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Four Saints march onto 2013 first team

Tribune file photo Minnewaska's Julie Helander is a 2013 Tribune All-Area first team selection.

An area softball fan recently asked about the Tribune’s 2013 All-Area Softball Team and, jokingly, made a suggestion: Just plug in the Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg starting nine and go from there.

In reality, the fan wasn’t too far off base.

The top nine hitters in the current Saints lineup hit between .341 and .506, drove in between 12 and 43 runs, seven scored between 20 and 40 runs, and six hit home runs.

The team — repeat, the team – hit .420, had a on-base percentage of .503 and an OPS of 1.113.

The Saints’ pitching staff had an earned-run average of 1.48 and 208 strikeouts in 137 innings.

Little wonder the Saints compiled a 71-4 record the last three years — with all four losses coming in Class A state tournaments — and there soon will be third-, fourth- and fifth-place hardware in the KMS trophy case.

Four Saints earned spots on the 2013 Class A All-State teams, and those four players lead this year’s All-Area First Team.

In all, six Saints were named to this year’s team. Here’s the 2013 All-Area Team:

First Team

Sam Dunn

KMS, Senior SS/P

A starter as a seventh-grader, Dunn leaves the Saints as the team’s No. 2 all-time hits leader (154) and her 463 strikeouts in the pitching circle is fourth-best all-time. “Best athlete I’ve coached at KMS,” said coach Eileen Suter. Dunn hit .500 with 31 RBIs and 35 runs scored this year and she was 9-0 with a 1.11 ERA, earning her a spot on the all-state second team.

Erin Haglund

KMS, Senior P/SS

Haglund concluded a stellar prep career with 157 career hits, best in school history and he 518 career strikeouts is second all-time. She entered the Class A state tournament with a 13-0 record and a 1.25 ERA with 133 strikeouts in 73 innings. Haglund also hit a team-best .539 with 36 RBIs, 34 runs scored and earned spots as a first-team all-stater and on the All-Star Series roster.

Julianne Helander

Minnewaska, Senior C

Helander finished her career with four school records: highest career average (.440), highest season average (.531), most homers in a season (5) and career (9). She hit .362 with 6 doubles, 4 home runs and 29 RBIs this season. She twice was named all-conference and won the WCN’s Silver Bat Award as a junior, and she was team captain this season.

Heather Horning

Willmar, Senior P

Horning is one of the Cardinals’ most decorated players, having earned All-Central Lakes Conference honors three times, all-section twice and four team MVP awards. Horning hit .378 this season, with 12 RBIs and a .974 OPS. She pitched 72 innings and struck out 75 and finished the season with a 3.01 earned-run average.

Alison Krieger

KMS, Sophomore 2B

Krieger burst into the Saints starting lineup, earning all-state honorable mention after missing last season with a knee injury. Krieger hit .492 with 6 doubles, a home run, 18 RBIs, 38 runs and 11 stolen bases as leadoff hitter. In the field, Krieger had a .960 fielding percentage. She had six hits in three Class A state tournament games and was named to the all-tournament team.

Sydney Larson

ACGC, Senior P

Larson won her second West Central South Conference MVP this spring, hitting .472 with a .569 on-base percentage. She slugged .849 and had 4 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs and 16 RBIs. She worked 87.1 innings and won 8 games. Holds Falcons career record for triples, home runs, runs, slugging percentage and innings pitched.

Courtney Olson

KMS, Senior 3B

Olson finished her prep career as the Saints’ all-time leader in home runs (19) and doubles (37), she was all-state second team and played in the All-Star Series this season. She hit .515 with 10 doubles, 8 homers, 43 RBIs and she scored 33 runs with just 3 strikeouts, helping the Saints to their third straight state tournament. The team was 71-4 her last three seasons.

Madison Phillips

Minnewaska, Junior P

Phillips posted a 14-5 record and 73 strikeouts for the Lakers, earning her second all-conference spot and the vote of conference coaches as the West Central North Conference MVP. She is second all-time for the Lakers with 35 wins and 265 innings pitched. Phillips also hit .355 with 11 doubles, a home run, 14 RBIs and 21 runs scored.

