Elkhorn Area High softball coach Steve Remington says there are two types of players:
Those that play ball and those that are ballplayers.
The Gazette’s all-area team is stacked with ballplayers.
From slap hitters to line drivers, the 2019 team got it done at the plate, in the circle and with the glove.
The following players join Orfordville Parkview junior Remington Stark —The Gazette’s player of the year—on our all-area team.
Izabella Regner was a big reason Elkhorn won the Southern Lakes Conference title this season.
The right-hander was an all-Southern Lakes first-team selection thanks to an impressive junior campaign.
Regner finished 10-2 overall with a 0.86 ERA. She finished with 144 strikeouts, including 18 in a win over Union Grove.
“Izzy’s the real deal,” Remington said. “To have the kind of year she did in a conference like ours really tells you how good she was this season.
“She only gave up 10 earned runs all season against some good competition.”
It was a record-setting season for Erika Reif.
The Milton High sophomore broke the program’s single-season record for strikeouts with 182 and tied the record for wins in a season with 18.
The right-hander finished with a 2.72 ERA and helped lead the Red Hawks to an 18-7 record and a second-place finish in the Badger South Conference.
“It’s a well-deserved honor,” Milton co-head coach Kristy Roherty said of the Reif’s selection. “She worked hard and was a big reason that we had such a good season.
“We were playing our best ball late in the season when we won 10 in a row, and Erika pitched all 10 of them.”
A knee injury ended the 2018 season prematurely for Parkview’s Lauren Hammes, but she bounced back in a big way in her senior season.
The two-time all-Trailways South first-team selection teamed with The Gazette’s area player of the year to form one of the top batteries in the state.
Hammes was a brick wall behind home plate, finishing with an impressive .949 fielding percentage with 41 putouts and 34 assists. She also batted close to .300.
“For Lauren to come back from the torn ACL the way she did and play at such a high level says a lot about her character,” Parkview coach Ally Steinke said.
“She was never completely 100 percent healed from that injury, but she still went out and played hard each and every game.”
Despite missing half the season with an injury, Alyssa Schmuacher put up some gaudy numbers.
The Whitewater junior had hits in 26 of 41 at-bats to finish with a school-record .634 batting average.
Despite playing only 13 games, the two-time all-Rock Valley first-team and 2018 second-team all-state selection had 24 RBI and an on-base percentage of .658.
“What more can you say about Alyssa,” Whitewater coach Ron Sdano said. “She had the best season average-wise anyone ever had at Whitewater, and defensively, nobody really even tried to run on her.
“In her first game back after the injury, she was 4-for-4 against Turner with a home run.”
Abby Humphrey is another one of those so-called “ball players” that didn’t let an injury stop her from having a solid season.
The Janesville Craig sophomore hit .395 for the Cougars and was a vacuum at shortstop.
A first-team all-Big Eight selection, Humphrey battled through shoulder and hand injuries.
“I think the biggest compliment I can give Abby is that she really thrived under pressure,” Craig coach Kristen Worm said. “She wanted to be up in those big situations. I’m just grateful we’ve got two more years with her on the team.”
Haley Remington is probably the most versatile player on the all-area team. The Elkhorn junior filled many roles for the Elks—both offensively and defensively.
A second baseman capable of playing anywhere on the field, Remington had a .986 fielding percentage in more than 100 chances.
At the plate, the two-time all-Southern Lakes first-team selection hit .410 with a .617 slugging percentage.
“She’s one of those ball players that I was talking about,” said her coach and father, Steve Remington. “Her instincts on the field are off the charts. She’s always one step ahead of everybody else.
“I could’ve played her anywhere on the field, but I had her play second base knowing that the majority of right-handed hitters we faced weren’t going to be able to get around on the ball and would likely hit it on the ground to second.”
Remington’s teammate, Madalyn Harding, burst onto the scene.
The freshman shortstop and leadoff hitter finished with a .435 average and led the Elks in a number of offensive categories.
An all-Southern Lakes first-team pick, Harding finished with a team-high 37 hits and 20 runs scored.
“I have to admit that she surprised me a little bit,” coach Remington said of the productive season Harding had. “She was a lot more polished than I thought she would be.
“I’ve never had a true slap hitter before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I didn’t even bother giving her signs coaching third. She knew her only job was to get on base, and she usually found a way to do that.”
Chelsea Naber swung the heavy lumber on the all-area team.
The Janesville Parker senior hit six home runs and had a .740 slugging percentage. She finished with 22 RBI, seven doubles and scored 23 runs.
From the circle, Naber was 11-10 with 105 strikeouts and a 2.92 ERA.
“Chelsea was such a clutch player for us,” Parker first-year coach Bob Getka said. “She hit in the middle of the order, and every one of her home runs seemed to come at a critical time of the game.
“Sun Prairie’s Maddie Gardner, who is one of the best pitchers in the state and is going to the University of Wisconsin, gave up only 18 runs all season in the Big Eight. Chelsea was responsible for eight of them.”
Hailey Elwood was the Kelly Leak of the softball diamond.
Much like Leak, the unforgettable character from the “Bad News Bears” who caught anything and everything while playing center field, Elwood did much the same this season for the Evansville Blue Devils.
The junior did not commit an error all season and earned first-team all-Rock Valley honors. She also batted close to .300.
“Hailey’s very fast, and that allows her to get to a lot balls in the gaps,” Evansville coach Charity Kostroun said. “Nothing got by her in the outfield, and she covered a lot of ground. Considering she started out as a catcher, she’s really turned into an excellent center fielder.
“At the plate, we moved her up in the order by the end of the year because she’s left-handed and is a pretty good bunter.”
Morgan Gransee teamed with Schumacher to form a dynamic duo in the middle of the Whitewater batting order.
The junior Gransee, an all-Rock Valley first-team selection, hit .460 with a team-high 40 hits and 32 runs scored.
“Morgan is a complete player,” Sdano said. “She can hurt you with her bat and with her glove.
“We knew after last year that she was going to be a very good player for us and she proved it this year.”
Two other players were also named to the all-area team. Beloit Turner junior Kenzy Conkle was chosen as a utility player after earning all-Rock Valley first-teams honors, while teammate and another all-Rock Valley first-team choice, senior Gabbi Gaziano, was selected on the infield.