Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed softball players (from left to right) Megan Dettling, Jackie Sertic, Marriah Levesque, Kiara Shirley, Mary Dettling, Britni Greninger, Cassy Walsh, Lindsay Yearman and Mackenzie Goins earned High Desert all-league honors this spring.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Clockwise from top left, Ally Batastini, Aubrene Blas, Megan Archer, Kelsie Merritt, Bayley Broadwater and Sadye Roulund were six of Spanish Spanish Springs' 11 all-league players this spring.
Given the Rail City's abundance of prep softball talent -- it does boast the two most successful programs in the state over the past decade -- it should be no surprise when the annual all-league awards are released and filled with the names of Sparks-area athletes.
That's the case once again this spring. Ten players from High Desert League champion Reed and 11 more from HDL runner-up Spanish Springs are taking home all-league honors after stellar spring seasons.
"I was very happy with the all-league selections," Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said. "We went into the season carrying 16 on the roster. We had so many players that had very good skills. They were just excellent softball players. We jockeyed the lineup around and everybody got opportunities. Because of that, we had a lot of kids recognized and they all had very good years."
A pair of Sparks-area athletes share the HDL's top hardware. Reed center fielder Mary Dettling and Spanish Springs pitcher/first baseman Brette Lawrence were named the league's co-players of the year after a vote by conference coaches.
It's the second straight season the duo has shared the award.
"Mary contributed this year both offensively and defensively, but more importantly, she really stepped up in a leadership role," Reed coach Jon Wunder said. "She kind of started off the season in a slump. It was critical for her to keep her composure and keep plugging away. Even when she was in a slump, she was encouraging others. Then our team started to find its identity and as we did she came out of her slump. She really helped us in the second half of the season as we peaked, but her leadership was just as important as her production on the field."
Despite a slow start, Dettling still hit a team best .415 while leading the Raiders in hits (51), RBI (26) and homers (4).
"Based on my production early in the year, I didn't think I was really going to get this award," Dettling said. "I was really surprised ... I feel a lot of respect from the coaches for giving this to me."
Lawrence, a three-year varsity standout for the Cougars had impressive numbers as well. She hit an even .400 with 40 hits and 25 RBI while manning the No. 3 slot in the order all season for the SSHS gang. She also posted a 15-5 pitching record with 128 strikeouts in 119 innings while only walking 19.
"Both Brette and Mary had great years," Davidson said. "Brette is a hard worker and always has a positive attitude. If she's struggling, she works even harder. She'll ask for extra time hitting, fielding or pitching. She always strives for perfection even though that's not possible."
Lawrence had the league MVP honors in her sights all season.
"After getting it last year, my goal was get it again," Lawrence admitted. "It was exciting to share it with Mary because we both had great seasons. It really does feel good to win it because its from all the coaches. They've noticed how hard I've worked to be a good player. That recognition gives you a great feeling."
Reed's Jackie Sertic garnered pitcher-of-the-year honors. The junior right-hander put together an 18-7 win-loss record and fanned 204 hitters in 194-plus innings of work while issuing only 16 walks.
"It was exciting because Coach announced that I'd won it in front if the team," Sertic said. "I knew of the award and it was a goal to win it this year."
Wunder said the Raiders' ace hurler was definitely worthy of the award.
"Jackie continued to grow all season and down the stretch she got the ball every game," he said. "I knew she was in great shape and conditioning was never an issue. I can't say enough about what she did for us the last 11 days of the season, working all 10 games and all 70 innings. There's not a lot of kids that could do that with the success she had."
Reed put four players on the HDL's first team while Spanish Springs got three. Outfielder Lindsay Yearman (.380), infielders Marriah Levesque (.341) and Mackenzie Goins (.377), along with pitcher Megan Dettling (9-2 W-L) made up Reed's first-team group. Outfielder Ally Batastini (.387), infielder Sadye Roulund (.448) and catcher Sidney Sinclair (.300) were the trio of first teamers for the Cougars.
Five Spanish Springs players got the nod as second-team HDL all-stars. Infielders Aubrene Blas and Taylor Helton along with pitcher Karlie Merritt, outfielder Kelsie Merritt and DH Megan Archer made up that contingent. A pair of Reed players were on the second team as well, outfielder Cassy Walsh and catcher Kiara Shirley.
Additionally, both local clubs put two players on the league's honorable mention list. Those were Kelsey Stroshine and Bayley Broadwater of Spanish Springs and Chelsea Cummings and Britni Greninger of Reed.
At Sparks, the Railroaders won the Mount Rose League title and earned a postseason berth for the first time since 2006. Those accomplishments were evident when the league's postseason awards parade was announced.
SHS senior Riley Regas was named the conference MVP.
"Riley has worked hard. She is a natural leader," Railroaders coach Frank Avilla said. "She comes off gruff at times but she knows what she wants to do. There's the old cliche that you don't replace kids like this, but it's true. It will be hard to replace her. When we needed a spark plug, she was that kid."
Six other Railroaders were honored as first-team Mount Rose League all stars. That list included pitcher Jocelyn Vasquez, infielders Madisyn Locke, Sarah Hanson and Miranda Bush along with outfielders Michelle Cardenas and Marissa Cossio.
Sparks catcher Madison Franco was named to the second-team list.
"Winning the Mount Rose League in this last year and getting these awards is a tribute to the girls and the hard work they've put in during the offseason," Avilla said. "We have to share athletes here at Sparks. The girls have to maintain their grades and still keep on their athletics in season and out of season. It's the first time we've seen all-league recognition like this in eight years."