Kotecki/Debriyn Share Most Valuable Player
The 2017 All-Conference softball voting has been released and heading the list were two of the areas brightest softball talents. Taking Co-MVP honors were Peshtigo's Lexy DeBriyn and Coleman's Annabelle Kotecki.
Peshtigo came away with the most first team votes this season as they elected DeBriyn, Megan Behnke, Jenna Thill and Shae Tonn.
Peshtigo head coach Tom Christensen couldn't say enough about this years squad.
"This was a different team," said Christensen. "We lost three terrific starters that all made it to the senior all star game. When you lose three girls like that you just say, that's how it goes. But you always keep it in your mind that everything will be okay. We lost a lot of speed this year, but we always tried to run bases smart. We aren't spectators on the bases we are runners. You just have to be smart and never quite."
He went on to say a little about how the team stepped up to replace last years seniors. "A lot of pluses with girls always showing up and always practicing and playing hard. Its a tryout thing when spring comes. No positions are automatic and these girls know that. The summer league has a lot to do with why they are so successful. They almost played two conferences worth more of games. They really looked at the challenge of the season and said, "lets go for it.' 20 wins this season is awesome."
Lexy Debriyn who received the co-mvp vote earned her spot on the first team at pitcher. She went 7-0 on the mound. She pitched 43 innings and averaged a strikeout and a half per inning. She only gave up 16 runs for a 2.12 ERA and batted .510. Her slugging percentage was .755. She took a total of 60 bases while batting in 20 RBIs. She scored 22 runs and stole 27 bases and had only one fielding error all season long.
"She was the first pick and got the most votes as a junior," said Christensen. "She shared time with Shae Tonn. It was her first year at the varsity level. I wanted to throw her in the fire and started pitching her in the rotation early. She was one of our biggest assets on the mound. She played outfield, could pitch and was pretty fast."
Also making the first team for Peshtigo was Megan Behnke who received her first team election at the position of catcher.
"She started as a sophomore," said Christensen. "We worked on calling pitches. To me, the game isn't too complicated when it comes to pitching. Last year she started calling more pitches. This year she would look at me and know what pitch I wanted. She was one of the most knowledgeable catchers in the conference."
Behnke moved up the batting lineup and really improved her hitting this year , ending the season in the two spot. She batted .439, had a slugging percentage of .585. She had 18 runs and knocked in 12 RBIs.
"I go back to the Bonduel game," said Christensen. "Two outs, bases loaded, needing a base hit, and she fouls off several pitches before finding a hole and we scored, game over, we win."
Next on the list for Peshtigo was Jenna Thill who was one of this year's first team infielders.
"She's got that look," said Christensen. "You might just say okay, but even last year she was always smooth and that smoothness is what you want at first base. Every time it was ball hit, glove down, scoop, out."
Thill played ever game and batted .364, with an on base percentage of .512. her slugging average was .424. She scored 13 runs in the ninth spot while getting 13 RBIs. She also took eight walks. Her fielding average was .986 fielding, and she recorded 70 put outs while getting only one error.
"A lot of times teams look at number nine and are like whatever," said Christensen. "but she was always smart and made team pay."
The final first teamer for Peshtigo was their standout junior She Tonn. Tonn got her elation for her outfield play but also did a large chuck of the pitching
"When i had to nominate girls for positions, I just looked at the stats and she was always near the top. she was 5-2 on the mound. Pithed some tough games. But I factor everything. She had no errors in the outfield. She started as a freshman she was a first teamer same as her sophomore year."
Tonn batted .360, with a slugging average of .400, an on base percentage of .448. She led off the order and scored 21 runs, had15 RBIs. Had 15 stolen bases.
Coleman took the second most second team votes. The Cougars were the conferences best team this season, going perfect in conferences play to take the M&O crown.
Much of the success they experience had to do with the fact that they were the most well rounded team in the area. Whether it was hitting, pitching or fielding these girls got the job done.
Receiving co-mvp honors was the Cougars three year mound ace Annabelle Kotecki. She struck out 142 batters and walked only eight. She finished with a 1.48 ERA.
