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Here's your 2022 West Central Tribune All-Area Softball Team

LQPV leads the way with four selections, followed by KMS and Litchfield.

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WILLMAR — The West Central Tribune All-Area softball team is back. In this year's iteration of the All-Area team, there are nine players on the first and second teams.

Thirteen teams from the West Central area are represented in the All-Area teams.

Section 3A runner-up Lac qui Parle Valley leads the way with four players combining to make the first and second Teams.

Behind LQPV, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (KMS) and Litchfield combine for four players on the All-Area teams. Each team had two selections.

Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (ACGC), Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (BBE), Benson, Renville County West/BOLD, Minnewaska, Montevideo, New London-Spicer, Paynesville, Willmar and Yellow Medicine East each all have one player from their rosters representing their programs.

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Between the two All-Area teams of nine, there are 12 seniors and six juniors.

There are a handful of returnees who made the All-Area teams in 2021. Returners from the First Team are: BBE senior Kylie Winter and LQPV senior Rylee Sawatzky. Returners from the Second Team are: Litchfield senior Taylor Draeger, KMS junior Shakira Olson and LQPV junior Taylor Shelstad.

Presented in alphabetical order, here is the All-Area softball team:

First Team

Tori Bungarden
Tori Bungarden
Lac qui Parle Valley's Tori Bungarden takes a swing at a pitch during Game 1 of Tuesday's Camden Conference doubleheader against KMS at Madison. Joe Brown / Tribune
Lac qui Parle Valley's Tori Bungarden takes a swing at a pitch during Game 1 of Tuesday's Camden Conference doubleheader against KMS at Madison. Joe Brown / Tribune

Sr., 3B, LQPV
Tori Bungarden

A complete player at third base, Bungarden's glove was as good as any. She recorded zero errors at the position in 2021 and followed that campaign with one error this season.

Bungarden, a captain for the Eagles, tallied 41 putouts (.977 fielding percentage) in 26 games.

"Tori is a dream at third base. She came to practice everyday with an attitude where she was driven to get better," Eagles head coach Scott Sawatzky said. "Defensively, I haven't seen a better third baseman in our area. She is tough as nails, has a strong arm, and her softball IQ is solid."

An All-State Honorable Mention and a member of the 2022 Camden Conference All-Conference Team, Bungarden batted .450 with a .563 SLG (slugging percentage) and 1.063 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). She had 36 hits, including nine doubles and 24 RBI's.

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Bungarden holds a .416 career batting average. She has 112 career hits with 72 runs, 70 RBI's, 19 doubles, 18 walks and one strikeout.

"Tori has been a contributor in the varsity lineup since eighth grade. She hits for both power and average," Scott Sawatzky said. "As a captain, she pushed everyone to get better and modeled that hard work and commitment pays off."

Taylor Draeger
Taylor Draeger
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Litchfield's Taylor Draeger sets to fire off a pitch during a Section 3AA playoff game against St. James on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at the Schwans Regional Amateur Sports Complex in Marshall. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Sr., P, Litchfield
Taylor Draeger

Draeger led the way for Litchfield, pitching 134.2 innings in 23 starts with an 11-12 record. She tallied 139 strikeouts and walked 23, allowing 122 hits and 77 runs.

Throughout her career, Draeger was both a member of the Wright County All-Conference Team and an honorable mention. She also earned an All-State Honorable Mention.

"Taylor has started for us since she was a freshman. She helped lead us to a conference championship, the section finals and two third-place finishes," Litchfield head coach Luke Braaten said. "She is a great competitor on the mound."

She closes her four-year career with 348 strikeouts in 371 innings with a 39-20 career record.

