By Chris Chaney
The more things change, the more they stay the same, at least as far as the Southern Buckeye Conference’s end-of-the-year honors for fastpitch softball go for Clermont Northeastern.
As the SBC has released their All-Star teams as well as individual honors for both Player and Coach of the Year in the National Division, two familiar names will adorn the awards. CNE senior pitching ace Emily Anderson was named the Player of the Year for the fourth time in her high school career and Bill Goldfuss was named the Coach of the Year for the fourth consecutive year as well.
“(The award) just means that I’ve got great players who came work at practice every day,” Goldfuss said of his Coach of the Year nod. “It’s not an individual award, it’s a team award and without (the players) practicing and going out on gameday and focusing, they’ve allowed me to be a part of their success.”
Of all those great players that Goldfuss counted upon, Anderson was one of the ringleaders. The Toldeo University signee racked up some gaudy numbers as a Lady Rocket that will keep her name relevant in softball circles well past her time at CNE.
The recent graduate ranks second in career strikeouts (1,265) and career shutouts (66) in the state, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Associations records. Anderson also threw 19 no-hitters during her career, good enough for seventh all-time and won 90 games, which is 10th in state history.
“When I made the lineup card and handed it in, I knew that we had a chance to win (with Anderson pitching),” Goldfuss said. “You may not win them all, but you knew you’d be in the game because she was going to give you an opportunity, it was just a matter if we could score or not.”
Joining Anderson on the First Team All-Conference for their respective fourth times were teammates McKena Miller and Chelsae Osborn. Fellow senior Raelyn Reynolds was named to her third All-Star team and second First Team.
On the Second Team from the Lady Rockets were senior Carly Aselage and Lindsay Wright.
Overall, those Lady Rockets accounted for 91 wins over their career, according to Goldfuss, an unprecedented feat that won’t soon be repeated. They won their league each of their four years and advanced through the sectional finals as well.
CNE, under Goldfuss and behind their core group of seniors, won three district championships and came to the precipice of the state tournament twice.
“These guys have been absolutely wonderful,” Goldfuss said of his seniors. “They’re great kids who work hard and they made our program what it is. They’ve brought a lot of recognition to their school, their community and our program. They’re going to leave an indelible mark on our program just by what they’ve done and accomplished.”
The most head-turning team this season were the Felicity-Franklin Lady Cardinals. The reputable program was not heaped with much expectation coming into the season given the graduation of star pitcher Montana Wear last year, but Coach Rob Wear’s team took the school back upstate.
Seniors Kelsey Mitchell and Whitney Grooms along with sophomore Sandy Woodmansee were awarded for their stellar play by being named to the First Team All-SBC. On the Second Team from the Lady Cards were freshman Brittany Drake and sophomore Makayla Jacobs.
Also on the First Team All-Star ballot were a trio from Batavia that represent the foundation of a program coming into its own. Sophomore Haley Kilgore, junior Kalee Mentzel and senior McKenna Fraley were all honored as members of the third-place Lady Bulldogs.
Teammates Katie Taulbee, a junior, and sophomore Alley Nickley were named to the Second Team.
Finally, a young Williamsburg squad were represented by a pair of underclassmen as the Lady Wildcats grinded out a respectable 11-14 record and fifth place finish in the SBC-National. Sophomore Kennedy Clark was named to the First Team and freshman Morgan Gullet was a Second Team pick.