The Pinnacle Bank 2019 All-Johnson County softball superlative awards include representation from eight of the county’s schools, with Grandview’s four selections leading the way.
Four of the eight superlative awards this year were split decisions as Johnson County was home to a talented pool of softball players and teams in 2019, with seven of the 10 teams qualifying for postseason play, including three district champions.
Leading the way for the 2019 All-Johnson County softball team are Venus sophomore Kaylee Davis and Alvarado senior Kaitlynn Woodlee as the co-most valuable players.
Considering the amount of spectacular seasons by many players in Johnson County, the “valuable” part of the MVP award was the distinguishing factor in Davis and Woodlee sharing the honor as the all-county MVPs.
Both Davis and Woodlee played leading roles — offensively, defensively and in the circle — in helping their respective clubs to the playoffs.
Davis boasted a 1.33 ERA with an eye-popping 316 strikeouts while she also dominated offensively with a .549 batting average with 41 RBIs and seven homers in helping the Lady Bulldogs to their first-ever district championship.
“Kaylee is such a valuable player for our team,” Venus Coach Dayberly Spray said. “She is a leader and works hard. She is going to do great things [the next two seasons]. I tell her this every time she gets an award or has a good game. Even on her off days, she stays positive.”
Davis has provided a huge impact to Venus softball the past two seasons, helping the Lady Bulldogs to playoff wins in her freshman and sophomore campaigns.
“It means a lot to be considered one of the top 2 players in Johnson County,” Davis said. “I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and my team. They have not only pushed me to become a better athlete but an even better person. I’m very proud to be beside Woodlee as co-MVPs because she is a great pitcher and athlete.”
Woodlee was equally valuable for the Lady Indians as she pitched in 126.2 of 171 innings with 178 strikeouts against 51 earned runs allowed for a 2.81 ERA and a WHIP of 1.40. Offensively, Woodlee hit .479 with an .894 slugging percentage with 41 RBIs, 37 runs scored and 25 extra-base hits, including 10 triples.
“Kaitlynn’s stats show how important she was to Alvarado softball not only this year but the last four years,” Alvarado Coach Rick Waugh said. “She holds records in several categories where she is first, second and third on the list of best seasons for Alvarado. Her career batting average, pitching wins and RBI totals will probably be in the record books until Jesus comes back. But, beyond her stats she did it all; she pitched, hit and played defense at a high level for four years. She is going to do big things at Arkansas Tech and her on-field production will definitely be missed at AHS.”
For Woodlee, it marks back-to-back years the Alvarado pitcher and slugger is named the All-Johnson County co-MVP.
“I feel really accomplished and I worked hard to get this award,” Woodlee said. “I also feel blessed to end my high school career with the back-to-back All-Johnson County MVP award. It’s a great honor to be considered one of the best players in the area because I worked very hard to get to where I am now.”
The All-Johnson County offensive player of the year award is a split decision between Burleson sophomore catcher Audrey Schneidmiller and Cleburne senior catcher Abby Horn.
Schneidmiller slashed .510/.546/.867 with 36 RBIs, 22 extra-base hits and four homers in helping the Lady Elks to a 19-7 record and a bi-district title.
“Audrey is a born leader,” Burleson Coach Summer Owen said. “She has the ability to take the game in her hands and make things happen. If a runner gets on base, Audrey will make sure they aren’t there long. She stepped up as lead-off this year and did exactly what I wanted, she led off with doubles almost consistently. She is a strong-minded athlete and does a great job being a leader.”
For Cleburne, Horn obliterated the ball all season long with a .526 batting average, .603 on-base percentage and a nasty 1.035 slugging percentage with 29 RBIs and seven homers in leading the Lady Jackets to a 16-10 record.
“Opposing coaches had to come up with a game plan for her and go by that game plan every time she came up to bat,” Cleburne Coach Paul Chavez said. “She was the backbone for our offense. We missed the playoffs, but she was one of the girls that kept us competitive in it and it’s nice for her to be recognized as one of the top players in Johnson County.”
The defensive player of the year in Johnson County goes to Grandview senior outfielder Emily Little. While defensive MVP honors typically go to middle infielders, Little’s defensive presence in right field was invaluable for the Lady Zebras as she made highlight-reel catches and throws look routine. She was also flawless defensively with a 1.000 fielding percentage with 42 putouts and seven assists.
“Emily is one of those skilled and versatile players who could play anywhere on the field and do a fantastic job,” Grandview Coach Ron Holton said. “The plays that she made throughout her career, she could be a defensive MVP every year. But this year she stood out with multiple big-time plays in right field that helped us win games. She will be hard to replace in the outfield and offensively.”
