Area has 37 all-state players

Now this truly is an all-state team.

A week ago, the baseball all-state team was released but it raised as many questions as answers, especially since seemingly half the state’s teams, including some of its best, never have players considered since their coaches do not belong to the High School Baseball Coaches Association which selects the team.

The all-state softball teams came out Saturday. And these four teams are chosen the right way. Started by St. John Neumann coach Mark Temons three years ago, this all-state team is chosen by coaches and sportswriters throughout the state. No district, no team, no media outlet goes without notice and without having a chance to nominate, make cases and select players. It is similar to how the football and basketball teams are chosen and should be the model for baseball in the future too.

Despite the questionable voting process, several area baseball players deservedly were honored last week. Even more softball were chosen yesterday and there are no questions surrounding how this team was picked.

This has long been one of the state’s premier softball areas and it was proven to be so again Saturday as 37 players received all-state recognition, including Milton’s Mackenna Miller who earned Class AAA Player of the Year. The area produced nine first teamers, 14 second teamers and 14 honorable mentions.

First Teamers

Class AAA

Taylor Batman, DH, Milton: The senior led Milton in both home runs and RBIs. Batman hit close to .500 while slamming five home runs and adding 29 RBIs as Milton captured the HAC-I championship.

Averie Lorson, 2B, Jersey Shore: The junior anchors Jersey Shore’s defense and is one of the state’s premier defenders, making plays few others can. She also is an excellent No. 2 hitter, bunting well while hitting .333 and scoring 17 runs.

Mackenna Miller, C, Milton: Miller becomes Milton’s second softball player to earn Player of the Year honors. In addition to being a fantastic catcher who let just one runner steal in the last two years, Miller also was the area batting champion, hitting .549 with 39 hits, three home runs and a district-high 43 runs. The four-year starter was a five-tool player who never struck out last season and who opened the season with a 12-game hitting streak. Miller will play at IUP next spring and tied the program-record for hits in a season.

Brianna Stetts, OF, Jersey Shore: The sophomore had a huge breakout season and developed into an elite outfielder. Stetts made just one error and displayed a strong arm from right field. She pitched well too, winning six games and was one of the area’s top hitters. Stetts hit .457 with 24 RBIs.

Class AA

Kendall Watkins, 3B, Loyalsock: Already receiving Division I interest, Watkins has one of the district’s best and most powerful swings and also excels defensively. Watkins hit .514 with six home runs, 28 RBIs and 31 runs while compiling a .916 slugging percentage. Watkins also homered twice in a playoff win over Wyalusing.

Class A

Lizz Cummings, OF, South Williamsport: Like Stetts, Cummings made a huge leap forward in 2014 and led the area with eight home runs and 30 RBIs. A tremendous center fielder, Cummings sparked the District 4 champions from the lead-off spot and excelled with runners on base, hitting .816 in those situations. The junior homered in seven different games and finished with 20 extra-base hits.

Caitlin Dauberman, 3B, Muncy: A terrific defender, Dauberman earned all-state and all-conference honors for a second straight year while helping Muncy repeat as HAC-III champions. The senior hit .370 and drove in 18 runs while stealing nine bases without getting caught. She helped Muncy win 34 games the last two years.

Rachel Hite, OF, Montgomery,: A four-year starter, Hite made nice strides each season and finished her scholastic career in impressive fashion, earning all-state honors for a second time. Hite played tremendous defense and hit .446 with 18 runs as Montgomery made a late rally to reach districts for an 11th straight year.

Amanda Kustanbauter, P, Muncy: The best pitcher in Muncy history, Kustanbauter shined in big games, was a rock of consistency and set program records for wins and strikeouts. A two-time all-state selection, Kustanbauter went 15-4 with a 1.04 ERA and 100 strikeouts. She struck out 12 in her final scholastic game and won 32 games the last two years.

Second Team

Class AAAA

Moriah Lindsey, OF, Central Mountain: Helping ignite a dangerous offense, Lindsey hit .441, scored 22 runs and made no errors.

Rachael Shady, P, Central Mountain: One of the most valuable players on a District 6 finalist, Shady went 12-2 with a 1.67 ERA and struck out 73.

Class AAA

Bethany Brennan, OF, Milton: Brennan provided strong defense and also was one of Milton’s top hitters, batting close to .400.

Kiah Brink, SS, Milton: As good a defender as there was in District 4, Brink had no weakness and was a strong No. 2 hitter, batting .426 with 14 sacrifice bunts.

Class AA

Sarah Ingerick, SS, Wellsboro: Only a sophomore, Ingerick already is a two-time all-state selection. She hit .471 with two home runs, 17 RBI and 16 runs as Wellsboro reached the district semifinals for the first time in six years.

Alexa Singer, OF, Wellsboro: She was one of the area’s best pitchers but earns her honor because of her strong defense and offense. Singer had 13 extra-base hits and three home runs.

Class A

Rachel Danneker, C, St. John Neumann: One of Neumann’s all-time best players, Danneker was a fantastic catcher who threw out the majority of runners who tried stealing while making just one error. She also helped Neumann make a seven-win improvement, hitting .442 with 24 runs and 22 RBIs.

Maddie Dincher, 3B, St. John Neumann: A reliable defender who will play at Lock Haven next spring, Dincher hit .371 with a .506 on-base percentage and ignited Neumann’s offense from the lead-off spot.

Kelsey Gantz, 3B, South Williamsport: One of the district’s top hitters during the season’s second half, Gantz hit .434 with 10 extra-base hits and 27 RBIs. She was a clutch hitter too, batting .515 with runners in scoring position.

Kaylie Harer, SS, Montgomery: A Kutztown recruit and a two-time all-stater, Harer made her final season a great one, hitting .447 with a .545 on-base percentage, 13 RBIs and 23 runs. Harer also was a first team HAC-III all-star.

Natalie Lamoreaux, 2B, Muncy: Lamoreaux made a tremendous return after missing 2013 with a devastating knee injury, tearing her ACL, MCL and LCL. Few could tell she had once been so seriously injured. Lamoreaux, a Messiah-bound senior, was outstanding defensively, making just one error in 22 games and also hit .415 with a .653 on-base percentage.

Emily Shnyder, 1B, Muncy: The former Montgomery first baseman had little trouble after moving from Montgomery. Shnyder hit .391 and played flawless defense, never making an error in 22 games.

Kalynn Wheeland, SS, South Williamsport: The Bloomsburg-bound shortstop earned her third all-state selection and played her best softball while helping South capture its first district championship since 2006. An elite defender, Wheeland anchored the defense and also hit .419 with four home runs, 28 RBIs and 28 runs.

The following 14 players earned honorable mention all-state in their respective classes: Jess Allen, SS, Jersey Shore; Hanna Cioffi, 2B, Montoursville; Kaitlyn Cowfer, 3B, Jersey Shore; Allison Czap, C, Loyalsock; Kayla Gee, P, Loyalsock; Alanna Herrera, C, South Williamsport; Crystal Good, C, Muncy; Bryann Hilty, 3B, Central Mountain; Janelle Konkle, 1B, Montoursville; Morgan Kriner, DH, Neumann; Kay Kay Lupo, 2B, Loyalsock; Sarah Miller, OF, Muncy; Allie Pagana, SS, Loyalsock; Kellsy Ross, P, Canton; Lauren Russell, C, Central Mountain; Jessica Strouse, SS, Central Mountain; Anna Steer, P, South Williamsport; Kelsey Stine, C, Montoursville.

There it is High School Baseball Coaches Association. That is what part of a real all-state team looks like.