophomore Heather Horning and Morris Area senior Dani Schultz.
Four schools had two selections each: Willmar, Paynesville, Morris Area and Minnewaska Area.
In addition to Carlson, Haglund and Olson, first-year selections include: Morgan Elliot of Renville County West; Brooke Falk and Aundrea Johnson of Minnewaska Area; Kelsey Jurgenson of Dawson-Boyd; Larrissa Karl of Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart; Jenna Kincade and Jackie Skoglund of Paynesville; Brittany Nissen of BOLD; Sarah Roehl of Willmar; Allison Ruter of New London-Spicer; MacKenzie Weatherly of Morris Area; Natasha Wiebold of Benson/Hancock; Paige Wilner of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City; and Christal Stavne of MACCRAY.
The all-area team was selected by the Tribune sports staff after a review of player accomplishments and statistics and consultations with area coaches. The team is not selected by position.
Here is a listing of the All-Area team with a brief summary of each player:
Carlson batted .425 with 13 extra-base hits, including two homers, and knocked in 29 runs during KMS's state tournament season. Speedy with a lot of range in the outfield, Carlson also scored 42 runs.
All-area for the third consecutive year, Dunn hit .478 with eight doubles and 28 RBIs. She also swiped 14 bases and dominated in the circle, going a perfect 11-0 with 73 strikeouts, five walks and a .96 ERA.
A strong all-around player, Elliot shined at shortstop, showing the ability to throw runners out from deep in the hole. She batted .426 with six doubles, one homer and 18 RBIs and also went 6-5 in the circle. A good leader, she helped RCW get to the final four of the section.
Falk stole 14 bases in 15 attempts, scored 31 runs, collected 33 hits and batted .413 for the Lakers. She also knocked in 22 runs and covered a lot of ground in the outfield as Minnewaska Area's defensive leader.
A crucial part of the Fighting Saints' state tournament run, Haglund hit .556 with three homers and 38 RBIs. A power pitcher with excellent speed, she was 12-1 in the circle with 119 strikeouts, 13 walks and a 1.77 ERA. Named MVP of the Camden North Conference.
A repeat all-area pick, Horning hit .446 with 10 doubles and 18 RBIs (all tops on the Cardinals). Though not as dominant in the circle as she was her freshman season, Horning still finished 9-6 with a 3.70 ERA and 76 strikeouts. The workhorse pitched 16 games during one 18-day stretch.
The three-year starter capped her career with a .410 batting average, four homers and 25 RBIs. She was voted team MVP for a potent combination of hitting and defensive leadership behind the plate.
Jurgenson batted .490 with six doubles and two homers for the Blackjacks while also running the defense from behind the plate. A four-year starter, the speedy Jurgenson led off and scored 16 runs.
Karl hit .420 with a homer and 21 RBIs in her fifth year in the lineup. She played four positions for the Mustangs as they won seven games -- five more than BLHS had won in any season since 2004.
Kincade had 33 hits -- including 12 multi-hit games -- batting in the cleanup spot for the Bulldogs. She hit .500 with seven doubles, four triples, two homers and 25 RBIs. The first-year starter also stole six bases in seven chances and played solid defense at third base.
Nissen went 5-5 in the circle, throwing three no-hitters and compiling an ERA of 3.13 for the Warriors. At the plate, she batted .372 with six extra base hits, including one home run, and knocked in 14 runs.
Another sophomore pick from KMS, Olson batted .500 with two homers and 42 RBIs. Armed with smarts and quick hands, she struck out just six times and handled bunts routinely at third base.
Batting in the number two slot, Roehl hit .418 and led the Cardinals in runs with 19. She also led the team with 11 stolen bases and was second in doubles with eight. Roehl knocked in 12 runs and patrolled second base smoothly with a .915 fielding percentage.
Ruter hit .459 with 12 extra-base hits, 20 RBIs and five stolen bases for the Wildcats. She displayed good range and a strong arm in the field.
Skoglund pitched every game for the Bulldogs, finishing 16-4 with a 2.74 ERA. She also batted .352 with five doubles and 13 RBIs. The strong-fielding pitcher had a fielding percentage of .975.
Named All-Area for the third time, Schultz hit .523 with 24 RBIs and 25 runs and handled the pitchers with aplomb behind the plate. Played in the Minnesota High School All-Star Girls Softball Series on June 11 in Mankato. Won the Tribune's Hengstler-Ranweiler Award.
At nearly 6-feet-tall, Stavne was a presence behind home plate, where she committed just two errors and threw out six of 12 base stealers for the Wolverines. She batted .446 with two homers and 12 RBIs and struck out just twice.
The area's most dominant pitcher, Weatherly went 21-4, throwing one no-hitter while compiling an ERA of 1.03. She struck out 243 batters while walking just 20, an average of 12 strikeouts and one walk per game. Batting cleanup, she hit .375 with 10 doubles and 30 RBIs.
Wilner had five outfield assists in just 19 games and showed good range in centerfield. She also wielded power at the plate, batting .481 with 11 doubles, three homers and 21 RBIs, and stole eight bases in nine chances.
Wiebold, the Brave-Owls' Gold Glove Award winner as the team's outstanding fielder, batted .362 to lead the team and scored 18 runs. She also stole 21 bases hitting in the team's leadoff or second spot and struck out just four times.