Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Sports

June 15, 2014

Lady Spartans headline AJC softball superlative awards

CLEBURNE — After dominating their district and having one of the best regular seasons in the region, the Burleson Centennial Lady Spartans lead the way in superlative selections for the Pinnacle Bank 2014 All-Johnson County softball team.

Of the seven superlative awards, a Lady Spartan (27-5) received outright or shared four of the selections, led by junior Madison Montgomery, who was named county MVP.

Joining Montgomery from Centennial to win superlative awards are sophomore Eva Scott (co-defensive MVP), senior Ashlee Gibson (pitcher of the year) and Coach Shannon Sullivan (co-coach of the year).

Rounding out the superlatives are Joshua junior Emilie Blair (offensive MVP), Burleson senior Lexi Gracia (co-defensive MVP), Grandview junior Kourtney Cummings (catcher of the year), Godley freshman Abby Reeves (co-newcomer), Burleson sophomore Hannah Loudermilk (co-newcomer) and Godley Coach Brynn Kamenicky (co-coach of the year).

Montgomery led the Lady Spartans with a .580 batting average, 56 runs scored, 40 RBIs, a .613 on-base percentage, a 1.070 slugging percentage, 20 doubles and 10 triples to go along with three home runs. She was also solid defensively at shortstop where she had a .908 fielding percentage. It was also her first season at the shortstop position.

“That’s well-deserved,” Sullivan said. “She’s very talented. She brings a lot to the team, even more than just her skill. She definitely is our most valuable player as far as, if we don’t have her, we’re going to skip a beat. She’s a great player and she’s going to go a long way.”

In the circle, Gibson went 17-3 on the season for Centennial with a 1.40 ERA in 125 innings pitched. She had 105 strikeouts compared to 48 walks and 25 earned runs allowed.

“She stepped up big-time this year,” Sullivan said. “She had to take on a bigger role than she has all three years. She did a great job with that and became stronger in the circle as the year went on. She’s going to take that right into college [at Tyler Junior College].”

Scott was a defensive presence behind the plate for the Lady Spartans and she only committed two errors all season for a .989 fielding percentage to go along with 161 putouts and 21 assists.

“Pitchers really feed off catchers,” Sullivan said. “She made our pitchers work hard. She is only a sophomore, but she was very demanding and if they miss a spot, she’s on them. So that makes a big difference. It’s not just that she doesn’t let a lot of balls pass her or that she can throw a lot of people out, it’s also that leadership role she takes on that makes her deserve defensive player of the year.”

Sullivan received the all-county coach of the year honor for the third year in a row as she has built the Lady Spartan softball program into a perennial powerhouse.

“It’s nice to be voted in for that, but that’s not what I’m here for — I’m here for the girls and they’re the ones that deserve the accolades,” she said. “It’s going to be tough to have another team like this but I think that we have enough people coming back so we can do it again. This was definitely a special team.”

Blair was the Lady Owls’ leading batter as she helped lead Joshua to the postseason, and she also earned offensive MVP honors in District 8-4A voting.

Reeves made a huge impact as a freshman for the Lady Cats, leading them to an undefeated district title while also earning the District 10-2A MVP award. For the season, Reeves was 19-6 with a 1.87 ERA in 149.1 innings pitched with an impressive 202 strikeouts compared to 40 earned runs allowed. At the plate, Reeves boasted a .454 batting average with 29 RBIs and 37 runs scored.

Cummings helped Grandview reach the regional quarterfinals and was voted catcher of the year in District 10-2A for the third straight season. She committed no errors and had one passed ball in the entire season and threw out 50 percent of runners attempting to steal. Offensively, Cummings batted .391 with a .576 on-base percentage.

Burleson, Centennial, Godley, Grandview and Joshua each made the postseason in 2014.

The Pinnacle Bank 2014 All-Johnson County softball teams and superlative selections were chosen by the Times-Review based on all-district results and coaches’ nominations.

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