Three of the six Crawford County softball teams finished above .500 (Frontenac, Girard, Southeast) and three finished below .500 (Colgan, Northeast, Pittsburg) this past season.
Once again, Frontenac led the way with 20 wins and claimed back-to-back Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League titles with a 13-1 run through league games. The Raiders made their second state tournament appearance in three years and the senior group of Lindsey Gorham, Jennifer Long, Nayna Fields, Sam Bonner, Libby Warrick and Ashton Alex finished their careers 75-16 with two state appearances and two league championships.
Girard, Northeast and Southeast made their respective regional semifinals but unfortunately, all three ended their season at that stage.
2013 MORNING SUN ALL-COUNTY SOFTBALL TEAM
ASHTON ALEX, FRONTENAC (OF)
Hitting in the No. 2 hole for the explosive Raiders, Alex delivered the biggest hit of her career and the Frontenac season in the regional final against Fort Scott. With Lindsey Gorham and Fort Scott hurler Kyenne Wade exchanging zeroes, Alex came through with the game-winning RBI single in a 1-0 win.
Entering the state tournament, Alex was batting .350 with 24 runs scored, 21 hits and nine RBI. She had six sacrifice hits with two against Baxter Springs in the 2-0 regional semifinal win. That .350 average ranked Alex seventh in a lineup filled with eight batters hitting above .300 entering state against Pratt.
RACHEL AMERSHEK, FRONTENAC (IF)
A fixture in the middle of the Frontenac lineup since her freshman year, Amershek finished her junior season (entering state, anyway) with a .424 batting average, .480 on-base percentage, 28 hits and 20 RBI despite going hitless the final game of the regular season and all three regional games.
Before her late skid, Amershek enjoyed seven multi-hit games and hit safely in the first seven games of the season. After going without a hit in a loss to Girard, Amershek hit safely nine straight games, all Frontenac wins. She was batting .491 (28-57) before the four-game skid.
No. 27 enjoyed her greatest run-producing success against teams from Cherokee and Labette County — four RBI against Galena (Cherokee) and three apiece against Columbus (Cherokee) and Parsons (Labette).
Amershek fielded .943 at the hot corner, a position where she has started three years.
SAM BONNER, FRONTENAC (C)
The Frontenac player who arguably looked up to head coach Cassie Buche more than anybody else, Labette CC signee Bonner approached .400 with a .391 average and collected 25 hits, 17 runs scored and 16 RBI during her last hoorah as a Raider.
She added two doubles, three triples and one home run — homering and driving in three in the 15-0 run-rule regional win over Parsons. Bonner singled twice in the 1-0 win against Fort Scott to get her to nine multi-hit games.
ANDIE CASPER, PITTSBURG (IF)
A versatile athlete who played four sports during her time at Pittsburg High (volleyball, basketball, softball and track), Casper added pitcher to her time at shortstop and batting in the leadoff spot for the Purple Dragons.
Page 2 of 5 - In a two-game sweep of Parsons, Casper went 5-10 with four runs scored and four RBI. Casper hit a double in both games against the Vikings. Casper recorded four hits in her final home games against Independence, including three in the nightcap.
Casper signed with hometown Pittsburg State to play volleyball.
TORI COLVIN, SOUTHEAST (OF)
The leadoff hitter and verbal leader (remember, she’s a cheerleader) for the Lancers, Labette Community College signee Colvin started her season in style against the Chargers of Cherryvale with four RBI on three hits, none of them extra base. She stole two bases and helped Southeast to a 17-1 win.
Colvin homered against the Bluestreaks of Neodesha, driving in two during a 18-3 win. No. 25 drove in nine runs for the Lancers.
KALEE EWBANK, SOUTHEAST (IF)
This Fort Scott CC signee pieced together nine multi-RBI games on her way to (unofficially) 21 RBI. She drove in a season-high three against Cherryvale in the season opener, a game where Southeast plated 17 runs in three innings, no, actually two innings since the Lancers went scoreless in the first.
