PREBLE COUNTY — Softball in Preble County is on the upswing. The rosters are full of youth and potential and many of the programs seem to be on the rise.
But while these young players are certainly talented, it was the senior play from Tayler Roell at Eaton that stood out the most this season.
Roell helped the Eagles to six conference wins – they only mustered one SWBL win just a season ago – and started Maggie Neanen’s reign as the new head coach off in the right direction.
Eaton even earned their first post-season win in five years, hosting and run-ruling Thurgood Marshall, christening the new Brooke-Gould Memorial Field.
It’s Roell’s tremendous performance this season, posting eye-widening offensive numbers while being a solid defensive asset that has earned her the All-County Player of the Year honors.
She led the offense with five homeruns and a .489 batting average – amassing the most hits and RBIs on the team. She was also first team All-SWBL in the Southwestern Division.
“(She) was a tremendous player, she was someone who always hustled and made the good plays,” said Neanen. “Tayler will truly be missed on our team.”
Joining Roell is teammate and ace Meghan Puckett. Puckett, a junior, was the Eagles’ defensive leader, pitching nearly every game. She finished the season with a 3.14 ERA and 100 strikeouts while batting .367 at the plate and earning second team honors for the All-SWBL Southwestern Division.
“I look forward to having her for another year,” said Neanen.
Also making the All-County team is Annilou Belvo, a sophomore from Preble Shawnee. Belvo was the Arrows catcher and hit .648 at the plate, earning 27 doubles, seven triples, and four homeruns. She was voted first team All-SWBL in the Buckeye Division.
Tri-County North amassed the best record in the county, thanks in large part to the efforts of Kaitlyn Heindl, their freshman first basemen.
“She made a lot of plays on throws in the dirt look easy,” said North head coach Brian Stupp.
Heindl also hit .316 for the Panthers, amassing 10 RBI and 26 runs scored. She had a field percentage of 97 percent as well.
Joining Heindl on the Panther roster was another freshman, Megan Hemp. Hemp was mainly a pitcher for North but she also played second base. She moonlighted at shortstop and first base in a few games as well.
“She is a player that can literally be placed anywhere and will get the job done,” said Stupp.
Hemp hit .320 for North, scoring 22 runs along with 10 RBI. She also pitched 98 innings, striking out 56 batters and holding a 3.14 ERA.
Also making it to the All-County squad is National Trail’s Alexus Acton. The junior catcher led the everyday players in batting average, hitting .377 on the year, including three home runs. She was second in RBI with 20 and first in runs scored, crossing the plate 19 times in the season. Acton was voted second team All-CCC as well.
Acton’s teammate, sophomore Payten Laird, also makes first team honors. Laird, the Blazer’s pitcher, was second on the team in batting average, hitting .315 on the year while driving in 14 runs and scoring 13. On the mound, she recorded 99 strikeouts while holding a 2.74 ERA over 145.2 innings pitched. She earned special mention honors in the All-CCC voting.
Ashley Robertson was voted Twin Valley South’s most valuable player and also makes it on to the all-county team. The senior outfielder led the team in nearly all offensive categories while also covering a lot of land in center field. She was also second team SWDSCA All-Metro and earned a scholar athlete award from the OHSFSCA. Robertson hit .355 on the season, securing 16 RBI while also holding a .951 fielding percentage.
Lacey Emrick, a sophomore catcher from South, rounds out our all-county team.
“I think Lacey is one of the best catchers in the county,” said her head coach Darcy Robinson. “Very little got by her and she called all the pitches herself.”
Emrick was voted to the second team All-CCC while also earning the “gold glove award” for her team. She finished the season batting .281 with 10 RBI. On defense, she had a fielding percentage of .964 while throwing out 19 runners on 41 stolen base attempts.
Jordyn Worley, senior, Eaton; Madison Couch, junior, Eaton; Haley Napier, senior, Eaton; Sydney Hibbard, senior, Preble Shawnee; Savannah Lynch, sophomore, Preble Shawnee; Emma Walker, senior, Preble Shawnee; Ali Robertson, senior, Twin Valley South; Morgan Helman, freshman, Tri-County North; Hailey Stupp, freshman, Tri-County North