High-SchoolSoftball: Chelsea Wilkinson

30 players named ESPNHS All-Americans

July, 12, 2012
California high school softball,Cal-Hi Sports Athlete of the WeekJohn T. Thorsen/ESPNHSNancy Bowling of Royal went 25-3 this past season with a 0.43 ERA and 246 strikeouts in 163 innings.
SEC schools Alabama, Auburn and LSU all landed two future softball players among the 30 who are first-team 2012 ESPNHS All-Americans. The only other college to have two on the first team is Stanford.

POWERADE FAB 50 national champion Norco (Calif.) is represented with one player on the first team and one player on the second team. The only other schools with two ESPNHS All-Americans are No. 3 Red Mountain (Mesa, Ariz.) and No. 7 Keystone (LaGrange, Ohio).


ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSTaylore Fuller
Taylore Fuller, Chiefland (Fla.) Sr.
The Class 1A State Player of the Year posted some eye-opening numbers at the plate. A Florida recruit, Fuller batted .778 with 14 home runs, nine doubles, six triples and 33 RBIs while scoring 52 runs for the small school program. She also is one of the nation’s highest-ranked college prospects at the catching position.

Cali Lanphear, Montgomery (Texas) Sr.
Recently named the Class 4A Player of the Year by the Texas Sports Writers Association, Lanphear also is the 2012 All-Montgomery County Player of the Year. She nearly led the Bears to the state final for the first time in school history. As a power hitter, there were few in the nation like her as she smacked 21 homers with 64 RBIs and batted .600. Lanphear has signed with Texas A&M.

Janelle Lindvall, West Ranch (Valencia, Calif.) Sr.
The Oregon-bound standout hit .524 with six home runs and 28 RBIs to earn all-state and all-region honors. Her junior season hitting stats were better, but she excels in all other facets of the position and plays in one of the toughest leagues in Southern California.


Nancy Bowling, Royal (Simi Valley, Calif.) Sr.
A California standout since she was named State Freshman of the Year in 2009, Bowling concluded her career by going 25-3 with a 0.43 ERA and 246 strikeouts in 163 innings. She bounced back from a left knee injury that caused her to miss one season and is regarded as one of the top incoming recruits at Arizona. Bowling, who already has been named the Los Angeles Daily News Player of the Year, also had a .366 batting average with 20 RBIs.

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSLilly Fecho
Lilly Fecho, Glenbard North (Carol Stream, Ill.) Sr.
The 6-foot, left-handed pitcher went 27-3 this season with a 0.88 ERA and had 254 strikeouts in 192 innings. The Gatorade State Player of the Yearalso batted .393 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs while scoring 28 runs. Fecho will play next at Purdue.

Tori Finucane, Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) Jr.
The Gatorade State Player of the Yearled the Lady Knights to a 27-1 record, a Virginia Independent Schools' title, and the No. 43 ranking in the final POWERADE FAB 50. A Missouri recruit, she was 27-1 on the mound with a 0.09 ERA and 332 strikeouts in 161 innings. She also batted .363.

Erin Gabriel, Poland Seminary (Poland, Ohio) Sr.
The four-year starter and Tennessee recruit led the Bulldogs to a 26-3 record and No. 21 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50. A two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior, which were the same years the Bulldogs won the Division II state title, Gabriel compiled a 16-2 record this season with 232 strikeouts and batted .461 with 28 RBIs and 35 runs scored.

Holly Kern, Plano East (Plano, Texas) Sr.
A force in the circle and at the plate, she was named District 8-5A MVP and Dallas Area Player of the Year by Dallas Morning News. Kern led the Panthers to the Class 5A state semifinals. In the circle, she went 33-4 while at the plate she hit .365 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs. She is headed next to the University of Texas.

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSChelsea Wilkinson
Madi Schreyer, Woodinville (Wash.) Jr.
Named the Gatorade State Player of the Yearin Washington, she helped lead the Falcons to the Class 4A state championship and a perfect 26-0 season. In addition to her own perfect record of 21-0, Schreyer’s ERA of 0.28 also was exceptional. She also whiffed 189 batters in 123 innings. Schreyer already has committed to Stanford and also already is a member of the Canadian Junior National Team.

