Bulldog trio selected for all-league honors
Despite new rule changes, three Baldwin High School softball players received good news after their season ended.
Sophomores Tracie Weege and Alex Zordel were chosen as second-team All-Frontier League infielders, while senior Annie Hannon was selected as an honorable mention catcher.
"I was pleased with our selections when you consider four teams from our league went to state, not including our league champion," coach Ginny Honomichl said. "To have two selected for the second team and one honorable mention pleased me."
Weege was excited to earn her first postseason honor as a Bulldog softball player.
"It felt really good to make the all-league team," Weege said. "I got more confident in my position. I just go out there to play and have fun, so I wasn't expecting any honors. It is pretty special."
Hannon was also glad to make her final all-league team.
"It was exciting, because it basically topped everything off after the season," Hannon said. "It's a nice honor."
This year the 13 league coaches faced new rules for the selection process. There was a maximum of four nominations per school, despite being unlimited in the past.
Coaches voted for one pitcher, one catcher, four infielders and three outfielders. In the past they have voted for two pitchers, two catchers, one for each infield and outfield position and one for an at-large category. Coaches are also not allowed to vote for their own players.
One BHS player that may have been a victim of the rule changes was junior Callie Craig. She finished the year with a 0.75 earned run average and a .458 batting average, but four senior pitchers were selected for the all-league team.
"It was a little disappointing," Honomichl said. "Her selection for the past two years has been at the at-large position."
Craig led the Bulldogs in batting average and hits with 27. She also tied Zordel with seven doubles to lead the team.
Zordel hit .385, while fellow sophomore Haley Finucane finished the season with an average of .371. Weege hit .327 and stole 13 bases during the 2007 season.
"For the most part, we batted well. We batted over .300 as an entire team," Honomichl said. "We had averages from .000 to our highest at .458. So, we are batting better than the Royals, which may not be saying much, really."
BHS got production out of its batters and its pitchers. Senior Courtney Johnson and Craig combined to pitch every game for the Bulldogs. They combined for a 1.69 ERA and struck out 98 batters in 19 games.
Honomichl was happy with her pitching tandem, but she knew before the season they would do well.
"We knew that Callie would have another good year," Honomichl said. "Courtney came around well. She had sort of struggled a bit last year, more from the emotional standpoint than anything -- having the mental maturity and toughness to get through hard things. You may have a poor defensive effort behind you or someone may nail one on you, but you just go pitch the next one. She was able to do that this year and that helped us out."
The Bulldogs also lose seniors Kim Gilges, Mary Clippinger and Hannon from this season. Each one will be missed next spring.
"Her (Hannon's) defense behind the plate will definitely be a target," Honomichl said. "We will definitely have to have somebody come along and be as strong defensively as she was. She didn't commit any errors behind the plate. She just didn't do it. People didn't run on her and if they did, we threw them out for the most part. I think she had three stolen bases on her all year. We have some young people that are really wanting that position."
Gilges became a solid first baseman for the Bulldogs and helped their defense in tight situations.
"Kim Gilges was a four-year letter winner and has played a variety of positions for us," Honomichl said. "She ended up this year at what I thought was her best position, which was first base. Defensively, she made us look good. She would pick stuff off that was thrown in the dirt and she made good plays after she handled the ball."
Hannon and Gilges will be playing at Baker University next year. Clippinger was the final senior on the BHS roster. She provided reliable hitting and fielding during her time as a Bulldog.
"We also lose Mary Clippinger in right field," Honomichl said. "She hit No. 5 for us and she was just a contact hitter. You could always count on her to put the ball in play. That's going to be the challenge we have there."
Despite the loss of valuable seniors, Honomichl is excited about one aspect of the Bulldogs' 2008 campaign.
"I am excited for next year," Honomichl said. "Coach (Ginger) Crist and I talked about this and we know we will be faster next year. We will probably have to rely on a shorter, quicker game, but that's exciting, too."