Madison County is loaded with high school softball talent.
All four schools in the county had athletes make All-Central District this spring, while a couple standout athletes were even selected first-team All-Ohio.
The softball program at Jonathan Alder has risen to the top of the food chain in terms of which teams are playing the best and have the most talent.
Three Lady Pioneers were selected Division II first team All-Central District this season, all of them juniors who are expected to return in 2016.
Alder as a team was 23-4 and lost in the D-II district championship game to eventual state champion Granville. With three of the 15 players on the first team all-district team you can understand why coach Dave McGrew is already looking forward to next season.
“Our program has come a long way,” McGrew said. “Two years ago we had never been to the district, now we have three kids on the first team All-District. The sport is red-hot on Plain City right now.”
Junior second baseman Tori Walker was a first team All-Central District pick and was also selected first team D-II All-Ohio. She hit .511 for the Lady Pioneers.
Junior outfielder Maddie Johnston was also a first-team All-Central District pick after hitting exactly .500 this spring. Junior Mady Watson, perhaps the Pioneers best all-around player, missed a couple key weeks in the middle of the season due to an ankle injury, but that didn’t stop her from being the team’s top pitcher and one of the top hitters and a first team all-district.
Another Lady Pioneer earning district honors was junior shortstop Taylor Gaerke, who picked up second team honors. London junior outfielder Baylee Semler was also a second team selection.
Red Raiders senior Lauren Miller, a standout pitcher and outfielder, was an honorable mention all-district selection.
West Jefferson also reached a district championship game, ultimately losing to state runner-up Bloom-Carroll.
The Roughriders were 19-6 and were led by senior catcher Taylor Bowman, who was not only first team all-district, but also a first team All-Ohio.
Bowman, a Ohio University-bound standout, hit .524 this spring, hit six home runs, drove in 28 runs and had a .915 slugging percentage. West Jefferson faced some of the best pitchers in the area including Bloom-Carroll (twice), North Union, Cardington, Pickerington Central and Urbana.
Roughriders teammate, Taylor Kauser, a senior outfielder was a second team All-Central District selection. She was joined on that squad by Madison-Plains sophomore third baseman Macey Long.
West Jefferson senior shortstop Madison Gatley and Plains’ junior catcher Shelby Puckett were both all-district honorable mention selections.
Chris Miles can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.