Kayla Schaefer

Paynesville, Soph. 2B/SS

Schaefer hit .455 with a .520 on-base percentage this season and displayed good power, with 5 doubles, 4 triples and 2 home runs. She drove in 32 runs and was solid on the base paths, with 11 steals in 11 attempts. A .934 fielder, she’s already a two-time all-conference pick and she was named to the all-section team once.

Megan Schaefer

Paynesville, Senior P/2B

Schaefer is a bulwark in the pitching circle for the Bulldogs, who won the West Central South and finished 17-2 overall. She was 15-2 with a 1.90 earned-run average and she issued just 13 walks while striking out 67. She earned two all-conference spots and this year was named to the Minnesota Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association’s All-State second team.

Kelsey Quigley

Montevideo, Senior C

Quigley is a good power hitter who also makes consistent contact. She hit .411 with 3 home runs, 20 RBIs and 15 runs scored. She had a .477 on-base percentage, slugged .571 while still striking out only twice during the season. She earned all-conference honors and was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player.


Van Batavia

Morris/CA, Senior P

Van Batavia won 12 games this season, striking out 117 in 114 innings pitched, and the last two seasons she won 29 games, working 254 innings with 247 strike outs. Van Batavia earned Class AA All-State honorable mention this spring and she twice earned all-conference and all-section honors, as well as the conference MVP award her junior year.

Honorable Mention

Taylor Ebnet

BOLD, Senior SS

Ebnet is a team leader and two-time all-conference shortstop for the Warriors. She hit .341 with 8 runs batted in and 8 stolen bases from the leadoff spot, which she’s held the last three years. She’s also earned academic all-state honors and coach Melissa Sagedahl said Ebnet “brings that same work ethic onto the softball field. She is every coaches’ dream athlete.”

Brooke Wuertz

Paynesville, Senior SS/P

Wuertz hit .367 with 6 doubles, 3 triples, a home run and 26 RBIs for the West Central South champs. She finished her prep career with a .359 batting average and this year had a .960 fielding percentage at short. Pitching this season, she was 1-0 with 2 saves and a 0.00 ERA. Wuertz was all-conference twice, earned all-section and a spot on the All-Star Series roster.

Sam Dahl

Paynesville, Junior 1B

The rare first baseman-leadoff hitter has been a three-year starter and letterwinner for the Bulldogs, and she won two all-conference awards. Dahl hit .361 and displayed some pop from the top of the order, with 9 doubles, 4 home runs and 11 RBIs. She also was safe on all seven of her steal attempts and fielded her position at a .994 clip.

Bri Stang

Paynesville, Junior LF

Stang rounded into a solid outfield bat for the West Central South champions this year. She earned all-conference honorable mention and is a two-year starter and letterwinner. Stang hit .413 with 7 doubles, a triple and two home runs this season. Along with her 20 RBIs, she also was perfect on all nine of her steal attempts.

Kalli Forsell

KMS, Sophomore C

Forsell set the stage for KMS’ Class A quarterfinals win last week with a three-run, first-inning home run. After hitting .318 with 11 RBIs and a freshman, this season Forsell hit .446 with 5 doubles, a triple, 3 home runs and 22 RBIs. She also was a reliable pitch caller for two of the Saints’ all-time top pitchers, Erin Haglund and Sam Dunn.

Sadie Sulier

KMS, Sophomore CF

Sulier proved herself a tough out and a speedy and dependable outfielder this season. She hit .467 with 12 runs batted in, she scored 26 runs and also stole 9 bases. She struck out just once in 60 at bats. “She’s fast, covers a lot of ground defensively, she’s a good bunter and a great contact hitter,” said Saints head coach Eileen Suter.

Kelsey Fisher

Litchfield, Senior P/3B

Hitting in the middle of the Dragons’ lineup, Fisher was a four-year starter who twice earned all-conference honors and was named all-section in 2012. This year, she hit .326 and she handled a large load on the mound, working 50.2 innings and racking up 50 strike outs. “She was an anchor in the middle of our lineup, as well as on the mound,” said coach Cody Randt.

