While the 2019 area scholastic softball season turned into a struggle for a pair of schools, Mount Union continued to pound the ball at the plate and rack up the wins. A young Southern Huntingdon squad had its most successful season in three years and Juniata Valley appears to be on the cusp of turning the corner and returning the Green Hornets to the postseason.
The Trojans’ success this season was helped along by six players finishing with a .400 batting average or better. Mount Union again led the area’s five schools with 238 hits over the course of 649 official plate appearances for a .367 average.
However, Juniata Valley junior Brooke Boonie, who finished with a hit in all but three games this past spring, denied Mount Union a chance at winning the area’s individual batting crown. Boonie finished the season with 26 hits in 53 at-bats for a .491 batting average to edge past Mount Union’s Kadyn Crisswell by .009 and return the area honor back to the Hornet program for the second time in three years. Kady Belinda earned the program’s first individual batting title in 2017 with a .488 average.
Boonie, who placed 10th last season with 20 hits and a .417 batting average, has 58 hits in 137 at-bats for a .423 mark over her career. Boonie also belted five home runs this season, pushing her career total to 10 and surpassing Abbie Zinobile’s previous program-record of eight. Boonie is also tied for second in career doubles with 15 and finishes with 39 RBIs and 45 runs scored.
Crisswell finished fourth as a freshman a year ago with 26 hits and a .491 batting average and seemed to be the favorite to move into the top spot this spring with last season’s top three all graduating. Crisswell led the area this year with 40 hits to become just the eighth girl to finish with 40 or more hits in a season. However, she did so in 83 official pate appearances over the course of the Trojans’ 21 games to finish with a .482 mark. The Trojan sophomore added 36 runs scored and 21 RBIs this spring and heads into her junior campaign with 66 career hits.
This year’s top 10 consists of seven players from the sophomore and freshman classes, including Hornet freshman Megan Belinda, who placed third this spring with 28 hits and a .475 batting average.
Rounding out the top five are a pair of Mount Union players in sophomore Morgan Brumbaugh and senior McKenna Shields. Last year, as a freshman, Brumbaugh had 26 hits and a .448 batting average to place ninth. She finished with 32 hits this season, but did so in 74 official plate appearances for a .432 mark to place fourth. Brumbaugh led the area with 37 RBIs and her 31 runs scored were second only to Crisswell’s 36.
Shields jumped from the 20th spot a year ago with 16 hits and a .340 batting average to the fifth-place spot this season with 29 hits and a .426 mark. She led the area with six home runs this year. Shields also earned this year’s top pitcher honor with an 11-2 mark. She capped her scholastic career with 70 hits in 192 at-bats for a .365 mark, along with 62 RBIs, 50 runs scored and 23 extra base hits, including nine home runs. Shields finishes with a 21-5 career record over 32 appearances and 159 innings of work. She struck out 95 over her four-year varsity career.
Mount Union senior Payton Low joins Shields as the only newcomers to the top 10 this season who also saw varsity action a year ago as well as being the third member of the senior class. After missing the list last season do to not having enough official at-bats, Low jumped into the sixth-place spot this spring with 23 hits and a .411 batting average. She also scored 15 tuns and had 14 RBIs. Low capped her scholastic career with 39 hits in 107 official plate appearances for a .364 average. She also scored 29 runs and drove in another 21.
Southern Huntingdon turned a questionable year into a positive one for head coach Terri Lesley’s 22nd year at the helm. The Rockets put in place a strong foundation for the future with four freshman in the starting lineup and went on to place two of them in the top 10 batting list. Carlee Leidy continued Southern’s tradition of strong efforts from freshman at the plate. Leidy belted 24 hits in 59 at-bats for a .407 batting average to earn her the seventh-place spot, just ahead of Mount Union sophomore Karrigan Woodward. Woodward, who also placed eighth last season with 29 hits and a .453 average, finished with 28 hits in 69 plate appearances this year for a .406 mark. Woodward also finished with a third-best 30 runs scored and drove in another 15. Woodward also posted a 5-3 record inside the circle this season, pitching 54 innings over eight games and fanning 26 batters.
Rounding out the upper echelon are Mount Union sophomore Kaitlin Arnold and Southern Huntingdon freshman pitcher Hattie Flood. Arnold placed ninth with 18 hits in 45 at-bats for a .400 batting average, while Flood followed with 24 hits in 62 plate appearances for a .387 mark. Flood also finished as this year’s strike out leader inside the circle. She fanned 73 batters in an area-best 20 appearances this spring and logged the area’s most innings with 107.1. Flood finished with a 10-8 mark to help the Rockets to a 13-8 record this past season.
Huntingdon and Tussey Mountain both missed placing a player in the top 10 this spring. But, Bearcat junior shortstop Destiny Biemesderfer just did miss the top unit after belting 23 hits in 61 plate appearances for a .377 average to place 11th. Biemesderfer also tied Boonie for an area second-best five home runs this season to tie Christie Lane’s 26-year old Huntingdon record for home runs in a single season. Biemesderfer heads into her senior season with 7 career home runs, which is second only to Lane’s 11.
Tussey Mountain’s highest batting average this spring belong to Makayla Swope who placed 22nd with 13 hits in 45 at-bats over 18 games for a .289 mark.
Southern Huntingdon finished a distant second to Mount Union in the team hitting department. The Rockets had 175 hits in 541 at-bats for a .323 mark, followed by Juniata Valley with 149 hits and a .308 average. The Trojans easily finished with the most extra base hits (68), including the most doubles (47) and home runs (19). Mount Union also had 180 RBIs and scored 220 runs to lead the area.
The Trojan pitching also limited opponents to just a .277 batting average, giving up 162 hits, of which 38 were for extra base hits. Southern Huntingdon followed, allowing opponents 158 hits and a .281 average. Mount Union also logged the most innings in the circle with 135, while the Rockets followed with 128.2.