WELLINGTON — She spent two seasons with Elyria, pitched the Pioneers to two conference and two district championships, led them through two regionals into a pair of Division I Final Four appearances and, this year, to the state championship game.
On Tuesday night at Wellington Community Park she received two prestigious awards at the annual Lorain County Senior All-Star games sponsored by the county Softball Coaches Association.
Youngstown State recruit Caitlyn Minney was chosen Lorain County Miss Softball 2013 and was named the county’s Player of the Year.
Minney is the sixth Elyria player to win the Miss Softball plaque.
More photos below.
She is the first in the county to win both honors since Elyria Coca-Cola and the coaches association began handing out separate awards in 2010.
Tuesday’s presentations marked the first time since then that both honors have been given at the season-ending all-star games.
Minney, who pitched in Saturday’s state final against North Canton Hoover, said she was delighted.
“I was hoping I would get it, but near the end of the season there were so many people who just stepped it up and played really good, I really wasn’t thinking I was going to get it,” she said.
“I’m excited, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, my coach (Ken Fenik) and my parents. I’m just really happy. It’s a privilege.”
The Miss Softball distinction has been a goal, she said.
“Since my freshman year, I remember all the great players and I would look up to them,” she said. “I know Tess (Sito) and Kristen (Boros) won it and it’s something I really wanted. I’m glad I got it.”
Fenik said Minney has a bright future.
“Youngstown State is getting a good one,” he said. “Cait has great potential. She has been a dominating pitcher for us. No one player can do it alone, but her consistently outstanding work helped take us to two straight state tournaments and a state championship game. Not many coaches can say that about their pitcher.”
Minney excelled this spring despite facing several hardships. At one point, she suffered a concussion. She also came down with strep throat and in April suffered a broken finger when she was hit by a pitch at Keystone’s Prebis Memorial Classic in LaGrange.
“I’ve gone through a lot, but everybody on the team has,” she said. “To come back from that, I feel great now. It was a team battle. It would have been nice to win a state title, but state runner-up’s not bad at all. The last 10 games, we really picked it up, but this whole thing has been just a really great experience.”
Elyria defeated Mason of the Cincinnati area in its state semifinal game Thursday, then lost 7-0 to old nemesis North Canton Hoover in Saturday’s final.
Minney transferred to Elyria from Keystone after her freshman season. By rule, she could not play for the Pioneers as a sophomore, but became the team’s No. 1 pitcher last year as a junior.
She went 21-2 in 2012, leading the Pioneers to a state semifinal. She crafted a 1.27 ERA, with 171 strikeouts and just 24 walks in 143 innings. She faced 546 batters, who combined for a .167 average. She appeared in 24 games, starting 23.
Minney improved this season, going 22-4 with a 1.02 ERA and hurled Elyria into the state championship game. In 165 innings, she struck out 219 and walked only 40.
A telling statistic: she faced 631 batters, who hit .139 against her. Minney appeared in 28 games this season, and started 27.
Miss Softball/Player of Year
- 2013 — Caitlyn Minney, Elyria (both awards)
- 2012 — Kenzie Conrad, Keystone, Miss Softball; Erin Pond, Keystone, Player of Year
- 2011 — Kristen Boros, Elyria, Miss Softball; Sydney Mencke, Midview, Player of Year
- 2010 — Melissa Rennie, Wellington, Miss Softball; Jen Solanics, Columbia, Player of Year
Lorain County Miss Softball
- 2009 — Tess Sito, Elyria, and Kara Dill, Keystone
- 2008 — Jillian Van Wagnen, Admiral King
- 2007 — Sarah Stromack, Keystone
- 2006 — Kristie Malinkey, Keystone
- 2005 — Alex Boros, Elyria
- 2004 — Christina Swiers, Amherst
- 2003 — Brittney Robinson, Keystone
- 2002 — Jess Jesko, Firelands
- 2001 — Megan Meyer, Vermilion
- 2000 — Lacey Reichert, Amherst
- 1999 — Amie Leffew, Keystone
- 1998 — Rachel Baran, Firelands
- 1997 — Kim Evans, Keystone
- 1996 — Laura Dragan, North Ridgeville and Tammy Yount, Elyria
- 1995 — Jamie Cendrosky, Keystone
- 1994 — Amy Johnson, Keystone and Sarah Martin, Keystone
- 1993 — Ashley Anderson, Elyria
- 1992 — Heather Zehel, Amherst and Cassie Wilmoth, Firelands
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.