Created:Thursday, June 13, 2013 11:34 p.m.CDT
Updated:Friday, June 14, 2013 9:44 a.m.CDT
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Northwest Herald All-Area Softball Team

FIRST TEAM

Kirsten Stevens, Prairie Ridge, sr., pitcher

Stevens, the Northwest Herald Player of the Year, went 21-4 with a 0.99 ERA and led all area pitchers with 283 strikeouts (11.65 a game). The four-year varsity pitcher was no slouch at the plate, either, hitting .378 with five home runs and 16 RBIs.

Megan Mahaffy, Crystal Lake Central, so., pitcher/shortstop

Mahaffy dominated opposing pitchers, hitting an area-best .613 – 70 points higher than the second-best batting average – with eight home runs and 24 RBIs to accompany a 1.175 slugging percentage. In the circle, Mahaffy posted a 13-4 record and 1.41 ERA, striking out 137 batters in 120 innings.

Bethany Hart, Marengo, sr., pitcher

Hart ended a great career with a 17-8 record and 1.69 ERA during a tough Marengo schedule. She was capable of shutting down the opposition with strikeouts, recording 175 in 174 1/3 innings pitched. Hart led the Indians on a deep postseason run, two wins shy of another state berth.

Kristin Koepke, McHenry, so., pitcher

Koepke was a dual threat for the Warriors and helped them win a regional title. The sophomore, who went 18-9 with a 1.92 ERA, struck out 167 batters. Offensively, Koepke hit .350 and had 13 extra-base hits, including three home runs. Her 36 RBIs were fourth-most among area players.

Lindsay Efflandt, Cary-Grove, sr., pitcher

Efflandt capped an excellent four-year career by overcoming adversity. She didn’t let an unfortunate injury derail her season, finishing 10-2 with a 0.87 ERA. Efflandt was a strikeout machine, retiring 101 batters by way of strikeout. She averaged 1.3 strikeouts an inning.

Sarah Leudo, Cary-Grove, sr., catcher

Leudo, a four-year starter, set the school record for home runs in a career with 13, three of which came this season. Her .365 batting average led the Trojans, and she had a .429 on-base percentage. Leudo’s intangibles were irreplaceable from her ability to call a game to her leadership on the field.

Marissa Richter, Prairie Ridge, sr., corner infielder

Richter was a key cog in the Wolves’ run to the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division title. The senior first baseman was a consistent threat in Prairie Ridge’s lineup, hitting .342 with four home runs and 19 RBIs while slugging .603.

Kelsea Cichocki, McHenry, sr., corner infielder

Cichocki’s bat helped power the Warriors to a divisional title. The first baseman batted .400 and connected for six home runs and was fourth in the area with 36 RBIs. Cichocki added nine doubles and slugged .664.

Alyssa Lach, Jacobs, jr., corner infielder

Lach was a force for the Golden Eagles offensively and defensively at third base. She hit .543, second best among area players, while slugging .952. Lach, who struck out only twice this season, led all players with nine home runs and drove in 30 runs. She was a vacuum at third, making even the toughest plays look routine.

Miranda Peterson, Huntley, sr., middle infielder

Peterson was an extra-base machine for the Red Raiders. The Huntley shortstop hit 11 doubles to accompany three home runs and scored 28 runs. Peterson also tallied 37 RBIs and was a calming and consistent presence on the field for Huntley, often displaying great range at shortstop.

Sam McLean, Crystal Lake South, jr., middle infielder

McLean was the heart and soul of the Gators, and the junior shortstop led South in every statistical category. She set the Gators’ strikeout rate record, set down on strikes only twice in 90 plate appearances. McLean hit .432, including a .409 batting average with runners in scoring position, with 16 extra-base hits (three home runs) and 24 RBIs.

Veronica Ruelius, Marengo, so., outfielder

Ruelius displayed plenty of power for the Indians. Of her 18 extra-base hits, six were triples to go with three home runs. Ruelius’ 37 RBIs tied for second most in the area, while her .413 batting average led Marengo, which fueled much of the Indians’ success this season.

Kate Didier, Prairie Ridge, jr., outfielder

Didier led the Wolves, batting .432, and Prairie Ridge often cashed in when the junior outfielder reached base, scoring 22 runs. Didier came through in key situations for the Wolves, finishing with 21 RBIs, and she provided solid defense in the outfield for the FVC Valley champs.

Abby Kissack, Marengo, jr., outfielder/pitcher/first base

Kissack, a versatile, do-it all player, finished the season batting .395 with three triples and two home runs, leading to 21 RBIs. She displayed an ability to play multiple position and also was Marengo’s No. 2 pitcher, posting a 9-2 record in her third varsity season.

SECOND TEAM

Sparkle Lagerhausen, Alden-Hebron, sr., pitcher

Jennifer Hurst, Hampshire, sr., pitcher

Haley Spannraft, Huntley, so., pitcher

Kendall Huemann, Johnsburg, jr., pitcher

Michelle O’Keefe, CL Central, so., first base/outfielder

Nicky Chapa, Jacobs, sr., second base

Alex Martens, McHenry, fr., third base

Sarah Murray, Jacobs, fr., shortstop

Taylor Carlson, Marengo, jr., catcher

Kimmy Woods, CL South, so., outfielder

Dianna Ricotta, Marian Central, sr., outfielder

Jacquelyn Hengler, Jacobs, sr., outfielder

Brogan Etten, Richmond-Burton, sr., third base

Bria Romine, Woodstock North, sr., shortstop

HONORABLE MENTION

Grace Jones, Alden-Hebron, sr., catcher

Amy Clemment, Cary-Grove, jr., second base

Lisa Semro, Cary-Grove, jr., outfielder

Sara McConnell, CL Central, sr., pitcher/first base/outfielder

Taylor Ward, CL Central, sr., outfielder

Hailee Massie, CL South, so., pitcher

Amanda Eissler, Dundee-Crown, sr., pitcher

Sara Finn, Hampshire, jr., catcher

Jordan Hook, Hampshire, sr., outfielder

Tamara Funke, Huntley, jr., first base

Jessica Shields, Huntley, fr., outfielder

Emily Borg, Jacobs, fr., pitcher/designated hitter

Carly Wilson, Johnsburg, so., shortstop/catcher

Jessica Turner, Marengo, so., second base

Hannah O'Hagan, Marian Central, so., catcher

Alexa McClaughry, McHenry, sr., shortstop

Dana Walsh, McHenry, so., outfielder

Alyssa Doomis, Prairie Ridge, jr., catcher

Claire Bowman, Prairie Ridge, jr., third base

Katie Kroll, Richmond-Burton, jr., outfielder

Grace Schwegel, Richmond-Burton, so., outfielder

Paige Busch, Woodstock North, sr., third base

Kara McCaughrean, Woodstock, sr., second base

Hannah Jacobs, Woodstock, sr., first base