All-Area Softball: Zumbrota-Mazeppa dominates All-Area lineup
(Sr., Red Wing)
Red Wing's lone senior this season was also its best hitter. Laura Chalmers compiled a .431 batting average with seven doubles and 12 RBI in 19 games as the Wingers' designated player and pitcher. She had a .578 on-base percentage and was a Missota All-Conference selection this year.
"She raised her batting average over 300 points over her junior year," Red Wing head coach Jon Bohmbach said.
(Jr., Lake City)
Lake City third baseman Emily Ziebell was an offensive catalyst for the Tigers despite the team struggling to a 1-18 record during a rebuilding season. Ziebell, a junior, led the team with a .459 batting average, picking up 17 hits in 37 at-bats. She was named Hiawatha Valley League All-Conference and Lake City's Offensive Player of the Year.
"Emily represents all the expectations a coach could want in a player on and off the field," Tigers' head coach Mike Johnson said. "She comes to practice with a great attitude and is willing to accept any challenge presented to her."
(Jr., Cannon Falls)
Cannon Falls' catcher Becca Vandenheuvel was a vocal leader for the Bombers this season and was a capable contributor on offense. Vandenheuvel, a junior, finished with a .438 batting average and was named to the HVL All-Conference team.
(Jr., Cannon Falls)
Lydia Franken was tough for any team to hit this season, evidenced by her performance for Cannon Falls against top-ranked Zumbrota-Mazeppa in the Section 1AA-West sub-section playoffs. The Bombers lost 4-0, but Franken allowed just three earned runs in six innings and had 10 strikeouts against one of the state's most potent lineup. Franken, a junior, was an HVL All-Conference honoree, piling up 104 strikeouts and a 1.27 earned run average. She also compiled a .341 batting average.
Goodhue third baseman Paige Gadient was a tough out all season for the Wildcats. She finished her senior campaign with a .365 batting average, 24 runs scored and 17 RBI in 70 plate appearances. She had four doubles and four triples to go along with a .557 on-base percentage.
Gadient was named All-Section 1A and HVL All-Conference in 2013 and completed her career with a .509 on-base percentage in 214 plate appearances.
Ellsworth sophomore Serena Hoisington was the Panthers' ace this season and did not disappoint. In 29 innings, Hoisington went 3-3 with a save and a 3.14 earned run average while striking out 36 and walking just 10.
Hoisington also made an impact at the plate, tallying a .476 batting average and a .655 on-base percentage with a team-high nine walks.
"Serena has the best hitting approach on the team," Panthers' head coach Ryan Casper said. "She not only hits for average but can hit for power and will take walks. Pitching is an area that I know Serena will work heavily on to improve for next season. She is our No. 1 pitcher and worked hard to improve throughout the season."
She was a second team All-Middle Border Conference selection.
Jenna George is young but packs quite the offensive punch for Ellsworth. A sophomore corner infielder, George led the Panthers with a .552 batting average and a 1.103 slugging percentage. She had a team-high four home runs, 16 hits, 12 runs and 18 RBI despite playing the whole year with a knee injury.
"Jenna had an incredible season despite the fact that she played the entire season with a torn ACL," Ellsworth head coach Ryan Casper said. "She will have surgery this summer and be ready for next season. Jenna is a tireless worker who I know will come into next season driven to improve her game."
Tayler Mort was the quintessential No. 3 hitter for Zumbrota-Mazeppa. The sophomore catcher hit for average and power, boasting a .469 batting average with seven doubles, eight home runs and 39 RBI. She was named All-HVL Conference, All-Section, First Team All-State and the team's Most Valuable Player. Mort piled up 38 hits, 28 runs and an .852 slugging percentage in her award-winning sophomore season.
Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Morgan Olson adjusted quickly to varsity competition for the Cougars. A ninth-grader, Olson set a school record with 47 hits and 41 runs scored while being named First Team All-State this season. She also finished with a .522 batting average, 11 doubles, 5 triples, a home run and 16 RBI.
In the pitcher's circle, Olson went 12-3 with 96 strikeouts and a 2.58 ERA. With an overpowering fastball and a flurry of off-speed pitches, Olson held opponents to a .237 batting average.
Olson was an HVL All-Conference pick and All-Section as well.
Carley Henning showed off her power stroke much of the season for Zumbrota-Mazeppa. The Cougars' junior No. 4 hitter clobbered seven home runs, 11 doubles and one triple in posting an .833 slugging percentage. She was named Second Team All-State, HVL All-Conference and All-Section for top-ranked Z-M. Henning, an outfielder and a pitcher, had 41 hits, 27 runs scored and a .456 batting average. She went 10-0 as a pitcher, posting a 4.17 ERA with 42 strikeouts.
Goodhue's senior catcher Ashlyn Stecklein tallied a .345 batting average, with 20 hits, 21 runs scored and 10 RBI in 18 games for the Wildcats. She was on base 30 times for a .462 on-base percentage.
"Ashlyn was the leader of our team this season," Goodhue head coach Chris Irvin said. "She is like having a coach on the field."
In her final season with the Wildcats, Stecklein was named HVL All-Conference and All-Section.
Honorable Mentions: Kaitlen Buck, Zumbrota-Mazeppa; Makaela Egan, Red Wing; Abby Giese, Ellsworth; Amber Jentsch, Zumbrota-Mazeppa; Lexie Kennedy, Goodhue; Hailey Kuhl, Red Wing; Hannah Walch, Red Wing.