KT’s look at the best of the best in high school softball

Published 12:01 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2008

By Staff
Commentary by KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Since I’ve been covering sports for the Washington Daily News, several student-athletes have definitely left their marks.
Several of those athletes went on to play in college, while a couple are now playing professionally. I could easily make a “Dream Team” of the “best of the best.”
I know there were plenty of greats before my time as sports editor, and plenty of outstanding athletes who could make the team now. But this list is about those athletes I’ve covered who have already graduated.
Here is my “Dream Team” for softball.
The easy pick at catcher is Taylor Rogers. This beauty-pageant talent looked good off the field, and sensational in her catcher’s gear while covered in dirt on the field. Rogers was solid with the bat, but what made this former Washington Pam Pack star so great was her defense. She didn’t let anything get past her, while her cannon of an arm was outstanding. Rogers was voted to the all-state team on multiple occasions.
M.J. Williams handles the first base duties on the “Dream Team.” Williams, who was named the WDN Female Athlete of the Year her senior season at Mattamuskeet High School, put up impressive offensive numbers during her days with the Lakers. Williams played at Louisburg College and then moved on to Lees-McRae.
Jamesville’s Nicole Jordan is the second baseman. It’s difficult to assess whether Jordan was a better hitter or a better defensive player. She was equally great at both. Jordan went on to post incredible hitting numbers with Pitt Community College. She’ll compete with the East Carolina Pirates next year.
Candice Sasnett is the shortstop. Sasnett was like a human vacuum on defense playing for the Northside Panthers. She played as a freshman and was an immediate impact-player. Sasnett became one of the most feared hitters by her senior season. She recently wrapped up her playing career with an MVP-performance with Florence-Darlington.
Meredith Knox mans the hot corner. The former Washington Pam Pack star, a two-time WDN Female Athlete of the Year, gobbled up every grounder hit her way. Knox also provided a huge stick for the Pam Pack. She is now earning accolades playing at Anderson University.
The outfield consists of three Ashleys, and all have wheels to cover plenty of ground. The outfielders on the “Dream Team” are Northside’s Ashley Leary and Ashley Rose, along with Southside’s Ashley Nanney. Rose and Leary played on the same powerful Northside squad that made a deep run in the playoffs. Rose was a reliable player with impressive speed, while Leary was an all-around athlete. Nanney was a solid leadoff hitter for the Seahawks. She went on to cheer at N.C. State University.
Kendall Sadler, who was a rock-solid catcher for the Southside Seahawks, is the designated hitter. She was one of the toughest catchers I’ve ever seen, and was a solid contact hitter. Sadler went on to earn All-America honors at Louisburg College, and is hoping to play at ECU next year.
The two starting pitchers are Northside’s Kristen Slade and Plymouth’s Ashley Saunders. Slade was simply fantastic with the Panthers. Her wide variety of pitches made her one of the best, if not the best, pitchers I’ve ever covered.
Saunders was a blazing talent with the Vikings. Her fastball made hitters simply look silly.
The “Dream Team” back-ups are Plymouth catcher Frannie Pittman, Northside first baseman Kim Woolard, Washington second baseman Samantha Elks, Williamston shortstop Mika Gurganus, Washington third baseman Jessica Furlough, Washington outfielder Jamie Lilli, Northside outfielder Tricia Mercer, Williamston outfielder Heather Wynne, Bear Grass designated hitter Lauren Harrison, Williamston pitcher Emily Best, Bear Grass pitcher Lindsay Shaw and Washington hurler Jeri Bell.
Dream Team starters
C – Taylor Rogers, Washington
1B – M.J. Williams, Mattamuskeet
2B – Nicole Jordan, Jamesville
SS – Candice Sasnett, Northside
3B – Meredith Knox, Washington
OF – Ashley Leary, Northside
OF – Ashley Rose, Northside
OF – Ashley Nanney, Southside
DH – Kendall Sadler, Southside
P – Kristen Slade, Northside
P – Ashley Saunders, Plymouth
Dream Team bench
C – Frannie Pittman, Plymouth
1B – Kim Woolard, Northside
2B – Samantha Elks, Washington
SS – Mika Gurganus, Williamston
3B – Jessica Furlough, Washington
OF – Jamie Lilli, Washington
OF – Tricia Mercer, Northside
OF – Heather Wynne, Williamston
DH – Lauren Harrison, Bear Grass
P – Emily Best, Williamston
P – Lindsay Shaw, Bear Grass
P – Jeri Bell, Washington
Kevin Travis is the sports editor of the Washington Daily News. You may reach him at 940-4217, or by e-mail at Kevin@wdnweb.com.