Hancock’s Cora Keefer selected as Player of the Year
by Jamie Harris and Bill Sterner
The sports writers from The Morgan Messenger and The Hancock News partnered with the athletic directors and head coaches from Berkeley Springs High School, Hancock High School and Paw Paw High School to select an All Area team for the fall, winter and spring varsity sports that the teams compete in. With each all area team there is a player of the year selected by a committee panel. The all area softball team had 11 members selected to represent the two schools that fielded varsity softball teams.
The Berkeley Springs Lady Indians finished their season with a 7-10 record under first year head coach Davey Michael. One of those seven wins was an 8-4 win over Hancock on the Lady Panthers home field. However, the Lady Panthers returned the favor with a 13-1 win over Berkeley Springs on the Lady Indians home field.
Berkeley Springs picked up a win in the opening round of the Class AA Sectional playoffs. However, Petersburg ended the Tribe’s season with a 2-0 win in the next round.
Hancock went 9-9 this season and lost a heart breaking 2-1 game to Fort Hill in the opening round of the Class 1A Maryland playoffs.
Berkeley Springs places six players on the All Area Softball team led by two seniors. Senior shortstop McKennah Mullen batted .386 with eight doubles, three triples, a home run and 23 RBIs. Senior catcher Hannah High batted .340 with five doubles, a home run and 12 RBIs.
Two juniors also made the All-Area team for the Lady Indians as catcher/first base Katie Hoffman batted .455 with an area best five home runs and 27 RBIs. Pitcher Tailyn Michael made the team as she led Berkeley Springs with four wins in the pitching circle.
Finally two sophomores round out the All Area squad for Berkeley Springs starting with outfielder Taylor Stotler who batted .373 with 24 runs, 26 hits and eight RBIs. Utility player Hannah Burton also made the team. Burton batted .354 with four doubles, a home run and 16 RBIs.
For the Hancock Lady Panthers the squad was represented by sophomore Chloe Stotler who batted .296 with 16 hits, two doubles, 10 runs and nine RBIs.
Juniors Leah Keefer caught every inning for the Lady Panthers and batted .293 with 17 hits, three doubles, 12 runs and 19 RBIs. Third baseman Sarah Kerns batted .339 with 19 hits, two doubles, 11 stolen bases, 15 runs and 16 RBIs for Hancock. Senior Courtney Ruppenthal played centerfield for the Lady Panthers and batted .391 with 27 hits, two doubles, seven stolen bases, 16 runs and 12 RBIs.
The 2018 Morgan Messenger and Hancock News All Area Softball Player of the Year is Hancock sophomore Cora Keefer.
Keefer picked up nine wins in the pitching circle for Hancock and pitched all of the 121 innings for the Lady Panthers. Keefer had a 3.01 ERA and recorded over 145 strikeouts this season and gave up only 62 earned runs. Keefer had a career high 15 strikeouts in the Lady Panthers win over Bishop Walsh earlier this season. She had nine strikeouts in the playoff loss to Fort Hill.
Keefer was also strong at the plate for Coach Todd Ruppenthal’s team as the talented junior batted .339 this season with 19 hits, a double, 10 runs and 13 RBIs. Keefer’s workhorse performance pitching is one of the reason’s the Hancock softball team bypassed the 2017 win total and was the choice for the 2018 Morgan Messenger and Hancock News All Area Softball Player of the Year.