Ten Galesburg-area softball players were recently named all-staters.
The Illinois Coaches Association selected West Central’s Brynna Seitz to its first team in Class 1A.
The Heat’s Addie Seitz, Ridgewood’s Mya Brown, and United’s Maddie Diaz were selected as second team all-staters in Class 1A.
Also in Class 1A, Galva’s Liberty Anderson, North Fulton’s Allyson Harrold, ROWVA/Williamsfield’s Madison Nelson, and West Central’s Shelby Bowman were chosen for the ICA’s third team.
In Class 2A, Knoxville’s Lexi Harshbarger and Monmouth-Roseville’s Karliegh Ashby were selected to the organization’s all-state third team.
Brynna Seitz always had ‘a purpose’
Brynna Seitz, a recent grad, manned second base for the Heat. Seitz, who donned No. 6, led West Central in batting average (.552), on-base percentage (.644), runs (52), singles (51) and stolen bases (48).
“Brynna was the kid a coach dreams about having — always there with a purpose, always there before practice getting ready, always there late putting things away, and always leading the team. She did everything with 100% effort — no questions asked,” Heat coach Scott Swiler said. “She deserved every award she earned this year. I’ve never been around a kid with such a complete year. Brynna gained speed, gained power at the plate, and gained mobility at second base.
“People think second is where you hide people, and that’s exactly wrong. Brynna got more extra outs with effort plays that people don’t see. Brynna made hard plays look routine. She led our team in putouts; nothing got by her,” Swiler added. “Brynna came in a slap hitter to left side. Brynna’s last hit of her career was a triple to left field. Brynna left a complete hitter that slaps.
“I’ve never been around a kid that smiles even when she fails. I wish more people watched her play because she plays the game the right way.”
Brown served as Ridgewood’s ace
As a freshman in 2021, Brown earned second team all-state softball honors as an outfielder. She served as the Spartans’ main pitcher aka ace this spring.
Brown stood inside the chalked circle for 123 2/3 innings out of the 196 2/3 frames Ridgewood played in 2022. She garnered 15 wins and suffered a handful of losses. Brown allowed 47 runs (29 earned) on 76 hits, struck out 247 and issued 21 walks for a 1.64 ERA and .78 WHIP.
At the dish, Brown ended up with a .366 batting average, .426 on-base percentage, 1.129 on-base plus slugging, and .703 slugging percentage. She had 37 hits, 30 RBIs, 20 singles, seven doubles, and three triples. Brown led the Spartans in home runs (seven), and runs (41).
“This year was a new and welcoming challenge for Mya as a sophomore pitcher. Our conference is heavily loaded with underclassmen pitchers, so Mya was comfortable with the challenge and was consistently a powerful and useful tool to have leading our team on the mound and in the batter’s box,” Ridgewood coach Renae Leander said. “She was unanimously voted Most Valuable Player by her team this year, and she fiercely fought in each game to pitch 10 or more strikeouts in every start she had except state champion Rockridge with six.
“I look forward to seeing where she leads this Ridgewood team and couldn’t be more proud of the work she has put in as an all-around athlete since having her as a seventh grade softball player,” Leander added of Brown.
The Spartans went 25-6 overall this spring, and they ended their season with a 4-3 extra inning loss to Peru St. Bede in sectional semifinal action.
Diaz ‘had wonderful season’ for United
Diaz led the Red Storm in nine offensive categories — batting average (.557), on-base percentage (.640), on-base plus slugging (1.654), slugging percentage (1.014), hits (39), doubles (10), home runs (six), RBIs (38), and runs (35). United ended up with an 8-16 overall mark in 2022, and Diaz was one of five seniors.
“Maddie had a wonderful season for us this year. She had to play a position (catcher) that she really doesn’t care for, but in our situation she stepped up and did a wonderful job,” United coach Marc McMahon said. “Her hitting was outstanding, as her stats say.
