2014 WDN All-County Softball SelectionsPublished 1:49pm Friday, May 30, 2014
By DAVID CUCCHIARA
Washington Daily News
WASHINGTON — Despite the down year for most area baseball teams, softball thrived, all at once producing a collection of elite talent with recording-breaking stat lines.
The Northside Panthers spent most of the season ranked No. 1 in Class 1-A and showcased one of the most vibrant lineups in school history. Their title run came to an abrupt halt in the third round of the state playoffs, but the Panthers outstanding 2014 campaign should not be overlooked.
The Washington Pam Pack spent most of their season riding stellar pitching and exploiting a weak Eastern Plains Conference. The Pack’s season came to a controversial finish in the second round of Class 2-A State Playoffs after the umpires misinterpreted a crucial rule, which would have allowed ace Haley Hutchins the opportunity to work out of a seventh-inning jam.
As a whole, Beaufort County is quickly transforming into a premier county for softball. Here are the Washington Daily News First and Second All-Beaufort County Softball Teams.
HALEY HUTCHINS, P, JR., WASHINGTON
Entering the 2014 season, all eyes were on Hutchins and her polished six- to seven-pitch arsenal. The all-conference selection posted a conference, county and Class 2-A-best 0.71 ERA with 16 wins and 152 strikeouts, exceeding most expectations. But it was her breakout performance at the plate that places her among the top softball talents in the state. She ended the season leading her team in all major offensive categories with a .569 average, three homers and 24 RBI. She also led her team in doubles with six. The sky is the limit for Hutchins in her final season in a Pam Pack uniform.
KENDALL ALLIGOOD, C, SO., NORTHSIDE
If Hutchins was the talk of one side of the county, Alligood certainly owned the north in most offensive and defensive categories. Even on Class 1-A’s No. 1 offensive team, Alligood stood out from her teammates with a team-high .577 average and 39 RBI. She was also second on her team in runs (33), homers (four), hits (41) and on-base percentage (.585). Behind the plate, Alligood was simply masterful, as teams were reluctant to steal on her. Those that did were usually unsuccessful. With two more campaigns in Panthers’ black, this supremely talented sophomore is primed to become even better over the next two seasons.
MACKENSI SWAIN, 3B, SO., NORTHSIDE
Another Northside sophomore put up astronomical statistics in 2014. Swain, just a sophomore, was the most productive hitter in the county from the leadoff spot, finishing with a .557 average and 35 RBI, along with five doubles. She led the Panthers in runs (49), homers (five), hits and on-base percentage (.615). With her return, head coach Keith Boyd should have another dynamic lineup in 2015.
HALEY NOLES, C, SO., TERRA CEIA
Between the two NCISAA schools in Beaufort County, there’s no player quite like Terra Ceia’s Noles. The sophomore catcher was awarded with all-tournament, all-conference and all-state honors, the only NCISAA player in the county to receive the latter. Noles finished with a .565 average and a .621 on-base percentage. While she may not get a lot of attention with two powerhouse softball squads in the county, Noles will continue to prove herself over the next two seasons.
KELSEY LANG, P, JR., NORTHSIDE
During travel softball, teammates refer to Hutchins as “fire” with her high-velocity fastball. Lang, the other side of the coin, gets the job done with a variety of off-speed pitches. She’s known as “ice.” Lang finished the season with an 18-2 record, 1.41 ERA and 88 strikeouts over 94 innings, more than enough to support the powerful Northside bats. Being one of those bats, Lang finished with a .348 average, 21 RBI and 25 runs.
HANNAH MUTSCHLER, C, SR., PUNGO
In a class of talented youngsters, Mutschler, the veteran leader of the Raiders, had the most productive senior season in the county. Despite her team’s disappointing loss in the second round of the TIC Tournament, Mutschler had one of the most impressive stat lines in the conference, batting .501 with three homers, 18 RBI, 12 steals and a .680 on-base percentage. The stellar senior also smashed eight doubles and five triples.
RACHEL LANG, DH/P, FR., NORTHSIDE
While Lang has played just one season for Northside, she’s already established herself as one of the best young bats in the area. The standout freshman finished with a .469 average, second on the Panthers, with 17 RBI, four doubles and a .538 on-base percentage. A dual threat, Lang also complimented her sister Kelsey on the mound as a late-inning reliever and spot starter, posting a 0.48 ERA in 29 innings.
CHRISSY MCKISSICK, CF, SO., WASHINGTON
From the leadoff spot, head coach Doug Whitehead relied on McKissick to spur early-inning rallies and work her way on base anyway possible. Through well-placed infield hits and compact swings with runners on, the speedy sophomore finished with a .422 average, 18 RBI, a home run and a team-high 29 runs.
ALEX ADAMS, JR., SS, NORTHSIDE
Just months after winning WDN Player-of-the-Year in basketball, Adams pieced together an excellent offensive and defensive season as the Panthers’ shortstop. She finished with a .440 average, 12 RBI and 34 runs out of the No. 2 spot in Boyd’s lineup. A slap hitter, Adams recorded worked her way on base via infield hits and line drives to the right-field gap. With the one-two punch returning in 2015, expect big things from Northside’s balanced lineup.
JESSICA CLEARY, SR., 2B, NORTHSIDE
Cleary is the feel-good story of the Panthers season. After beginning the year struggling to get on base and hitting well below .300, the Northside senior turned her season around, recording six multi-hit performances over her last 10 games. Cleary finished with a .407 average, 23 RBI and 22 runs with a .514 on-base percentage, a testament to her patience at the plate.
TAYLOR MANN, SS, SO., PUNGO
ALLISON BRANTLEY, C, JR., WASHINGTON
STYLE MCKISSICK, LF, SO., WASHINGTON
ADRIANA TYSON, SS, JR., WASHINGTON
CHEYENNE FRANKS, SR., NORTHSIDE
TIA HARDY, 1B, JR., SOUTHSIDE
HALEY WRIGHT, 3B, JR., WASHINGTON
MARIAH STANLEY, RF, SO., NORTHSIDE
VALARIE HODGES, C, SR., SOUTHSIDE
ALEXANDRA CUTLER, 1B, SR., NORTHSIDE
HAILEY HARRIS, 2B/P, FR., WASHINGTON
KAYLEE JACKSON, 1B, SR., WASHINGTON