Chelsea Wilkinson, Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.) Sr.
The four-time all-state selection and two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior makes the ESPNHS All-American team for a second straight season. Although the team didn’t win another Class 4A state title, it did finish 28-2 and was No. 6 in the final POWERADE FAB 50. A Georgia recruit, Wilkinson was 24-1 this season with 333 strikeouts and a 0.26 ERA. She also set two state career records with 112 wins and 84 shutouts while striking out 1,406 batters.


Bianka Bell, Chamberlain (Tampa, Fla.) Sr.
The Gatorade State Player of the Year led the Chiefs to a 27-5 record and the Class 7A title. The team also ended at No. 12 in the POWERADE FAB 50. The shortstop and LSU recruit posted big numbers with a .731 batting average, 11 homers, 35 RBIs and 52 runs scored. She batted .727 in the playoffs alone.

Emily Carosene, Pine Castle Christian (Orlando, Fla.) Sr.
She’s a very rare seven-year starter as she goes to a school and plays in a state in which seventh-graders and eighth-graders can play on the varsity. The Auburn recruit and Central Florida Player of the Year put up huge numbers for the Class 2A state runner-up team. Carosene batted .645 with 14 doubles, 10 triples and seven homers. She also had 24 RBIs while scoring 51 runs. She played on three state title-winning teams.

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSSierra Romero
Nikki Girard, Chino Hills (Calif.) Sr.
The CIF Southern Section Division III Player of the Year led the Huskies to a 32-3 record and No. 9 finish in the final POWERADE FAB 50 national rankings. Girard, who is headed to Arizona State in the fall, had a .423 batting average with seven homers, 12 doubles and 37 RBIs. She’s been a four-year starter and set school records for runs scored, hits, doubles and RBIs.

Sierra Romero, Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.) Sr.
A finalist for the California Ms. Softball Player of the Year, Romero also earned herself a spot in the state record book as she hit 21 homers, the second-best single-season total. Romero, who also had 45 career homers, hit .556 with 38 runs scored, 23 walks and 54 RBIs. She will be headed to Michigan next season.

Lindsey Schmeiser, Northern (Owings, Md.) Sr.
The Washington D.C. Metro Player of the Year led the Patriots to a 25-0 record, a record fifth straight Class 3A state title and the No. 17 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50. The Maryland recruit also batted .641 with four homers, 34 RBIs and 49 runs scored.

Allison Stewart, Olathe East (Olathe, Kan.) Soph.
One of just two sophomores to earn a first-team All-American selection, Stewart was assured of such a high honor by leading Olathe East (24-1) to the Class 6A state title and being named Gatorade State Player of the Year. She set a school record with 52 RBIs and also hit .532 with five homers. As a pitcher, she added a 13-0 record with 118 strikeouts and a 0.20 ERA. Stewart has committed to Arkansas.

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSDarian Tautalafua
Kelsey Stewart, Maize (Kan.) Sr.
The “other” Stewart from Kansas to land on the All-American team happens to be one of the top 10 major college prospects in the nation. Kelsey racked up eye-popping totals with her bat – a .649 average, 12 homers, 65 RBIs -- and was amazing in the field. She is headed next to LSU.

Melissa Taukeiaho, Etiwanda (Calif.) Sr.
Before heading to the University of Washington, Taukeiaho earned her second straight all-state selection and also has been named All-Inland Valley MVP. She scored 41 runs and drove in 39 and also finished with 16 homers and a .543 average. Taukeiaho also had five wins inside the circle for the Eagles.

Darian Tautalafua, Carson (Calif.) Sr.
After hitting 15 home runs as a junior, Tautalafua hammered 17 homers as a senior and tied the state career record with 53. She also batted .490 this season, scored 50 times and knocked in 45 runs. Tautalafua was named the CIF L.A. City Section Player of the Year and will play next at Long Beach State.

