LAGRANGE — Even with the high school softball season nearly a month in the books, the honors keep coming for Division II state champion Keystone.
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association has chosen three Wildcats seniors for its
All-American teams. The selections were announced Monday.
Pitcher-slugger Kenzie Conrad, whose work in the circle and at the plate were key factors in the Wildcats’ (32-0) undefeated season, is a first-team All-American.
Shortstop Erin Pond is a second-team choice and catcher Bri Buckley was chosen for the NFCA third team.
For the season, Conrad went 25-0, batted .485 and became the 10th Keystone player to be chosen Lorain County Miss Softball in the award’s 21-year history. Conrad’s .510 batting average led the team, as did her 11 home runs.
Pond, who was named the Lorain County Softball Coaches Association’s Player of the Year, drove in 47 runs, stole 13 bases and finished the year with an on-base percentage of .598. Buckley batted .489 with 13 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 49 RBIs.
This trio joins a growing list of Keystone All-Americans that includes the likes of Kara Dill, now starring at Kentucky; Kristie Malinkey, the only player to pitch a perfect game in a state championship game (2006); infielder Taylor Bell and outfielder-slugger Jessica Burt. Burt, who played at aleveland State, is now a Wildcats assistant coach.
“I am and the community is very proud of these girls and what they’ve helped the program achieve in their years as varsity softball players at Keystone,” Wildcats coach Jim Piazza said.
“I mean, they’ve helped put little old LaGrange, Ohio, on the map nationally, and I think there are some people out there going out and buying maps of the United States and asking, ‘Where is LaGrange, Ohio?
“We have such great support from the community, it’s a community achievement and Kenzie, Erin and Brio (Buckley’s nickname) have been at the center of what the team has accomplished this season. The fact that these girls have been selected for All-American recognition just emphasizes what we’ve done as a team.
“This will sound like a cliche, but everyone on this team contributed to what we’ve accomplished. It’s remarkable. Not only that, I’m not aware that any other softball program in Ohio has sustained the kind of excellence Keystone teams have demonstrated since the 1980s.”
Keystone won its third Division II state championship this year. It also won state titles in 1999 and 2006. The Wildcats have been to state Final Fours in 2011, ’06, ’05, ’04, ’03, 1999, ’98, ’97, ’96, ’94 and ’92. They were state runners-up in 2011, ’04, ’01, 1998, ’94 and ’92.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.