Area softball players in All-Star games
Some of the most accomplished players from the Stateline will represent their respective schools one final time during the annual Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association senior All-Star games.
Area athletes from all four divisions are scheduled to participate in the contests, which will be played at the Woodside Sports Complex in Wisconsin Dells on Tuesday, June 14.
Division 1 will feature six teams, D-2 includes five and divisions 3 and 4 have three teams. Seventeen games are planned, with every squad competing at least twice during five rounds of match-ups.
Southern Lakes Conference rivals Delavan-Darien and Elkhorn are sending two players apiece to the Division 2 games.
Comets teammates Jenna Speth and Katelyn Gonzalez will be on the White team along with Hailey Wang of the Elks. The second Elkhorn performer, Carolyn Griswold, is one the Red squad that also features Evansville's Kyla Litsheim.
DDHS coach Hank Johnson couldn't have asked for a better combination than Speth and Gonzalez, who formed one of the top batteries around with the former an ace on the mound and the latter behind the plate.
Speth was special in many ways. Offensively, she finished the regular season leading the Comets in nearly every category, including 47 hits, 15 doubles, 12 home runs, 100 total bases, 47 RBIs, nine stolen bases, average (.580), on-base percentage (.660), slugging percentage (1.235) and OPS (1.895).
Not to mention, she has been one of the state's top pitchers throughout her prep career. In 2016, the University of Illinois-Chicago recruit finished 13-6, striking out 237 batters and walking only 28 in 135.2 innings. She allowed 93 hits and a miniscule .180 batting average while compiling a 1.65 earned run average, tossing eight shutouts and 19 complete games and chipping in two saves.
Gonzalez contributed five doubles, a homer and 21 RBIs, finishing with a .245 batting average. She also was the rock at catcher, committing only one passed ball.
Meanwhile, coach Steve Remington knows he will be losing two good ones in Wang and Griswold, four-year letter winners.
“They were team captains for our young, inexperienced team and have shown leadership this season,” Remington said. “Carolyn has carried the pitching load this season and led the team in RBIs. Hailey played second base and some outfield. She was the spark to our offense … when she gets on, things happen.”
Wang will play at Dubuque University next year, while Griswold is joining the program at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Michaela Schumacher of Whitewater will represent the D-2 Blue team. Coach Ron Sdano said the Whippets' standout overcame an obstacle this year to turn in another fine season.
“Unfortunately, she got into some trouble this spring and had to sit out five games,” Sdano said of the four-year letter winner. “She still had a good year, but not as good as 2015. She has outstanding career stats as you can see.”
Schumacher was a first team All-Rock Valley and honorable mention all-district selection as a junior utility player after batting .513 (41 of 80) with a .576 on-base percentage and .825 slugging effort, scoring 32 times while knocking in 23 runs. She contributed 19 extra-base hits, including 14 doubles.
This past season, Schumacher hit .377 to finish her career with a .393 average.
“She also pitched throughout her career,” Sdano said, highlighting her 8-9 mark and 3.44 ERA as a junior. “She only pitched two innings this year because we needed her at catcher. Schumacher has a scholarship to play at NCAA Division II program Upper Iowa.
Williams Bay's Taylor Scott is another multitalented player, primarily lining up at third base but also seeing action at catcher.
“Where do I begin and where do I stop?” Bulldogs coach Jeff Kuespert said. “Taylor is the type of player that does not come along too often. In my 17 years at Williams Bay, she is one of three kids to be first team all-conference all four years, including Player of the Year this year. I can't say enough about this kid.”
Scott will play for the Division 4 Black squad after becoming the school's career record holder in plate appearances (322), runs scored (141), hits (132), triples (15), stolen bases (106, second in Wisconsin history) and hit by pitches (12). She also established a state record with eight stolen bases in a game.
Meanwhile, not many players have traveled as far in getting to this point as Parkview's Maddie Melms, who represents the D-3 Red unit.
In August 2015, she competed with a junior national team through the American International Sports Teams program.
“I traveled to different cities in Italy and played softball,” Melms said. “We played Italy's travel teams and then the last game we played was against its national team, which was made up of some girls who played at Berkley (University of California). It was a great experience because it was my first time leaving the country, and to play softball was incredible. I think that experience taught me how to be a better teammate, and now those girls and I have a group chat and our friendships haven't ended.”
Melms definitely took advantage of the opportunity, registering 21 hits in 41 official plate appearances for a .512 batting average. Melms finished with two doubles, two triples and seven RBIs. She had a .659 slugging percentage, .556 on-base percentage and 1.215 OPS.
The team captain and No. 3 batter in the Vikings' order also committed only one error.
She earned her fourth All-Rock Valley Conference honor and will be heading to UW-Platteville.
Beloit Memorial's Maria Sanchez, a four-year varsity performer, will play for the Division 1 Green team that also includes Milton's Mackenzie Terrill.
Memorial coach Vicki Noss said fans need to know only one thing about Sanchez to see what kind of player she is.
“She has gone over temporary fences to catch a fly ball.”
Sanchez has played third base, first base and pitcher, but center field is her best spot.
Her stats line included a .453 batting average, five doubles, two triples, a homer, 11 RBIs and 15 runs scored.
Sanchez earned honorable mention in the Big Eight as a sophomore and made the second team in 2015.
“She is an outstanding player and leader and a great student-athlete who loves softball,” Noss said.
Burlington teammates Dani Koenen and Talyn Lewis will present the D-1 Gray team.