by Jamie Harris & Bill Sterner
The sports writers from The Morgan Messenger and The Hancock News partner with the area high school head coaches and athletic directors from Berkeley Springs High School, Hancock High School and Paw Paw High School to select an All-Area Team for varsity sports programs that the schools compete in. With each all-area team there is a player of the year selected for both the male and female athletes by a separate committee.
For the 2019 Morgan Messenger & Hancock News All-Area Softball Team there were 10 players selected to represent the Berkeley Springs High School and Hancock High School. Paw Paw High School does not field a varsity softball team.
This season the Berkeley Springs Lady Indians Varsity Softball Team finished the season with a record of 6-18.
The Hancock Lady Panthers finished their season with a record of 9-8.
The two teams did not get to play each other this season due to weather.
The 2019 Morgan Messenger & Hancock News All-Area Softball Players of the Year are Berkeley Springs High School junior center fielder Taylor Stotler and Hancock standout freshman Megan Oberholzer.
Taylor Stotler was the spark plug to the Lady Indians offense this season as the lead-off hitter for Coach David Michael’s squad. Stotler batted .405 with 30 hits, six doubles, three triples, scored 24 runs, had 10 RBIs and stole 10 bases. Stotler had a fielding percentage of .925 in centerfield. With her bat and speed Stotler was always a threat to get on base and put her team into a scoring situation all season long.
Oberholzer was the only freshman on the all-area team and the talented ninth grader led the area in overall batting average. Oberholzer had a .452 batting average, eight doubles, a triple and a home run to go along with 28 hits. Oberholzer also added five stolen bases, 21 RBIs and scored 18 runs. In the pitching circle Oberholzer had a 4-4 record with 57 strikeouts in 41 innings of work and only allowed 16 earned runs this season.
Also representing Berkeley Springs High School are three seniors Katie Hoffman, Tailyn Michael and Mackenzie Stotler along with junior Hannah Burton.
Hoffman a first baseman batted .321 and finished the season with an area best five home runs to go along with 22 RBIs. Hoffman had a fielding percentage of .857 at first base for the Lady Indians.
Michael an outfielder and pitcher batted .290 to go with four doubles, one triple and nine RBIs. In the pitching circle Michael went 2-6 with an ERA of 4.00 and struck out 19 batters.
Mackenzie Stotler also platooned between the pitching circle and outfield this season, batted .290 with four doubles and nine RBIs. Stotler had a fielding percentage of .815 in the outfield. In the pitching circle Stotler led the Lady Indians with a 4-6 record with a 3.60 ERA and struck out 45 batters.
Burton a catcher and designated player batted .295 with six doubles, one home run, 18 RBIs and had a fielding average of .944 this season.
Hoffman (West Virginia Wesleyan), Michael (Potomac State) and Stotler (Allegany College of Maryland) will be continuing their softball careers at the collegiate level.
The Hancock Panthers are represented by two seniors Leah Keefer and Sara Kerns along with junior Cora Keefer and sophomore Laura Golden.
The Panthers had another strong season under head coach Todd Ruppenthal led by their strong underclassmen roster.
Leah Keefer batted .373 with 22 hits, one home run, four doubles, 16 RBIs and scored 14 runs this season.
Kerns batted .276 with 16 hits, three doubles, eight stolen bases, nine RBIs and scored 13 runs.
Cora Keefer batted .314 with a double, 11 RBIs and scored 11 runs. Keefer was the area’s most dominant pitcher going 5-4 on the season and striking out an area best 103 batters in 68 innings of work. Keefer scattered 57 hits and only gave up 20 earned runs this season.
Golden batted .333 with 19 hits, four doubles, 16 RBIs and scored 14 runs.