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSKayla Bonstrom

Kayla Bonstrom, Canyon del Oro (Tucson, Ariz.) Sr.
The Arizona Daily Republic Big Schools Player of the Year could have been listed in the multi-purpose category since she was the top pitcher for her team in 2012, but she’s mostly known as an outfielder and that’s where she’ll play next season at Stanford. Bonstrom led Canyon del Oro, which finished 13th in the POWERADE FAB 50, to the Division II state championship by hitting a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning of the final game against Sunrise Mountain (Peoria, Ariz.), and then she retired the side in order. Bonstrom finished the season with a .603 batting average, ripped 16 homers and also had 18 doubles and 63 RBIs.

Steph Hartness, Niceville (Fla.) Sr.
The Class 6A State Player of the Year led the Eagles to a 29-3 record, a state runner-up finish, and a No. 34 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50. A Florida State recruit, she batted .518 with four home runs and 36 RBIs.

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSAndrea Hawkins
Andrea Hawkins, Bay City (Texas) Sr.
Rated by some experts as the No. 1 prospect in the entire nation, this talented outfielder will be headed to play for Alabama next season. During her senior season, Hawkins hit .539, and during her final two seasons of high school ball, she struck out a total of just two times. As a senior, she also stole 34 bases. She was recently selected to the Class 4A All-State Team by the Texas Sports Writers Association.

Haylie McCleney, Mortimer Jordan (Kimberly, Ala.) Sr.
The Gatorade Player of the Yearin Alabama and the Alabama Sportswriters Association Player of the Year batted .692 for the Class 5A state runner-up. The Alabama recruit also had 90 hits, including nine home runs with 64 runs scored and 65 stolen bases. McCleney struck out only once during her entire senior season.

FIRST-TEAM MULTI-PURPOSE (Hitting, pitching, fielding)

ESPNHS All-American softball
ESPNHSVanessa Alvarez
Vanessa Alvarez, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) Sr.
After being named player of the year for the second straight season by the San Jose Mercury News, Alvarez is headed to Cal where she could play second base. Her pitching helped Mitty finish 28-2 with a No. 8 final FAB 50 ranking. She went 25-1 with a 0.86 ERA and 197 strikeouts. At the plate, Alvarez batted leadoff and shined with a .450 average and .491 on-base mark.

Kenzie Conrad, Keystone (LaGrange, Ohio) Sr.
The Gatorade State Player of the Year and Akron recruit led the Wildcats to a 32-0 record, a Division II state title and a No. 7 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50. She was 25-0 on the mound with a 0.74 ERA and 178 strikeouts. She also batted .485 with 11 homers and 44 RBIs.

Lexi Davis, Porter Ridge (Indian Ridge, N.C.) Sr.
The ESPNHS National Player of the Year and Gatorade state honoree pitched every game for the 33-1 Class 4A state champion Pirates. The team also finished No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50. The Auburn recruit, four-year starter and three-time all-state choice posted a 0.23 ERA and batted .450 with eight homers and 42 RBIs.

Emily Lockman, Norco (Calif.) Sr.
Lockman’s 0.35 ERA may be surpassed by other top pitchers around the nation, but none of those pitchers faced the type of opposition that Lockman did. Her pitching and hitting led Norco (31-2) to the 2012 FAB 50 national title and she already has been selected as the Ms. Softball Player of the Year for the state. Lockman also shut out more opponents (22) than batters were walked (11). As a batter, she shined with a .389 average and had four homers and 30 RBIs. The 4.0 GPA student-athlete will play next at Nebraska.

ESPNHS softball All-American
ESPNHSErica Nunn
Breanna Macha, Red Mountain (Mesa, Ariz.) Soph.
Despite being just a sophomore, Macha pitched like a senior as she was named to the All-Arizona first team by The Arizona Republic. Leading the Mountain Lions to their second straight state championship, a 35-3 record and No. 3 ranking in the final POWERADE FAB 50, Macha went 14-2 as a pitcher with a 1.24 ERA. At the plate, she hit .440, drove in 47 runs and hit 10 home runs.

Erica Nunn, Holly Springs (N.C.) Sr.
The four-year starter and South Florida recruit helped the Golden Hawks to a Class 4A state runner-up finish. She was 22-5 on the mound and struck out 335 batters. At the plate, she hit .612. Career-wise, the left-handed pitcher won 73 games with 1,068 strikeouts.