Shakira Olson
Shakira Olson
Shakira Olson of KMS avoids third baseman Tori Bungarden as she slides into the base during a game in Murdock on Thursday, April 28, 2022.
Shakira Olson of KMS avoids third baseman Tori Bungarden as she slides into the base during a game in Murdock on Thursday, April 28, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Shakira Olson
Jr., CF, KMS

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After earning Camden Conference All-Conference honors and an All-State Honorable Mention in 2021, Olson did not let her foot off the gas pedal in 2022.

Olson was All-Conference once more and she was recognized as First Team All-State.

Olson, KMS' team MVP, tallied a .500 batting average after recording 44 hits with eight doubles and four triples. She scored 40 runs, drove in 21 more and recorded 25 stolen bases.

"Shakira has amazing speed. In two years, she has never been thrown out stealing," Fighting Saints head coach Eileen Suter said. "She batted lead-off and scored a team-high 40 runs for us. She led the team in not only hitting but runs scored, stolen bases, doubles, triples, and was second in RBI's. Shakira's a hard worker that knows the game well."

Throughout her career so far, Olson is batting .437 with 78 runs, 73 hits, 42 stolen bases, 39 RBI's and 16 walks. Defensively, she holds an .854 fielding percentage with 38 putouts.

Olivia Richards
Olivia Richards

Olivia Richards
Sr., SS, Minnewaska

After the 2021 season, Richards was named a West Central Conference All-Conference Honorable Mention and a team Co-MVP for the Lakers.

Following up her junior campaign, Richards did not look back. She started in all 15 games for Minnewaska, where she posted a .537 BA and .833 SLG.

Richards recorded 29 hits, including 10 doubles and three triples. She had 18 RBI's and 11 stolen bases alongside a .954 fielding percentage at shortstop.

Richards was named to the West Central Conference All-Conference Team and was the team MVP this season.

"Olivia was a steadfast consistent performer for her four years as a starter, starting as a freshman at shortstop. She was a three-sport athlete — tennis, basketball, softball — and a great student as well (3.925 GPA)," Lakers head coach Jason Weber said. "She was willing to do all the little things to make her teammates better. She played with a steady demeanor, never too high up or down."

Richards has a .436 career BA and .688 SLG. She totaled 76 hits, 40 RBI's and a .927 fielding percentage in her four years at Minnewaska.

Mikayla Roberg
Mikayla Roberg

Mikayla Roberg
Sr., 3B, Paynesville

Roberg batted .414 and had a .585 OBP with 24 runs, 17 RBI's and 15 walks.

She recorded a .416 career bating average and 54 stolen bases, setting a school record in stolen bases in 2021 with 30.

"Mikayla is a great lead-off hitter who was always on base and then able to get herself in scoring position by stealing," Paynesville head coach Zach Nelson said.

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Rylee Sawatzky
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LQPV pitcher Rylee Sawatzky delivers a pitch against Benson on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
West Central Tribune file photo

Rylee Sawatzky
Sr., P, LQPV

Rylee Sawatzky held an 18-4 overall record on the mound with a 1.684 ERA.

The 2021 Camden Conference MVP recorded 216 strikeouts and 37 walks in 133 innings pitched en route to being named the 2022 Camden Conference MVP.

"Rylee was arguably the most dominating pitcher in the surrounding area. Her K/BB ratio and opponent OBP prevented sustained scoring opportunities for opponents," Scott Sawatzky said. "Her combination of velocity and off-speed pitches often left hitters with little chance of success."

Rylee Sawatzky, named Camden Conference All-Conference (2022) and Second Team All-State (2022), not only dominated on the mound, she performed offensively as well.

She batted .367 with a .451 OBP and 1.020 OPS. She tallied 29 hits, including five doubles, four triples and one home run, alongside 20 runs and 17 RBI's.

Rylee Sawatzky finishes her career with a 37-11 record, recording 421 strikeouts, 15 shutouts and seven no-hitters in 252 innings to finish with a career ERA of 1.48.

Rylee Sawatzky finishes her career at the plate with a .387 BA and .691 SLG. She totaled 89 hits, including 19 doubles, eight triples and two home runs with 63 RBI's, 54 runs, and 14 stolen bases.

