The 2012 Class A consolation champion Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Fighting Saints lead this year's Tribune All-Area Softball Team with five players on the 20-player squad.
Juniors Samantha Dunn, Erin Haglund and Courtney Olson are repeat selections, and joining them on the team this year are Saints teammates Brielle Hauge and Ellen Johnson.
The five Saints were the driving force behind a team that lost 3-2 to eventual state champion Cherry in the first round of the Class A tournament, then scored 22 runs in two games to earn a fifth-place finish. Three will be back to try again in 2013, with Johnson and Hauge the lone seniors of the group.
West Central South Conference champion Morris/Chokio-Alberta, WCS runner-up ACGC and West Central North Conference co-champion Minnewaska Area all placed three players on this year's team.
The Morris/CA selections are McKenzie Van Batavia, Tracy Meichsner and Sadie Fischer, and the Falcons placed Sydney Larson, Natasha Dallmann and Erica Melbie on the team. The Lakers earning spots on the team are Madison Phillips, Kaylyn Oberg and Julianne Helander.
Benson/Hancock seniors Mackenzie Jensen and Kendra Schmidgall are 2012 team members, as are MACCRAY's Paige Ammermann and Hailey Goeman.
Montevideo's Dani Emkes and Paynesville's Kayla Schaefer round out this year's team.
Ammermann ended the season hitting .411 with 11 runs batted in and a team-leading 21 stolen bases. She had five sacrifices and also struck out just six times in 73 at-bats. "She's an amazing baserunner who consistently moved from first to third on bunts," said Wolverines coach Nancy Thoma
Dallmann was a steady presence at shortstop for the Falcons, who finished second in the West Central South Conference behind Morris/Chokio-Alberta. Dallmann hit .404 with 6 doubles, 2 home runs, 16 runs batted in and 14 stolen bases. She had a .569 on-base percentage and a .673 slugging percentage. Also won two games as a pitcher.
One of the top Class A players in the state the last two years. Dunn, a repeat All-Area selection, entered the state tournament hitting .593 with 8 home runs, 28 RBIs, 46 runs scored and 20 stolen bases. As a pitcher, Dunn was 9-0 with a 1.17 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 54 innings pitched for the Class A consolation champs.
Emkes hit .483 with a homer, four doubles and 26 runs batted in for the Thunder Hawks. She has a solid .667 slugging percentage and Emkes drew 20 walks, contributing to her .613 on-base percentage and 1.279 OPS (on-base plus slugging). Emkes also stole 16 bases in 17 attempts.
Fischer was a key player for the West Central South Conference champions. She hit .386 with 19 runs batted in, 14 stolen bases and a .500 slugging percentage. Fischer had a .476 on-base percentage and struck out just seven times in 70 at-bats.
Goeman led the Wolverines with a .492 batting average and 17 runs batted in, and she struck out just three times in 63 at-bats. Goeman, who is 17-9 in three years as a pitcher, worked 66.2 innings this year with 73 strikeouts and a 3.36 earned-run average. She was 6-3 for MACCRAY this season.
The repeat All-Area selection joined Dunn for one of the top one-two pitching punches in Class A. She was 12-0 with a 0.74 ERA entering state, and she hit .397 with 10 doubles, 30 RBIs and just one strikeout in 82 at-bats. Haglund was named the Camden Conference's MVP for a second straight year.
Returned from December 2011 knee surgery to hit .433 with 17 RBIs, 7 doubles and 13 runs scored in just 60 regular-season at-bats. Coach Eileen Suter was careful with Hauge during the regular season but said Hauge is the best catcher she's coached at KMS, with a quick arm and an ability to block errant pitches.
Won the team's batting title and was named to the All-West Central North Conference team for the co-champion Lakers. Helander hit .531 and she also had a .583 on-base percentage. She drove in 23 runs and had 5 homers, which set a team record.
Staple of Saints teams that placed third in the Class A state tournament last season and fifth this year. Johnson entered the tournament hitting .453 with 7 home runs, 18 RBIs and she scored 38 runs while only striking out twice in 75 at-bats. Johnson was an all-state first-teamer last season and a three-time All-Camden Conference pick.
Converted from hitting righty to the left side to take advantage of her 2.9 second speed to first base, said coach Ken Grunig. Jensen hit .343 with 27 stolen bases, and stole 54 of 56 bases in her career. An all-conference pick and all-state honorable mention, Jensen stole 8 bases in a game this season and twice stole home in a game.
The Falcons' 2012 MVP set four team records with 32 runs scored, 6 home runs, 56 total bases and a .949 slugging percentages. Larson hit .441 and drove in 14 runs while also stealing 14 bases. She also had 4 doubles, 4 triples and had a .568 on-base percentage. She also had 7 wins as a pitcher and fielded at a .942 clip.
Melbie led the Falcons with a .462 batting average, and she got on base 53 percent of the time and posted a .600 slugging percentage. She set a school record with 18 stolen bases while also hitting 6 doubles, a home run and driving in 23 runs and scoring 29 times. Named All-West Central South Conference in 2011 and 2012.
The solid, young outfielder broke into the varsity lineup nicely for the conference champs. Meichsner hit .405, slugged .608 and had a .463 on-base percentage. She drove in 24 runs and had 6 doubles, 3 triples and a home run. She also stole 15 bases and scored 26 runs.
Oberg was a consistent offensive threat for the Lakers, hitting .462 with 14 RBIs and 30 runs scored. She stole 32 bases in 32 attempts, and on defense she had a .966 fielding percentage, committing just three errors this season. She was a 2012 Lakers captain and won the team's "Laker Tough" award.
Saints coach Eileen Suter calls Olson the most dangerous hitter on a roster full of them. Olson's 8 RBIs set a new state tournament record. Entering the tournament, she was hitting .481 with 7 home runs and 34 RBIs. She also had 11 doubles and scored 26 runs. Olson is an All-Area repeat selection and an all-state honorable mention.
Phillips was the spark behind the Lakers' West Central North Conference co-championship. She pitched and earned a decision in all 22 games for the 18-3 Lakers, ending the season with a 2.21 ERA, 81 strikeouts. She hit .435 with 11 runs batted in and 24 runs. She had a .521 on-base percentage and stole 13 bases in 13 attempts.
Schaefer helped lead the Bulldogs to a third-place finish in the West Central North. She hit .460 this season with 19 runs batted in, and she compiled a 2.62 earned-run average this season. As a fielder, Schaefer had a .956 fielding percentage. She had 7 hits in 9 trips in the playoffs and was named all-conference and all-section.
Schmidgall was a solid hitter and defensive player for the Brave Owls the last three years as a starter. She was an all-conference pick this year, hitting .405 with 15 runs batted in and she scored 19 runs. A selective hitter, Schmidgall had a .633 on-base percentage this season and has a .386 career batting average.
VanBatavia was the main mound ace for the West Central South Conference champions, posting a 17-5 record in 22 starts for the Tigers. She worked 140.1 innings and allowed 44 earned runs while striking out 130. She hit .261 and drove in 15 runs.