Heather Stearns, Hebron (Carrollton, Texas) Sr.
Before heading to Baylor next year, Stearns was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year in Texas as the Hawks reached the Class 5A Region I finals. At the plate, she hit .415 with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs, which included a four-homer game in a 13-4 win over Pilot Point. In the circle, she went 18-9 with a 1.29 ERA and struck out 313 batters in 190 innings.

Katie Browne, Zachary (La.) Sr.
Erin Shireman, Lutheran South (Pearland, Texas) Sr.

Maryssa Becker, North Medford (Medford, Ore.) Jr.
Lindsey Fadnek, Coalfield (Tenn.) Sr.
Johanna Grauer, Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.) Soph.
Cheridan Hawkins, Anderson (Calif.) Sr.
Katie Marks, Katy (Texas) Sr.
Samantha Martin, Chiles (Tallahassee, Fla.) Jr.
Taylor Nowlin, Sunrise Mountain (Peoria, Ariz.) Jr.
Shelby Turnier, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Sr.

Bryanna Blanco, Maryville (Tenn.) Sr.
Kelsey Dominik, Kingsway Regional (Woolwich Township, N.J.) Sr.
Gabrielle Maurice, Johansen (Modesto, Calif.) Jr.
Erin Pond, Keystone (La Grange, Ohio) Sr.
Alex Powers, Eau Gallie (Melbourne, Fla.) Sr.
Kylie Reed, Norco (Calif.) Jr.

Kylie Johnson, Kankakee (Ill.) Sr.
Siera Phillips, Red Mountain (Mesa, Ariz.) Sr.
Natalie Sheffey, Daniel Boone (Gray, Tenn.) Jr.
Megan Sorlie, Andover Central (Andover, Kan.) Sr.
Katie St. Pierre, Flower Mound (Texas) Sr.

Alyson Ambler, Walla Walla (Wash.) Sr.
Brooke Boetjer, South Putnam (Greencastle, Ind.) Sr.
Katie Brignac, John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.) Soph.
Briana Combs, Ladywood (Livonia, Mich.) Sr.
Kristen Davenport, Deer Park (Texas) Sr.
Kelsey Nunley, Soddy-Daisy (Tenn.) Sr.
Nisa Ontiveros, Ridgeview (Bakersfield, Calif.) Sr.
Kenedy Urbany, O’Connor (Northside, Texas) Jr.

Porter Ridge looking up in FAB 50

May, 23, 2012
While the order for this week's POWERADE FAB 50 was finalized earlier on Tuesday, it was hard to ignore that the top three teams in the nation were all playing later in the evening and that all three could have lost.

Those results won't be reflected in the rankings until next week, but the big news was that No. 3 Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.) lost 1-0 in its showdown with unbeaten No. 7 Porter Ridge (Indian Trail, N.C.) in the fourth round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

Auburn-bound Lexi Davis of Porter Ridge outdueled Georgia-bound Chelsea Wilkinson of Alexander Central, although Wilkinson had a perfect game going with 17 strikeouts until the seventh inning. Porter Ridge got two hits in that inning, including a two-out RBI single by Kayleigh Jones. Davis then set down Alexander Central in the bottom of the inning.

The top two teams in the FAB 50 -- No. 1 Norco (Calif.) and No. 2 Pacifica (Garden Grove, Calif.) -- both won in CIF Southern Section Division I playoff games. Norco topped Etiwanda (Calif.) 2-0 while Pacifica blanked No. 23 Royal (Simi Valley, Calif.) 2-0. The two could meet in the title game on either June 1 or June 2.

Click here for the complete Week 12 rankings.

Alexander Central moves up to No. 3

April, 18, 2012
The most difficult choice in this week's POWERADE FAB 50 was which team to put in the No. 3 position after previous No. 3 Plano East (Plano, Texas) suffered its third loss of the season and fell to 26-3.

Beech Softball
Courtesy of Beech SoftballBeech (Hendersonville, Tenn.) joins the top 10 in this week's rankings.
It's always with reluctance to move up a team that isn't from one of softball's four power states -- Arizona, California, Florida, Texas -- but this was a week that No. 5 Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.) was idle.