"[Rylee] was a leader through her words and actions," Scott Sawatzky said. "She was encouraging to her teammates, yet expected commitment, hard work, and effort from everyone."

Zoe Schroeder
Zoe Schroeder
052621.S.WCT.Willmar softball Zoe Schroeder.jpg
Willmar left fielder Zoe Schroeder looks to scoop up the ball during Game 1 of a Central Lakes Conference doubleheader against Rocori on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at Willmar High School.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Zoe Schroeder
Jr., 1B, Willmar

Voted as a team captain for the 2022 season by her teammates, Schroeder led the way on and off the field.

Named the team's 2022 Offensive Player of the Year, Schroeder tallied a .370 BA and .463 SLG, recording 20 hits, with 16 RBI's and seven walks. Defensively, she posted a .940 fielding percentage with 105 putouts.

Not only did her team recognize her strong year, but the Central Lakes Conference did too, as she earned a spot on the All-Conference Team and the All-Section 8AAA Team.

"Zoe was the person (who) always seemed to come up with a hit when we needed it, whether that was starting a rally or driving in runs," Cardinals head coach Christian Brown said. "She earned every accolade she was given this year and as a captain on the team. She did everything we asked of her on and off the field this year."

In her two-year varsity career, Schroeder holds a .343 BA and .416 SLG with 32 hits, 19 RBI's and 11 walks. Defensively, she has 146 career putouts (.903 fielding percentage).

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Taylor Shelstad
Taylor Shelstad
Taylor Shelstad

Taylor Shelstad
Jr., SS/P, LQPV

In just her second season out for softball with the Eagles, Shelstad earned Second Team All-State and Camden Conference All-Conference honors.

Shelstad recorded 37 hits (.440 BA) with four doubles and six triples, scoring 44 runs and bringing in 18 runners. She held a .631 SLG and 1.141 OPS.

While on the mound, Olson pitched 17.1 innings — holding a 3-0 record — where she posted a 2.769 ERA with 13 strikeouts and nine hits against.

"Taylor is a complete athlete (who) possesses the work ethic and positive attitude to push herself and others toward excellence," Scott Sawatzky said. "She was our lead-off hitter and a juggernaut on the bases, ending the season with 43 stolen bases. Words can't express what she means to this team, as an athlete and a leader."

Shelstad has reached 76 hits, including 13 doubles, seven triples and one home run, in her career, scoring 91 runs with 58 stolen bases and 41 RBI's.

Caylee Weber
Caylee Weber

Caylee Weber
Sr., P/CF, RCW/BOLD

Weber had a strong senior campaign, posting a .377 BA and 1.093 OPS.

She had 26 hits, including eight doubles, three triples and two home runs, scoring 21 runs and bringing home 21. Weber went 18-for-18 on stolen bases and walked six times.

On the mound, Weber earned 64 strikeouts, 25 of them looking. She had 25 fielding assists and 16 putouts.

"Caylee Weber is a phenomenal athlete, team player and natural leader. ... She stays cool under pressure and has confidence in her abilities," RCW-BOLD head coach Rachel Ebbers said. "Caylee is quick and has a strong arm that allowed her to be a very beneficial center fielder when she wasn't pitching. She is a positive person with a competitive spirit."

Weber earned Camden Conference All-Conference honors and was the team's MVP. She was also named a member of the Academic All-State team and the Camden Conference Academic All-Conference team.

Second Team

Yansi Flores
Yansi Flores

Yansi Flores
Sr. OF, YME

A five-year varsity starter, Flores posted a .387 BA and .852 fielding percentage in 23 games. She hit four doubles, two triples and one home run.

Flores was named to the 2022 Camden Conference All-Conference Team.

"Yansi has an incredible eye for the ball coming off the bat and is able to cover a ton of ground with her speed," Yellow Medicine East head coach Jen Sneller said. "She is a great leader who has improved every single season of her career."

