This year was a good one for local softball teams, and that was shown in the impressive number of all-conference players that were recently honored.
Each of the three local teams had multiple players selected to their all-conference first teams, led by three each from Whitehall and Reeths-Puffer. Montague had a pair of players honored.
R-P, this year’s district champion, saw Makayla Thompson, Tori Krukowski and Abbey Mitchelson picked to the O-K Black conference team after the Rockets finished second to Jenison in the league. All three Rockets were also voted all-district and all-region.
Thompson’s successes have been well-documented, as the Kent State signee capped her remarkable career with her usual impressive numbers. In conference play, Thompson pitched 55 of the available 64 innings and posted a 2.04 earned run average, allowing less than one baserunner per inning. She struck out 100 conference batters while walking only 11 and allowed 42 hits in her 55 frames. Her record was 7-2. She also excelled at the plate, earning 22 total bases in 30 at-bats, a .733 slugging percentage, second on the team.
Mitchelson, headed to Ferris State next season, was tops on the team in slugging, posting a .909 number. She also hit .500 with runners in scoring position and stole 10 bases. She walked 5.5 times for every time she struck out in league games. The team’s third baseman, Mitchelson made just one error in league games. Krukowski was third on the team in total bases in the league, with 19, and collected four extra-base hits; no one on the team besides Thompson and Mitchelson had more in the conference.
For Whitehall, which took second in the West Michigan Conference, first-team picks were Carly Hubbard, Kate Martin and Alexis Brown.
Hubbard earned 11 wins for the Vikings and struck out 76 in the circle. She also recorded a .900 fielding percentage. Martin, a third baseman, led the Vikings in doubles, home runs, RBI and slugging percentage, and her 14 career home runs are a program record. Also named all-region, Martin had a .908 fielding percentage and played the bunt exceptionally well, coach Dave Goodrich said.
Brown, in the outfield, was third on the Vikings in hits and fourth in runs scored. She also had a pair of outfield assists on the season.
Montague’s first teamers were their top two hitters in the order, Chloe Wynn and Madison Diamond. Wynn, an adept slap hitter, batted leadoff and was a fixture on the basepaths, and Diamond often brought her in. Wynn was an outfielder while Diamond played shortstop.
R-P’s honorable mention players in the league were Rylee Rzepka, Trinity Westra and Sam Slusser, with Westra and Slusser being named all-district as well. Westra stole a team-high 12 bases in conference games and had 18 total bases. Slusser earned 15 total bases. Rzepka handled 21 chances on defense without an error in the league.
Whitehall honorable mention players were Emily Martin and Kyleigh Martin. Emily led the Vikings in singles, as well as runs scored and walks, and was second on the team in batting average and on-base percentage. Her .955 fielding percentage at second base is a program record. Kyleigh, her double play partner at shortstop, drove in 22 runs and scored 30 more on the season and also played good defense, with a .914 fielding percentage. Montague infielder Bailey Belinger, who had a solid offensive season in her own right, also earned honorable mention.
Goodrich added that Kate Martin was named Whitehall team MVP, Alexis Brown earned most improved player honors, Bailee Spicklemire and Abby Seeger received the hustle award, Hubbard and Kyleigh Martin earned the newcomer award, and Jackie Jacobs was given the coaches’ award.