“I think this award was warranted for her. Just think, I had to talk her into playing her senior season,” McMahon added of Diaz. “I told her she had a good chance at the beginning of the season to have a special season. I was hoping for a better record but with injuries the girls played wonderful.”
Addie Seitz ‘worked hard to prove herself’
Addie Seitz is Brynna’s sister, and she also made an impact for the Heat, who finished 2022 with an overall mark of 28-7 and ended their season with a 6-5 super-sectional loss to Forreston.
Addie Seitz batted .550 for West Central this spring. She led the Heat in five offensive categories — on-base plus slugging (1.495), slugging percentage (.890), hits (60), RBIs (44) and doubles (20).
“Addie’s another kid who loves to compete,” Swiler said. “Offensively, she settled in great for us in the two spot. Having the ability to hit with power while having speed on the bases, Addie was able to produce a lot of runs as a freshman. Coaches respected her ability to hit.”
And opposing foes and their mentors were aware of Seitz’s abilities inside the chalked circle, as well. She served as West Central’s ace and racked up a lot of innings doing so. Seitz toed the rubber in 204 2/3 innings out of the 220 1/3 the Heat played in 2022.
Seitz, who gave up 11 homers, threw 2,883 pitches this spring, and she had a 72.36 strike percentage. Seitz ended up with a 26-7 record, and she allowed 69 runs (57 earned) on 175 hits, had 235 strikeouts and issued 36 walks for a 1.95 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.
“Her pitching is what stands out the most to me. She came in as a freshman but threw almost 2,900 pitches and grew so much within the year,” Swiler said of Addie Seitz. “The ability to change speeds was huge for her.
“She bought in Day 1 and never looked back,” Swiler added. “Addie worked extremely hard to prove herself this year and now the biggest step for her is keep getting better. Addie’s capable of very big things in her career.”
Galva’s Anderson ‘provided leadership’
Galva was only able to accumulate three wins and suffered 21 losses this spring, and Anderson batted .508 for the Wildcats. She finished with a .580 on-base percentage, 1.275 on-base plus slugging, .695 slugging percentage, 30 hits, and 11 runs. Anderson led Galva in RBIs with 22. She scored 11 runs.
“Libby’s play was one of the bright spots on a team working to rebuild. She was strong in the field as well as at the plate batting over .500,” Wildcats coach Brad Jackson said. “Even though only a junior, she provided the leadership to a team that had no seniors and a group of juniors only in their second year due to COVID.
“Libby’s selection to the all-state team is a very deserving award on a personal level yet also provides incentive to a program struggling on the road to recovery.”
Heat’s Bowman all-stater in two sports
Bowman had a stellar sophomore season for West Central on the hardwood and softball diamonds.
Bowman was also chosen for the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association’s all-state third team in 2021-22. The guard averaged 23.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.8 assists for the Heat, who finished with a 13-15 overall mark. Bowman was named a second team all-stater basketball player by the Illinois Associated Press.
Bowman, who wore No. 8 as a member of Swiler’s squad, batted .479 this spring. She had 45 hits, batted 41 runs in, scored 34 times, had 27 singles, 17 doubles and a homer.
“Shelby is a competitor and will do whatever it takes to do what’s right for the team. Having Shelby in the five spot was a huge advantage for use this year. Shelby always looked calm in pressure situations with two outs or with runners in scoring position,” Swiler said. “Obviously her offensive stats look great but her defensive awareness was outstanding. Shelby had nine errors but was making errors on softballs that most shortstops were not even getting close to.
“Shelby’s anticipation and softball awareness is something you don’t teach,” Swiler added. “Obviously her athleticism speaks for herself being an all-state basketball player and all-state softball player.”
North Fulton’s Harrold ‘has matured’
In 2022, Harrold was North Fulton’s top pitcher and was one of five seniors. In 104 innings pitched, she allowed 45 runs (31 earned) on 59 hits, fanned 156 and issued 23 walks, had a 2.07 ERA and 10-6 record. Harrold batted .489. She had 22 hits, 12 singles, eight home runs, a pair of doubles and 20 RBIs in 45 at-bats for the Wildcats this spring.