Josie Gjerde
Josie Gjerde
052522.S.WCT.KMS Soft Josie Gjerde.JPG
KMS junior shortstop Josie Gjerde throws to first during a first-round game in the Section 3A-North playoffs against Dawson-Boyd on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at Murdock.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Josie Gjerde
Jr., SS, KMS

A member of the All-Camden Conference, Gjerde posted a .371 BA with 23 hits, including five doubles, tallying a team-best 31 walks and 24 RBI's.

"Josie played solid at shortstop for us all year," Suter said. "She's a smart player who knows the game well. She sees the ball well and knows her strike zone, as is evident from her team-high 31 walks."

The junior has 52 career hits (.369 BA) with 11 doubles and one triple, 54 runs scored, 51 walks, 47 RBI's and 15 stolen bases.

Defensively, Gjerde has recorded 41 putouts and 50 assists en route to a .910 fielding percentage.

Sadie Hatlestad
Sadie Hatlestad
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New London-Spicer third baseman Sadie Hatlestad makes a throw to first during a Wright County Conference game against Litchfield on Friday, April 23, 2021 at Litchfield.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Sadie Hatlestad
Sr., C, NLS

A member of the Wright County All-Conference Team, Hatlestad posted a .327 BA and a .403 OBP, finishing her career with a .347 BA and .439 OBP.

"Sadie was a great contact hitter and very tough to strike out. She led our team in batting average, hits and RBI's," New London-Spicer head coach Melissa Bergeson said. "She has a very quick arm and threw out six base runners."

Tayler Kittelson
Tayler Kittelson
052022.S.WCT.LQPV SB Tayler Kittelson.JPG
LQPV senior Tayler Kittelson reaches up to grab the ball for the force out on Dawson-Boyd's Alivia Haas during a Camden Conference game on Thursday, May 19, 2022 at Dawson.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Tayler Kittelson
Sr., 1B, LQPV

In 26 games, Kittelson produced 31 hits (.378 BA; .500 SLG; .927 OPS) with eight doubles and one triple, scoring 17 runs and bringing home 25. She posted a .950 fielding percentage with 35 putouts.

Kittelson made the Camden Conference All-Conference Team and was an All-State Honorable Mention.

"Tayler is what we would call a diamond in the rough. She exploded onto the scene her senior year, hitting for average and power. She was second on our team in RBI's," Scott Sawatzky said. "She transitioned from an outfielder to a first baseman and made several significant plays. From digging balls of of the dirt, to chasing down fly balls and ramming into the fence, she was as tough as they come at that position."

In her career, Kittelson posted a .349 BA and .528 SLG with 37 hits, including eight doubles and one triple. She had 33 RBI's, 14 walks and five stolen bases.

Kassey Pauling
Kassey Pauling
052122.S.WCT.Monte SB Kassey Pauling.JPG
Montevideo senior Kassey Pauling goes through her windup during a non-conference game against NLS on Friday, May 20, 2022 at Montevideo.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Kassey Pauling
Sr., P/1B, Montevideo

After assisting Montevideo to a new school OBP record in 2021, Pauling led the Thunder Hawks in 2022 as a team captain for a second time, and was named the team's MVP.

Pauling recorded a .463 BA and .611 SLG en route to tallying 25 hits, including three doubles, one triple and one home run, and sending home 14 runners with her bat. She scored 11 runs, stole six bases, earned four walks and posted a .962 fielding percentage.

Pauling pitched 48.1 innings with 41 strikeouts.

"Kassey is an incredible leader on and off the field. She has shown selflessness throughout her athletic career and would do whatever it took to help her team be positive and successful," Thunder Hawks head coach Madison Sletta said. "The team could count on Kassey to keep things steady in the infield."