Ewbank collected five doubles and a home run, her blast hit against Girard.
NAYNA FIELDS, FRONTENAC (IF)
This Labette CC signee led the Raiders with 23 RBI entering the state tournament and she picked up a single RBI against Pratt to end her season with 24. Entering state, she was batting .386 and reaching base at a .482 clip, scoring 28 runs and collecting 27 hits.
Fields opened the season with five RBI against Labette County (two in the first game, three in the second) and matched her season high of three RBI twice more against Parsons and Columbus, respectively.
No. 22 went 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts and she fielded .993 at first.
LINDSEY GORHAM, FRONTENAC (P/IF)
Arguably both the premier volleyball and softball player in the county her senior year, Gorham provided Frontenac a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the state tournament with a two-run homer against Pratt.
Entering state, Gorham was the eighth Raider hitting above .300 with a .302 mark and she had 26 runs scored, six stolen bases, three homers and 19 RBI. Her two-run blast against Pratt gave her four homers and 21 RBI for the year.
Gorham, a Johnson County CC signee and four-year starter for the Raiders in every sport she played, collected a 18-1 record with a 1.50 ERA entering state. She tossed 11 complete games and had 89 strikeouts in 112.1 innings.
Frontenac held its three regional opponents — Parsons, Baxter Springs and Fort Scott — scoreless for 17 innings. Gorham pitched 16 of those, including all 14 against Baxter Springs and Fort Scott. Parsons managed no hits against the combination of Gorham and freshman Kennedi Fields.
A three-year mainstay in the circle for the Raiders, Gorham posted a 48-6 record and sub-2.00 ERA during her three seasons. Frontenac made two state appearances and finished runner-up in 2011.
Page 3 of 5 - CARLY HEATHERLY, GIRARD (IF)
Heatherly, who specialized in shooting the long ball during basketball season and medaled at state in golf, showed her power in softball with a solo home run blasted over the center field scoreboard at Southeast High School.
Girard plated 29 runs over a doubleheader sweep of the Lancers and collected 11 extra-base hits — seven doubles, one triple and three homers.
In the first game against Southeast, Heatherly went 3-for-4 with three RBI and she fell a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. In the second game, Heatherly collected a RBI single and a RBI double in the same 12-run sixth inning, blowing open a 3-0 game and forcing a 15-0 run-rule decision.
In the win over Frontenac, Heatherly started a three-run rally with a double into the left-center gap.
Heatherly blasted a solo home run in a 4-3 loss to Colgan and plated two runs in a 9-7 extra innings win over Colgan in the nightcap of their doubleheader.
JENNIFER LONG, FRONTENAC (OF)
Undoubtedly the straw which stirred the Frontenac offense, this Johnson County CC signee was batting a team-high .437 with 31 hits and 31 runs scored entering the state tournament.
Long enjoyed 10 multi-hit games, including a season-high four against Riverton and she had three against Colgan, Riverton and Columbus.
Over a doubleheader against Riverton played in Frontenac, Long went 7-for-9 (.780) with five runs scored and four RBI as she helped Frontenac to a 19-2 and 14-5 sweep of the Rams.
Of the 18 regular season games Frontenac played, Long scored at least a run in 14 contests and at least two in nine, including three against Riverton, Parsons and Columbus.
Long earned four All-County selections.
AMANDA McBRIDE, COLGAN (OF)
Early in the season, McBride was part of a thrilling eight-inning 15-14 win over Independence. McBride scored the tying run and fellow senior Abbie O’Brien the game-winning run on a pinch hit walk-off single by Sarah Hughes.
McBride hit a bases-clearing, three-run double in a 10-6 loss to Riverton. She collected a single and a double in a 2-for-3 against Southeast.
HOPE McLEOD, GIRARD (OF)
If opponents recorded hits in the outfield against Girard the past three seasons, they must have went to left or right field because of McLeod patrolling center for the Trojans.
With her tenacious approach on the basketball court against opponents’ best perimeter offensive players, it was obvious that defense was McLeod’s forte.