Ashley Hoehne

Montevideo, Junior 3B/P

Hoehne won her second all-conference selection this season by hitting .370 with 19 runs batted in and 18 runs scored. In the field, Hoehne made 19 put outs and also recorded 30 assists. She was named the Thunder Hawks offensive and defensive MVP. “She’s been one of our most consistent hitters the last three years,” said T-Hawks coach Kyle Goslee.

Kelsey Olson

Montevideo, Junior CF

A versatile offensive threat, Olson hit .404 with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 13 runs batted in and 12 runs scored. She was equally valuable in the outfield at a key position. “She has great footwork as a centerfielder,” Montevideo coach Kyle Goslee said. “She takes great angles to get to the ball and get into position. She’s a very aggressive defensive player.”

Becca Holland

Morris/CA, Fresh. 2B/3B

Holland made strides as a young player, leading the team with a .344 batting average and a .440 on-base percentage. She scored 13 runs, stole 8 bases and struck out just 5 strike outs in 64 at bats this season. She also had 34 put outs and 27 assists, with just 3 errors. She was named to All-Section 3AA in her first varsity season.

Nena McCalla

Yellow Med. East, Senior C

McCalla was a valuable leader behind the plate and at the plate. She finished the season with a .327 batting average and a .408 slugging percentage. Last year, she was the team’s Gold Glove winner and most improved, and this year she was a team co-MVP and Big Bat winner. “Nena is a natural leader,” said Sting head coach Jen Sneller.

Allie Trudel

Yellow Med. East, Senior P

Trudel pitched 86 innings, recording 83 strike outs for the Sting this season. At the plate, Trudel hit .362 and had a .404 slugging percentage. She went from YME’s 2009 top rookie to team MVP and all-section selections the next season. Trudel went on to win two more team MVP awards, as well as an all-conference selection.

Kayla Jones

Benson/Hancock, Senior P

Jones missed several games due to school activities but still earned the BraveOwls’ MVP honor and a spot on the All-West Central South Conference team. Jones struck out 41 in her 11 games in the pitching circle, and she led the team at the plate, hitting .545 with more than half of her hits going for extra bases. She also led the team with 12 RBIs.

Allie Roehl

Willmar, Sophomore 3B

Roehl, a Cardinal rookie of the year and all-conference pick, established herself at third base this season. She hit .387 and had a .457 on-base percentage and am OPS of almost .900, evidence of the strides Roehl made as a bunter. She made 18 put outs and had 20 assists at third base, and, as coach Shannon Cayler said, “She is a stubborn defender.”

Erica Melbie

ACGC, Senior C

Melbie is a three-time all-conference player and this season she hit .317 with 6 doubles, 4 home runs, 19 RBIs, 20 runs scored and 14 stolen bases. She had a .990 fielding percentage and threw out 36 percent of base stealers. Melbie holds the ACGC season stolen base record and she’s No. 1 all-time in home runs and RBIs.

Natasha Dallmann

ACGC, Senior SS

Dallmann capped a stellar career this spring, hitting .459 with a .530 on-base percentage and a .672 slugging percentage. She had 7 doubles, 2 homers and 23 RBIs. Dallmann ended her career with three straight all-conference selections and she is No. 3 in the school’s career record book for home runs, stolen bases and RBIs.

Hannah Wilner

ACGC, Freshman LF

Wilner broke out this season, hitting .424 — she had 25 hits — and she scored 25 runs for the Falcons. She hit 2 home runs, drove in 12 runs and stole a dozen bases. She also fielded her position at a .929 clip. She won the team’s Hustle Award and also earned a spot on the all-conference team.

Payton Wilner

ACGC, Sophomore 2B

Wilner narrowly missed .400, finishing with a .397 average. She had 5 doubles, 2 home runs and 13 runs batted in. She also had a .957 fielding percentage in 69 chances. Wilner won the team’s Hustle Award in 2012 and this year was voted the team’s Most Improved. She was one of four Falcons to collect 20 hits or more batting in the No. 8 spot in the lineup.

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

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