That left No. 4 Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.) to be considered. The Cougars have shown more enthusiasm for playing teams from other states and they are led by a pitcher, Chelsea Wilkinson, who is headed to the Southeastern Conference to play at Georgia. Since Alexander Central improved to 17-1 (Wilkinson didn't play in the only loss), it gained the No. 3 ranking.

Another team on an even more rapid rise is new No. 9 Beech (Henderson, Tenn.). It was just two weeks ago when that team was sitting at No. 45, but since then the Buccaneers have won two tournaments and their record has snowballed to 38-1.

Click here for the complete Week 7 rankings.

Chelsea Wilkinson zeroing in on history

April, 17, 2012
Chelsea WilkinsonThe Charlotte Observer/Jeff WillhelmDuring one stretch this season, Alexander Central's Chelsea Wilkinson sandwiched back-to-back no-hitters and back-to-back one-hitters around a perfect game.

Don't get mad at Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.) senior pitcher Chelsea Wilkinson if she can't recall the last time she gave up a run in a high school softball game. Since the last time an opponent crossed the plate against the righteous right-hander, her family has paid a couple electric bills, students have left for and come back from spring break and horoscopers have flipped their Zodiac calendars from Pisces to Aries and soon to Taurus.

During her 10-game shutout streak, Wilkinson has rarely even allowed a ball out of the infield, allowing her Cougars to vault up to fourth in the POWERADE FAB 50 national softball rankings. Such was the case last Thursday, when Wilkinson one-hit J.L. Mann (Greenville, S.C.) in a border battle between the North Carolina and South Carolina defending 4A state champions.

The victory also served as a colossal milestone for Wilkinson, who earned her 100th win in the contest and inched ever closer to her third Gatorade Player of the Year Award in North Carolina. Last year, she became the first-ever high schooler from the Tar Heel state to win multiple POY hardware from Gatorade and only the third softballer nationally to accomplish the feat.

Alexander Central softball
DN Pennell, Jr. /The Taylorsville Times"I love setting records and winning awards," Chelsea Wilkinson says. "But I love being successful even more."
"I have worked so hard to get to the position I am at today, and it feels good to know it is paying off," said Wilkinson, who has signed with the University of Georgia. "I love setting records and winning awards, but I love being successful even more."

Success has come in bunches since Wilkinson entered high school in 2009 with battery-mate Lauren Elder and outfielders Brianna Elder and Cortlin Hartness. Elder has caught every pitch of Wilkinson's high school career, which has seen Alexander Central win state titles in both 2009 and 2011, furthering the team's proclamation that its home be called Title Town.

And while a routine of success has become rather customary in Title Town, the growth of this year's graduating senior class has been fascinatingly noteworthy. Wilkinson was forced to establish herself as a young freshman in the circle in 2009, and has since budded into a dominant force that inspires confidence and intense work ethic in all who surround her.

"In 2009 I was just trying to earn acceptance and make a name for myself," Wilkinson said. "By my junior year, people knew who I was and what I was capable of, so I had to live up to that."

You'd need a forklift to set the bar as high as Wilkinson has set it through her first three years of high school. Amazingly, she's still clearing that bar. Through the first 18 games Alexander played (they won 17 of them), Wilkinson has dished out more doughnuts than a rookie cop at a police station's morning meeting. The string of shutouts is at 10 straight games. During the streak, Wilkinson had a stretch in which she hurled back-to-back no-hitters against Hibriten (Lenoir, N.C.) and St. Stephen's (Hickory N.C.), then a perfect game against East Rowan (Salisbury, N.C.), and then back-to-back one-hitters against Fred T. Foard (Newton, N.C.) and Grove City (Ohio). On Monday night, she threw another no-hitter, and got her 101st win, in a 10-0 win over Hickory (N.C.).

A quote on the Alexander Central softball website says, "Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should accomplish with your ability."

If Wilkinson and her fellow seniors live up to that statement, they're about to leave a wake of destruction in what could arguably be one of the most impressive four-year runs in high school softball history.