"I think she was head shoulders above all other pitchers," said Coleman head Coach Jean LeVash. "She dedicated herself in the off season and Signicanft improved. During the offseason her dad and her were regularly pitching and working on being able to fine tune her pitches. She also spent a lot of time in the wight room. But the biggest imporvement i saw was how she cut down on the walks only walking eight hitters all season."
But Kotecki is just a junior so Coleman will have another year to see this young mound talent develop further.
"I'm super excited about next year," said LeVash. We are are going to be young, so to be able to come back and lead the conference again is going to be tremodeous challenge."
Coleman's second first team vote came with the election of Ashlee Mayer for her infield play. She batted .551 in the number three spot for the Cougars.
The Cougar senior did it all at third base for the Cougars. When the ball came her way you could expect the play to be made without error. But fielding was only half off what made Mayer so dangerous. Her hitting showed a significant improvement from last season.
"Ashlee Mayer is a quite leader. She really improved her game," said Levash. "She moved up to number three in our hitting order. Having Ashlee at three, Marianna at four and Beth five was a winning combination."
LeVash took time make note of how natural Mayer was on the field.
"I think with ashlee she has a lot of natural ability," said LeVash. She was quick at third base which is what you need. But one other thing I always liked seeing was how she would try to figure out the signals and was pretty good at it. It just shows how smart of a player she was for us.
Also joining the first team list was senior Marinana Meissner. She batted .600 which goes to show just how dangerous she was at the plate.
Mar is one of the most gifted athletes I've ever coached," said LeVash. She's a very dangerous hitter and was one of the fastest girls on our team. In fact she had the speed to beat out a dribble hit and one time this season got a triple off a bunt. But her hitting is just the start, when she's on base she is dangerous keeps everyone on their toes. She was the whole package for us strength, speed and smarts, just a great player."
LeVash took a moment to mention her team and the greatness they achieved this season.
"It was definitely a team effort this year," said LeVash. "We were solid from top to bottom. Its the first year I had that kind of depth. But most of all these girls enjoyed the game. They were great friends and I just had so much fun with this team. Best team I've ever coached. We were a softball family."
Kotecki and Meissner both received All-State First Team elections and first team all district votes. Levash hopes this will become tradition amongst her team.
Niagara got two first team elections with the appointment of Taylor Tushoski and Sydney Loukus.
Receiving a first team vote for her inflamed play was Taylor Tuskoski a Badger senior.
She played third base and batted a .524 average, she had 45 put outs one error.
"One of the hardest working players Ive ever had here in my five years," said Niagara Head Coach Duane Blagec. "She has earned every accolade because she was the heart and soul of out team."
I actually made a Special award this year. At the Sports banquet, Peyton Aderman all conference last year and Tushoski earned it this year. Just such hard workers. I called the award the Some Gave All Award. Its an award I'm going to hand every year if someone is deserving. But these two made me create it. Four years ago I said someone is going to have to take over and lead this team. Said I was looking for leaders and those two went above and beyond.
Niagara also received another first team vote in the election of junior Sydney Loukus at Utility
"She truly was utility player. She played seven game shortstop and another seven at second base."
Loukus had a .380 batting average, recored 42 put outs at short and second. Had only three errors on the season while playing two positions.
"My pitching isn't where we need it to be," said Blagec. "Right handers were swatting the ball at second and third all season . So for those two to have so few errors was just fantastic to see."
Blagec made mention of how excited he is for the future of the Niagara softball program.
"I'd summarize the season as losing four senior starters but the future looks pretty bright," said Blagec. "These freshman and sophomores are going to be awesome. We will be nobodies whipping dog any more. The program took over now and we have seven year olds playing ball and we have experienced players coming in. So no more rebuilding here. We have a lot of talent and the future is bright."
Also making the first team were Lena/STAA's Ally Demmith for her play at first base and Crivitz's Talor Long who earned her spot in the outfield for the Wolverines.
The second team was consisted of Wausaukee's Lexi Zak, Torri Jewett and Sammy Gruszynski. Coleman's Lauren Osterberg and Kyla Manning. Lena/STAA's Marley Carviou and Amelia Benson. Peshtigo's Abbie Lindbom and Madio Martin. Gillett/Suring's Greta Sleeter and Faith Sorlie. Niagara's Peyton Aderman and Crivitz's CeCe Johnsen.
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