All-Area Softball: No slowing down
Fri. June 21, 2013 at 5:56 p.m. | By McLeod Brown | StarNews Correspondent | email@example.com
Summer Darnell, All-Area softball player of the year. (Photo by Chris Conway)
A year ago, Summer Darnell was thrust into the spotlight for the Topsail High School softball team.
A teammate’s injury gave her a chance to produce in key situations, and she delivered as the StarNews All-Area Player of the Year.
In 2013, the spotlight was on from the beginning, yet she continued to put up the big numbers for the Pirates.
“I was really motivated because of the way last year ended,” Darnell said. “I knew it was going to be a different season because we lost good players. But I knew that if I did my job I could encourage everyone else to do a good job.”
The Pirates finished the season with a 21-3 record, including a perfect 14-0 conference mark. Darnell repeated as StarNews All-Area Player of the Year, leaving Topsail with a 58-6 career record on the mound as the team captured its fourth 2A East Central Conference title in a row.
Having a superior player in Darnell made first-year coach Amber Passwaters’ job much easier as she took over the program.
“Summer led the helm,” Passwaters said. “She was a leader amongst all of them. As an athlete that is very aggressive on the bases, she’s deceptively fast; she’s an all-around good athlete. She got a chance this year to play different positions. She got to play some shortstop, some first base and she was great at both positions. But, pitching is obviously a passion of hers.”
While her pitching ability is the main reason she has gained recognition throughout New Hanover, Darnell’s production at the plate kept the offense scoring plenty.spurred the is undeniable as well.
Entering this year, the senior owned a .468 batting average, with five home runs and 39 RBI. She capped her career batting over .500 as a senior.
If she could change anything about her high school experience, Darnell only wanted to shed a label.
“I would probably want to be recognized as more than a pitcher,” she said. “People would put me just as a pitcher just because they’ve put in a circle in all my life instead of showcasing my skills in other positions.”
This desire to be given the opportunity to explore other positions was a deciding factor in choosing to continue her playing career at Gardner-Webb University.
“It’s a really homey school,” Darnell said. “It’s smaller but it’s still Division I. The other big thing was their academics. I wanted to focus on a school for academics, and then look at their softball program.”
As she leaves Topsail, she hopes her teammates understand how much effort she put into the sport.
“It definitely had its ups and downs but, for the most part, being a part of this team was my high school experience because softball means so much to me,” Darnell said. “I couldn’t imagine that I’d win this award two years in a row but it’s very important to me because everything I’ve put into it. I’m honored; hard work pays off. But I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
UTIL Summer Darnell, Sr., Topsail (Player of the Year): .522 average and 17 extra-base hits at the plate. 12-2 on the mound with 106 strikeouts and a 1.08 ERA with 4 shutouts.
C Taylor Rivenburgh, Fr., Trask: .509 avarege with 12 extra-base hits.
IF Schae Dickson, So., Ashley: Hit .425 with 18 RBI.
IF Jordan Floyd, Fr. Ashley: MEC Player of the year, .547 average, 27 RBI, 13 extra-base hits.
IF Becca Montgomery, Jr., Laney: .525 average with 10 extra-base hits and .925 fielding average.
IF Robbie Murray, So., Trask: Hit .446
OF Kaleigh Bordeaux, Sr., Topsail: .404 average and led Topsail with 41 RBI.
OF Mindi White, Sr., Topsail: .450 average.
OF Bailey Williams, Jr., Ashley: hit .443 with 24 RBI.
P Kim Cook, Sr., West Brunswick: 1.01 ERA and a 10-4 record, 104 strikeouts with just 19 walks.
P Sarah Horrell, So., Ashley: 1.56 ERA and 12-3 record with 56 strikeouts.
P A.J. Johnson, Fr., Trask: finished season with .87 ERA.
C–Kerri White, Fr., Topsail
IF–Taylor Carter, Jr., Ashley; Brooke Holcomb, Sr., South Brunswick; Aleah Thompson, Fr., Hoggard; Charlene Thompson, So., Laney
OF–Kyra Holmes, Fr., Trask; Carlie Savage, Fr., Trask; Ariana Thomas, Jr., West Brunswick
UTIL.–Kaitlyn Adams, Sr., Ashley
P–Shelby Cook, So., Laney; Caroline Gore, So., West Brunswick; Melissa Marks, Fr., Hoggard
East Bladen: Lacey Suggs, Alexis Dawson. Hoggard: Emily Young, Gabby Supak, Melissa Marks. New Hanover: Alex Simmons, Shauna Reufle. Trask: Amanda Ludlum, Kristina Collier.
Player of the Year: Jordan Floyd, Ashley. Coach of the Year: Chip Adams, Ashley. Sportsmanship: Hoggard
FIRST TEAM: Ashley–Kaitlyn Adams, Taylor Carter, Schae Dixon, Jordan Floyd, Bailey Williams. Hoggard–Melissa Marks, Aleah Thompson. Laney–Shelby Cook, Rebecca Montgomery, Elexa Parker, Charlene Thompson. New Bern–Kristen Daughtridge, Mary Grace Lee, Mary Lyons, Taylor Niemotka. New Hanover–Aubrey Bordeaux, Jennifer Delucia, Shauna Ruefle, Alex Simmons. Rose–Marie Payne, Ashley Weingartz.
SECOND TEAM: Ashley–Aliza Holleman, Sarah Horrell, Jordan Parker. Hoggard–Nia Green, Emily Young. New Bern–Kelsey Crawford, Caitlin Solter. New Hanover–Caitlyn Hanley, NyAsia Waddell. Rose–Tiara Little.
East Central Conference
Player of the year: Hunter Halford, Northside. Coach of the year: Amber Passwaters, Topsail.
FIRST TEAM: Topsail–Summer Darnell, Mindi White, Kaliegh Bordeaux, Keri White. South Lenoir–Madison Herring, Brianna Williams, Taylor Sandlin, Mattie Beyer. Swansboro–Morgan Sheehan, Alex Watkins, Sarah Simpson. East Duplin–Makayla Byrd, Lauren Williams, Anna Craft. Northside–Hunter Halford. Croatan–Rebecca Rowland. Clinton–Jordan Pietrola. Richlands–Soraya Kornegay, Mariah McCahan, Casey Lunceford.
FIRST TEAM: East Bladen–Brianna Graham. North Brunswick– Stacy Fodrie, Preston Ellenberg. South Brunswick– Brooke Holcomb. South Columbus– Hannah Lee, Brittney Sellers. West Brunswick– Hannah Stocks, Samantha Smith. West Bladen– Abbey Walters, Taylor Stephens, Nicole Wyatt, Danielle Dove. Whiteville– Haley Tolly, Tina White, Cori Dew.
SECOND TEAM: East Bladen–Alexis Dawson. North Brunswick–Kasey Klutz, Macy Bordeaux. South Brunswick–Ashley Brown. South Columbus–Miranda Harris, Ariel Sykes. West Brunswick–Kimberly Cook, Arianna Thomas. West Bladen–Erica Tanner, Courtney Thompson, Robin Coleman, Kaitlyn Sykes. Whiteville–Brianna Walker, Lauren Worley, Malerie Leviner.
Note: All-Area teams are selected by StarNews staff after receiving nominations from coaches. All area coaches were allowed to nominate players from their own team, as well as others across the area.