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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 20, 2017

Washington softball team has 6 named to All-Conference teams

By Bill Gatchel | Jul 20, 2017
Photo by: File photo Jessie Buchholz earned a spot on the first team All-Conference.

Six members of the Washington softball team were recently selected to All-Conference teams and Coach Ben Obermann is pleased with those chosen.

“It’s really good to see our kids get recognized,” he says. “Anytime you have a great season, you’ll see some get recognition. We probably had more kids that deserved it as well, but our conference is tough.

“The six selected are definitely deserving and I’m really proud of them.

“They should be proud to be selected as an all-conference performer in our little conference.”

Chosen for the first team were Jessie Buchholz and Morgan Brinning.

“Jessie was a unanimous selection by the coaches,” Obermann says.

“Going in, we thought that was going to be the thing for us. She was third in the conference in hitting and on-base percentage. She was a really good leadoff hitter for us.

“She was kind of our catalyst. When we were successful, she was getting on early in games.

“Early and often, she was either stealing or bunting over other runners or scoring a run. We’re really happy she was able to be a unanimous selection.

“Last year, Morgan was an honorable mention,” Obermann adds, “and she finished last year really strong.

“She picked up right where she left off from last season. She was in the top five in all the offensive categories that we were discussing in the all-conference meeting.

“Toward the end of the year she made an outstanding short stop for us. I’m definitely proud and excited for her to get back in that first team rank.”

Picked for the second team were Kaitlyn Mitchell and Molly Sparks.

“Kaitlyn is only a freshman and that’s a really good honor,” Obermann says.

“She was maybe one of our more clutch performers this year, when you think back to the Williamsburg game when she had the walk-off two-run single. She led our team in walks.

“She’s a very selective and disciplined hitter. Nothing really gets to her mentally. That was really exciting to see her earn second team.

“For Molly, she’s a bulldog and a competitor for us. I think the conference coaches definitely recognized that. You don’t win 21 games without Molly Sparks.

“Whenever we wanted her to take the ball, she did it. She probably was sore at times but never complained.

“She was good last year for us, but took a huge step forward just with how she located. Her free bases allowed was down big time and that was really apparent why she got second team.”

Receiving honorable mention were Megan Mitchell and Brooke Stout.

“Megan was a little streaky at times this year,” Oberman says, “but there was a stretch there where you couldn’t get her out about halfway through the season.

“That’s a good honor for her. She plays a good second base for us. She bats second in the lineup where she can do multiple things whether it’s bunting the runner over or getting a big hit.

“With Brooke, she split time catching for us, which worked outstanding this year for us because our catchers didn’t lose their legs like maybe they did last year.

“Brooke is one who was second on our team in doubles. She was fifth at batting all year and came up with some big hits.

“Catching-wise, obviously catching Molly all year, she raised some eyebrows with the conference coaches this year. She’s a pretty good hitter for us.”

Even though only six were picked for the all-conference team, Obermann says the others on the team are a huge part of the team’s overall success.

“We preach throughout the season that we are a family. Every year there will be kids that get recognition, but they don’t get that recognition without a solid foundation and a solid team.

“The eight that didn’t get recognized by the conference, we know without them, we wouldn’t have won 21 games.

“It’s a supporting cast that sometimes pulls the all-conference performers up and many times the all-conference performers are driving these kids in that are reaching base via a walk or a hit.

“Sometimes it’s the other way around where they are driving them in.

“It’s a full team effort and maybe next year we will get more with our high expectations going in. The higher you finish in the conference usually equals the more kids you get on the all-conference.”

Those on the team earning Academic All-Conference honors were Buccholz, Brinning and Stout.

The Washington softball team ended the year with a 21-18 record.

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