Her speed made her both a center fielder with unlimited range and an effective leadoff hitter. This speed helped land McLeod an offer from Cowley CC, a perennial stalwart in the Jayhawk Conference and on the national level.
It will be weird next year looking out into center field and not seeing McLeod, as well as Jennifer Long of Frontenac, Tori Colvin of Southeast and Amanda McBride of Colgan. McLeod earned All-County three seasons.
Page 4 of 5 - ABBIE O’BRIEN, COLGAN (IF)
O’Brien went 4-for-4 one night against Riverton, helping Colgan to a 6-5 lead before losing a difficult one 7-6. O’Brien enjoyed a 3-4 against Southeast.
JAYCIE POLHLOPEK, NORTHEAST (IF)
This Northeast freshman earned her second All-County selection of the school year, following her selection for basketball.
Polhlopek led Northeast with a .407 batting average and 24 hits and ranked high on the Vikings in on-base percentage (.507), slugging percentage (.458), runs scored (19, tied with Amber DeMaranville for team lead) and RBI (15). She ranked second in RBI behind fellow freshman Ellie Burns.
The Vikings won six games and expanded their roster to 14 players during the first season of head coach Scott Post, who also took over the girls basketball program at Northeast last year.
OLIVIA POWELL, SOUTHEAST (P/OF)
The No. 1 pitcher for Southeast, Powell supported herself at the plate with (unofficially) 22 RBI and had six multi-RBI games, including five games of three. She hit a home run, two doubles and a triple. Powell tossed a shutout against Erie in the regional quarterfinal.
ALISSA SCHROEDER, GIRARD (P)
What a way to make a high school debut. Schroeder, a sophomore, pitched a three-hit shutout against Frontenac in her first-ever varsity start. She also pitched shutouts against Southeast, Fort Scott and Columbus.
ALAURA SHORT, PITTSBURG (IF)
Playing her final home games at Cheryl Stice Field against Independence, Short drove in three runs, including two in a 8-3 loss to the Bulldogs. Short collected six runs scored and five hits over a doubleheader sweep of Parsons.
Short had five RBI, including a three-run double, in the first game against Coffeyville, Mercedes Vogel’s no-hitter.
MADISON SMITH, GIRARD (IF)
This Benedictine signee made her way back to All-County after an one-year absence. In a 17-run outburst against Fort Scott, Smith drove in two runs and she provided steady leadership as one of the Girard seniors who had played on the state tournament squad of two years ago.
MERCEDES VOGEL, PITTSBURG (P/IF)
Vogel won both ends of a doubleheader in the circle against Coffeyville — Pittsburg blew out Coffeyville 16-0 and 18-1, both four-inning run-rule contests. She pitched her first career no-hitter in the 16-0 win.
HALEY WILSON, FRONTENAC (IF)
Another strong hitter in the Raider lineup, this junior second baseman entered state play with a .367 batting average, 15 runs scored, 22 hits, four doubles, two triples, 15 RBI, a .426 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage.
2013 MORNING SUN ALL-COUNTY SOFTBALL TEAM
Ashton Alex, Frontenac (OF)
Rachel Amershek, Frontenac (IF)
Sam Bonner, Frontenac (C)
Andie Casper, Pittsburg (IF)
Tori Colvin, Southeast (OF)
Kalee Ewbank, Southeast (IF)
Page 5 of 5 - Nayna Fields, Frontenac (IF)
Lindsey Gorham, Frontenac (P/IF)
Carly Heatherly, Girard (IF)
Jennifer Long, Frontenac (OF)
Amanda McBride, Colgan (OF)
Hope McLeod, Girard (OF)
Abbie O’Brien, Colgan (IF)
Jaycie Polhlopek, Northeast (IF)
Olivia Powell, Southeast (P/OF)
Alissa Schroeder, Girard (P)
Alaura Short, Pittsburg (IF)
Madison Smith, Girard (IF)
Mercedes Vogel, Pittsburg (P/IF)
Haley Wilson, Frontenac (IF)