“Allyson and I set goals for her this year and her main goal was mental toughness. Ally has struggled in the past when runners would get on due to an error, a hit, walk, hit-by-a-pitch, or when she didn’t like an umpire’s call,” North Fulton coach Melanie Hanlin said. “We set the goal at the beginning for her to be a leader, encourage no matter what, and pitch with a poker face. She did just that.
“I have watched Ally mature over the past four years into a well-rounded softball player that is willing to put her team first,” Hanlin added. “I couldn’t be more proud of the person and softball player that she has become.”
Cougars’ Nelson ‘isn’t afraid to get dirty’
Nelson holds down first base for the Cougars, and No. 83 was named an ICA first team all-stater in 2021, as a sophomore. In 2022, Nelson had six strikeouts with a .496 batting average. In 2021, she had a .455 batting average and was fanned seven times.
Nelson currently has a career batting average of .475, OPS of 1.075 and .606 slugging percentage in conference play. She has 22 doubles and a trio of homers in her two-year high school career. The 2020 season was nixed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“In two seasons as a Cougar, Maddy has set the bar high for her teammates as well as herself. She likes to play fast and isn’t afraid to get dirty,” ROWVA/Williamsfield coach Beau Burnett said. “She plans to raise her level of play and her stats for her final high school season in 2023, as she prepares herself for a successful career at Aurora.”
Ashby served as Mon-Rose’s leader
Ashby, a recent grad, played shortstop, manned center field and stepped inside the chalked circle for Mon-Rose this spring. She only struck out three times in 2022, and Ashby ended up with a .557 batting average.
Ashby finished with a .587 on-base percentage, 1.515 on-base plus slugging, .929 slugging percentage, 21 RBIs and three homers for the Titans, who went 6-17 overall this spring.
“Karliegh was our leader. She was one of our hardest workers in practice. She was always wanting to get better,” Monmouth-Roseville coach Jarrod Hippen said. “She was a leader by example more than a leader by voice. She got better at that as the season went along. She wanted to win all the time. She didn’t care where she played in the game.
“I believe she was the first softball player in M-R history to earn all-state honors. I am very proud of her. She got better every year she was out for softball,” Hippen added of Ashby. “Her roles on the team changed each year. Her freshman year, she was our main pitcher. Sophomore year was the COVID year. Junior year, she settled in more as our centerfielder as pitching duties changed with the emergence of Ailexa Hunter. Senior year, she was our leader both on and off the field.
“She stayed and helped coach JV games. She would coach up the young players and even did some first and third coaching duties in the JV game.”
Harshbarger played big role for Bullets
Harshbarger was only a freshman in 2022, and the pitcher/shortstop played a big role for the Blue Bullets. She led Knoxville in four offensive categories — .batting average (.519), hits (42), RBIs (30), and doubles (10) — in 22 games of action.
Inside the chalked circle, Harshbarger allowed 47 runs (31 earned) on 57 hits, struck out 62 and issued 27 walks for a 5-4 record and 4.12 ERA in a team-high 52 2/3 innings of work.
“Lexi was huge for us this year. She had an immediate impact on both offense and defense,” Knoxville coach Troy Strode said. “On offense, she is an aggressive hitter that looks for her pitch from the time she steps in the batter’s box. One of the most impressive things is that even though she was an aggressive hitter she only struck out once the entire year. On defense, she helped solidify our infield at shortstop.
“As the season went on she really started to come on with her range and situational recognition,” Strode added. “She also pitched a lot of innings for us. She was dominant at times. I was not afraid to pitch her in any situation. I believe she was one of 15 freshman to get all state so it is quite accomplishment as a freshman.”
This article originally appeared on Galesburg Register-Mail: IHSA Softball: Ten Galesburg-area players are all-staters