The magical seasons which both the Jonathan Alder softball and baseball teams had this past spring were because both squads came together and played well as a team. But as often is the case when teams have deep runs into the postseason, they do so on the back of outstanding individuals.
A handful of Pioneers diamond standouts picked up postseason honors, including All-MOAC Red Division, All-Central District and All-Ohio recognition.
The Lady Pioneers (28-2) completed the best season in school history by winning the league, district, regional and advancing all the way to the Division II state championship game, coming up just short of the title with a 7-3 loss to Lima Bath.
Senior outfielder Brooke Foster was selected first team All-MOAC after hitting .543 and stealing 24 stolen bases through the regular season. Fellow senior outfielder Ashley Day picked up second team all-league honors. The one-two combo at the top of the Pioneers lineup stole more than a combined 50 stolen bases this season.
Foster was also a second-team All-Ohio selection and a first-team All-Central district pick. Day will play softball at Ohio Wesleyan in college.
While those two seniors led the way, the future is as bright as any other team in Central Ohio as a whole gang of youngsters are scheduled to return, including first-team all-league selection Mady Watson, a sophomore.
Watson was a rock inside the pitching circle as she 21-2 this season, with an ERA well below 2.00.
Mady Watson was also a first-team All-MOAC pick, leading the way inside the pitching circle. She was 15-1 with a 1.86 ERA during the regular season.
Also scheduled back next season are sophomore outfielder Maddie Johnston who hit .536 and stole 21 bases this season. She was a second team all-league pick, as was freshman catcher Kayla Fredendall. Junior Sam Headings, a hard-hitting junior first baseman who was all-league honorable mention is also slated to return.
Other key returnees include sophomore infielder Tori Walker, power-hitting freshman Sasha Hamlin, sophomore short stop Taylor Gaerke and junior pitcher Andi Blankenship.
The Pioneers also made the state championship game and came up short, they too were led by an All-Ohio pick in senior catcher Trent Kaltenbach, who was a first-team All-Ohio, Central District and MOAC pick. He will play baseball at Baldwin Wallace next year.
Also on the D-II first-team All-district team were junior infielder Luke Nees and senior outfielder Zach Ary. Senior outfielder/pitcher Mitchell Eye was on the All-League second team.
Standout pitcher Tanner Gaerke, a junior, was a second-team all-district pick, but he was a first-team ALL-MOAC pick.
The D-II all-district honorable mention team included Scott Peters and Bret Yutzy, while Casey Graber was honorable mention All-MOAC.
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.