Pauling totaled 56 hits (.486 BA), 29 RBI's, 26 runs, 13 stolen bases, 10 walks and a .971 fielding percentage in her career.

Izzy Pennertz
Izzy Pennertz

Izzy Pennertz
Jr., 1B, Litchfield

A two-time member of the Wright County Academic All-Conference Team, Pennertz posted a .383 BA and .506 SLG with 31 hits, including seven doubles and one home run. She tallied 20 RBI's, 16 runs and nine walks.

Pennertz, a Wright County All-Conference Team member, has totaled 49 hits (.345 BA) with 14 doubles and one home run in her career, adding 38 RBI's, 23 runs and 12 walks.

"Izzy has started for us at first base the last two years," Braaten said. "Her great defensive play has helped us get out of so many innings. She has a knack to get the key hit with runners on base."

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Haley Wilner

Haley Wilner
Jr., SS, ACGC

Wilner posted a .559 BA and .610 SLG en route to recording 33 hits, scoring 17 runs, stealing 16 bases, bringing home nine base runners and earning seven walks.

For a second consecutive season, Wilner was a Central Minnesota Conference First Team All-Conference selection.

"Haley is a great lead-off hitter who consistently gets on base to start the game and throughout the game," ACGC head coach Bradley Nelson said. "Her speed is second to none, as she beats out many routine ground balls."

Wilner's 16 stolen bases in 2022 comes as the second-most in a season in program history and her OBP (.652) is third best.

In her career, Wilner has a .538 BA and .614 OBP. She has totaled 63 hits, 32 runs, 21 stolen bases, 15 walks and 14 RBI's.

Kylie Winter
Kylie Winter
Lyne, Michael
052522.S.WCT.BBE Soft Kylie Winter.JPG
BBE senior Kylie Winter jumps out of her stance to make a throw to second base during a first-round game in the Section 3A-North playoffs against YME on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at Murdock.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Kylie Winter
Sr., C, BBE

A team captain, Winter recorded 30 hits (.526 BA) en route to six doubles and one triple, recording 20 runs, 13 walks and five RBI's.

"Kylie is a great lead-off hitter and defensive catcher. She is an offensive leader on the team," BBE head coach Boyce Fischer said. "She is a great role model for younger players on the team."

Isabella Wolter
Isabella Wolter
060421.S.WCT.Benson SB Wolter.jpg
Benson's Bella Wolter lines up a pitch during a Section 6A-South playoff game against West Central Area on Thursday, June 3, 2021 at Benson.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Isabella Wolter
Sr., P, Benson

A team Co-MVP with catcher Adysen Himley, Wolter batted a team-best .436 and led the Braves in walks (11). She pitched 98 innings, posting a 4.77 ERA.

Wolter was a member of the West Central Conference All-Conference Team. She finishes her career with a .363 career BA. She recorded 46 hits, 28 RBI's, 20 runs and 17 walks. Defensively, she posted a 4.46 ERA and .825 fielding percentage.

"Bella is an extremely hard worker on the field. She has a lot of heart when she plays, and because of that, I could always trust that she would give it her all each time out," Braves head coach Barb Schwarz said. "She is a well-rounded student-athlete and will find success down the road."

Honorable Mentions

Kailey Fischer, Sr., SS, BBE
Avery Joyce, Jr., 3B, KMS
Liv Holmgren, Jr., SS/P, Litchfield
Gabby Randt, Sr., CF/SS, MACCRAY
Olivia Naatjes, Sr., 1B, MACCRAY
Alyssa Sachs, Sr., C, Montevideo
Mathea Jorgenson, Sr., LF, Montevideo
Kylie Cobb, Sr., 3B, Montevideo
Kianna Roske, Sr., 2B, Paynesville
Hannah Stark, Jr., 3B, Yellow Medicine East

Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in June 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies. You may reach Michael at mlyne@wctrib.com, or by calling (320) 214-4345.

Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in June 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at mlyne@wctrib.com, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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