Little also excelled at the plate with a .500 batting average and a .732 slugging percentage with 41 RBIs and 58 runs scored.
Joshua freshman Ditha Gonzales doubled up on newcomer of the year honors as both the District 14-5A newcomer and the All-Johnson County newcomer.
Gonzales was key in helping the Lady Owls to their first outright district title in a decade as she pitched 157.1 innings and won 19 games. She struck out 61 batters and had a 3.73 ERA with a 1.6 WHIP.
“I have high expectations for her and her future in the program,” Joshua Coach Traci Bransom said. “She is a hard worker that gives her time in the offseason and summer to improving her skills, so I know she will get even better with time. The best thing about Ditha Gonzales was her composure. It is rare that a freshman can handle pitching the majority of the season while remaining steadfast and true to form.”
The All-Johnson County pitcher of the year designation is shared between District 17-3A foes in Grandview senior Kami Flores and Rio Vista senior Tayler Edwards.
Flores went 14-4 with a 2.33 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 112 strikeouts in 99 innings pitched. And she was equally impressive at the plate with a .565 batting average, .930 slugging percentage, 55 RBIs, 44 runs and five homers. But her work in the circle was huge for the Lady Zebras replacing 2018 graduate and all-state pitcher Brooke Blackwell.
“Kami put up some big-time numbers this year,” Holton said. “She stepped up for us all around, but especially pitching. She’s been the all-county utility player of the year and an offensive MVP for all-district, so it really showcases her versatility. She’s one of those types of kids that you want each and every year in your program.”
Edwards capped a strong four-year career as the backbone for the Lady Eagles as the District 17-3A co-pitcher of the year as well as the county co-pitcher of the year. She went 11-7 with 177 strikeouts in 109.1 innings pitched with a 1.92 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Offensively, Edwards hit .403 with 23 RBIs, 20 runs and four home runs. Edwards recorded 711 strikeouts in her career for Rio Vista.
“As far as what makes her a good pitcher, nothing bothers her,” Rio Vista Coach Keith Johnson said. “She stays level-headed all the time. There was no obstacle too big for her. She was even-keel all the time and attacks everything the same way. She’s been a joy to coach. She doesn’t make the game too big. She has fun and stays within herself and our girls feed off of that.”
Arguably the deepest position in Johnson County softball this year was at catcher, where Godley sophomore Kenzie Stotts and Grandview senior Katie Roberts share the all-county catcher of the year honor.
Stotts hit .500 with a .745 slugging percentage as she recorded 31 RBIs and 45 runs with a 1.000 fielding percentage defensively to help the Lady Cats to a second-place finish in District 7-4A.
“Kenzie hit lead-off for us all season and did an outstanding job,” Godley Coach Brynn Kamenicky said. “She was that type of player that opponents hated to see walking up to the plate. Her skills behind the plate are just as impressive as her bat. She is very deserving of being the all-county catcher of the year. Watching Kenzie play the game is so much fun because she goes all out every time and you can see her love for the game.”
Roberts, the All-Johnson County MVP in 2018, could very easily have been the all-county MVP this year as well with a .554 batting average, 1.063 slugging percentage, 54 RBIs, 33 extra-base hits and eight homers. Roberts finishes her historic high school softball career as a three-time all-county catcher of the year and a one-time all-county MVP. For her career, Roberts had a .536 batting average with 184 RBIs and 22 home runs in four years.
“Katie is a special athlete on the softball field,” Holton said. “I have had some powerful hitters or some high batting average kids, but not both for four straight years. The legacy that she has left behind here at Grandview will be remembered for a while. She definitely left her mark. With the things she’s able to do offensively and defensively, she is the type of kid that just can’t be replaced.”
Grandview senior Kylee Flores is the All-Johnson County utility player of the year after splitting time at pitcher, first base and designated hitter. She hit .500 with an .870 fielding percentage and 24 RBIs. In the circle, she went 12-4 with a 3.03 ERA with 98 strikeouts and a 1.56 WHIP in 87.2 innings pitched.
“Kylee was a major role player this year as a pitcher, first baseman and DH,” Holton said. “It’s a very deserving award for her. Any time you have a kid that can do multiple things for your program, it is always a positive. High school and college coaches love having athletes who can play multiple positions instead of a player who just focuses on one position.”
And the final All-Johnson County superlative honor goes to Bransom as coach of the year after she guided the Lady Owls to a district championship, a 25-win season, and an appearance in the Class 5A Region II quarterfinals before losing to state tournament qualifier Forney.
“It is an honor to be recognized as coach of the year, especially in a county with so many great coaches,” Bransom said.
The All-Johnson County softball superlative selections are chosen by the Times-Review based on all-district selections, player stats, team success and coaches’ input.