Nine area athletes earn all-state softball honors

WORTHINGTON -- Nine area high school athletes have been honored by the Minnesota Fast-Pitch Coaches Association as members of the 2008 Girls' Softball All-State team.

WORTHINGTON -- Nine area high school athletes have been honored by the Minnesota Fast-Pitch Coaches Association as members of the 2008 Girls' Softball All-State team.

Five of those players were selected to the Class AA first team -- while one athlete was picked for the AA second team; one girl was named AA honorable mention, and two players earned Class A honorable-mention honors.

Section 3AA champion Pipestone Area played in its third consecutive state tournament, making it to the AA finals for the second straight time. The Arrows, who won the state title in 2007, brought home the second-place trophy from this year's tournament at Caswell Park in Mankato.

The Arrows were honored by having three seniors -- each who enjoyed stellar careers for the green and white -- selected to the elite 15-member first team.

Pitching ace Chelsey Evans, catcher Kayla Rowden and shortstop Nicole Buysse were each chosen to Class AA's top honor squad, as were Jackson County Central all-around athletes Megan Bezdicek and Kate Rentschler.


Bezdicek, a senior, was selected as a first baseman, while Rentschler, a junior, joined Evans as an all-state pitcher.

"Getting three players on the first team is a well-deserved accomplishment," PA head coach Troy Bouman said. "Those three seniors have each contributed so much to our program during their careers."

Arrow sophomore Bailey Bouman -- Troy's daughter -- was named to the Class AA second team as a first baseman. Bouman also pitched very well for PA, giving the Arrows an outstanding 1-2 punch from the circle.

JCC junior shortstop Sara Luhmann gave the Huskies a trio of all-state selections, as she was named as an honorable-mention selection.

While no area players were chosen among Class A's top 30 (15 on the first team and 15 on the second team), two talented girls were selected as honorable mention.

Kate Robinson, a junior shortstop from Murray County Central, was chosen as one of 15 players to achieve Class A honorable-mention honors.

Jenny Hoffman, a senior centerfielder from the combination of Red Rock Central and Westbrook-Walnut Grove, was also picked as a Class A honorable-mention choice.

Arrow trio impressive


Evans, Rowden and Buysse each compiled impressive 2008 statistics, while leading the Arrows to a 20-5 record.

Evans, who made the all-tournament team at Mankato, recorded a 13-2 record in the circle, while, amazingly, compiling an earned run average (ERA) of less than one -- 0.57, to be exact.

"Chelsey has put a tremendous amount of time into her pitching," praised Bouman. "She excelled in big games and clutch situations."

Rowden was a force behind the plate -- and with the bat -- for the Arrows. Rowden sported an impressive .520 batting average this spring.

"Kayla worked so hard at her catching," noted Bouman. "Not many runners even tried to steal on her -- and what a season she had at the plate, hitting with power and yet having such a high average."

A slick-fielding shortstop, Buysse -- along with Evans and Rowden -- was selected to play in the Coaches' Association All-Star game this summer. A veteran infielder for the Arrows, Buysse had several multiple-hit games this season and was magnificent in the field.

"Nicole did a great job at shortstop this season after previously playing first base for us," declared Bouman.

Buysse will play volleyball at Moorhead State this fall.


Rentschler, Bezdicek shine for 20-5 Huskies

The fast-pitch softball program at JCC has shined for several seasons, including back-to-back state championship runs in 2004 and 2005.

This season, the Huskies (20-5) had another 20-win season, including a split with Pipestone Area. But three losses to New Ulm -- including an extra-inning, one-run decision to the Eagles in the playoffs -- prevented JCC from meeting the Arrows for a third time.

"We really had a solid season," said Rentschler, who was JCC's pitching ace and also the team's RBI leader. "We played well as a team and had a lot of fun. We are looking forward to next season."

While Rentschler -- and five other starters -- will return for JCC in 2009, the Huskies will greatly miss Bezdicek.

"Talk about a senior stepping up," praised JCC head coach Shelly Hotzler. "Megan had a tremendous year for us. She has been a great defensive first baseman for a couple of seasons. But this spring, her bat really came along too."

Moving into the leadoff spot for the Huskies, Bezdicek finished the season with a team-high 34 runs. She drew 11 walks and stroked 36 hits (in 90 at-bats) for a .400 batting average, while driving in 15 runs.

Not only will the Huskies miss Bezdicek next season -- she will miss them too.


"I enjoyed a great season with my teammates," said Bezdicek, who is heading to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., on a volleyball scholarship. "Last season (2007), we had mostly new players in our infield. But this year, we were all experienced infielders and we had so fun together. I will miss it a bunch."

Rentschler's season statistics are eye-opening.

In her second season as the JCC ace, Rentschler started 16 games in the circle and pitched 115 innings.

She averaged more than a strikeout per inning, fanning 134 batters, while giving up just 39 walks. Recording a 13-4 won-loss record, Rentschler allowed just 31 earned runs while compiling an ERA of 1.89.

"Kate throws hard and has developed a good change-up and a drop," Hotzler noted. "We are working on getting a rise in her fastball, which will help her mix it up even more. But the big thing that Kate does so well is hit her spots."

At the plate, Rentschler hit .310 (27-for-87) this spring while scoring 17 runs and finishing with a team-high 32 RBIs.

Bouman, Luhmann, Robinson, Hoffman honored

Bouman, who joined Evans on the all-state tournament team, shined at the plate for the Arrows and also manned first base well.


In 10 of the Arrows' games, Bouman took the circle and finished with a 7-3 record and a 2.00 ERA.

"Bailey did a nice job of hitting, fielding and pitching for us all season long," Coach Bouman said. "She, too, has worked hard at improving her skills."

Luhmann, who has also excelled as a hockey player, hit .367 (33-for-90) for the Huskies while crossing the plate 26 times and batting in 25 runs.

"Sara is tough kid," Hotzler declared. "She contributed with both her bat and her glove. With good range, Sara can field balls up the middle and on her backside (toward third) equally well. She just played solid for us all season at shortstop."

Robinson, an all-around athlete at MCC, had several remarkable games at the plate for the Rebels, including four games in which she had a trio of hits. In one of those three-hit games, Robinson had a pair of home runs, scored four times and drove in seven runs.

She finished the spring with a .438 batting average (30-for-69) and scored 31 runs.

Robinson ripped a total of 15 extra-base hits (six doubles, five triples, four home runs), as she had 29 RBIs for the season.

"Kate is an athletic shortstop with an above average arm," MCC head coach James Wajer said. "She hits for power and is a very aggressive baserunner."


The fleet-footed Hoffman was a team leader and a three-year starter for the Red Rock Conference champion Falcons, who lost their only league game when Hoffman was gone on a school field trip.

"Jenny is a true team leader -- the table-setter -- who gets us going," exclaimed Stevenson. "She is a solid all-around player who leads by example."

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