High-SchoolSoftball: Kelsey Stewart

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.

ESPNHS Softball Players of the Week

May, 3, 2012
(After games of Tuesday, May 1)

Here are this week’s high school softball players of the week. One player is chosen from each region of the country. The only other criteria is that no player will be chosen more than once during a season.

Olivia Tatara, Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.)
The junior catcher had a day to remember at the Battle of Ashburn Round Robin Softball Tournament. In three consecutive at-bats over two games against her school's two intra-city rivals, she belted three towering home runs. She also beat out a throw with a walk-off infield single to give her team a 6-5 win over Broad Run in the most dramatic of the contests. Earlier, her first two homers came late in a loss to Briar Woods. She then helped her team take a 4-0 first-inning lead with a homer in the next game vs. Broad Run, which was decided by her walk-off single.

Katie Brignac, John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.)
The younger sister of Ashley Brignac, who won the 2011 Capital One Academic All-American of the Year award at Louisiana-Lafayette, led the Patriots to the Class 2A state title last weekend and a 31-0 final record. She scattered five hits when Curtis topped Evangel Christian (Shreveport, La.) 2-0 in the Class 2A state final and had a two-hitter in the semifinals. The sophomore standout also had a no-hitter and came within one walk of throwing a perfect game earlier in the playoffs.

Lilly Fecho, Glenbard North (Carol Stream, Ill.)
The senior left-handed pitcher and Purdue recruit has led the Panthers to a 20-0 record, the No. 1 ranking in the Chicago metro area, and the No. 25 FAB 50 ranking. Last week, after allowing only one earned run in five wins the previous week, she led Glenbard North to a 9-1 win over Naperville Central (Naperville, Ill.) to snap the Redhawks' 12-game winning streak. She had 11 strikeouts and allowed four hits. Later in the week, she fanned 11 in a three-hit 3-1 win over Wheaton Warrenville South (Wheaton, Ill.). She is 14-0 on the season.

Kelsey Stewart, Maize (Kan.)
A junior who has already committed to Florida, Stewart is smacking deep balls all over the Sunflower State. In an 11-4, 16-2 doubleheader sweep by the Eagles last week over Derby (Kan.), Stewart hammered three home runs in the first game and added a fourth homer for the day in the nightcap. She had a total of nine RBIs for the day. In her first 12 games, Stewart had hit nine homers with 41 RBIs and had a .691 batting average.

Hannah Cookson, Crescenta Valley (La Crescenta, Calif.)
The sophomore slugger comes from a school that is known for prolific power hitters. She continued to rip shots last week, one week after she tied a reported national record with two grand slams in the same inning during a win against Arcadia (Calif.). Her week included a 3-for-3 outing with three homers and five RBIs in a 16-0 victory over Muir (Pasadena, Calif.); a 3-for-4 performance with two homers and four RBIs in an 8-7 win over Hoover (Glendale, Calif.); and a 2-for-3 outing with one homer and four RBIs in a 15-1 romp past Poly (Pasadena, Calif.). Entering this week, Cookson was hitting .707 with 14 homers and 47 RBIs.

Players share five recruiting tips

December, 14, 2011
High school softballGarland Cooper/ESPNHSKayla Bonstrom, a senior at Canyon del Oro (Oro Valley, Ariz.), has signed with Stanford.

Going through the recruiting process can be difficult and stressful.

Now that the fall recruiting season is over, it’s time to take a step back, take a deep breath and focus on what matters.

Several athletes who have already been through the process shared their thoughts on the most important things to remember when going through the recruiting process.

1. Take the initiative

“Be proactive communicating with college coaches. Send emails (weekly) to your top schools to let them know that you want to be there.”
-- Sterling Shuster, current freshman at Loyola Marymount

“I would say to start early, and reach out to as many places you know of.”
-- Stephanie Meeuwsen, Liberty (Hillsboro Ore.), class of 2012, signed with Lamar University

2. Keep an open mind

“Never be satisfied. Keep your mind open to everything, even if you think that’s not the school you want to go to because you never know what could change your mind.”
-- Kelsey Stewart, Arkansas City (Kan.), class of 2012, signed with Florida

“Don't just contact the big schools. Yes, it would be cool to play for a big-name college, but the reality is there is not enough for all of the softball players to go to a big school, and in the end it is about the education you get out of it. Be sure to contact some smaller schools in your recruiting process. Not everybody gets the chance to put on a college uniform, so take it in, no matter how big or small the school is.”
-- Meeuwsen

3. Make up your own mind

“Make it your decision and don’t let anyone decide for you. It’s your life and your softball career, not theirs.”
-- Stewart

“You shouldn't feel rushed to make a decision. And remember: it's your decision, not anyone else's.”
-- Kassi Farmer, Columbia (Ill.), class of 2012, signed with Indiana

high school softball
Courtesy of the Villalpando familyAlyssa Villalpando, a senior at Los Altos (Calif.), signs with Hawaii.
4. Attitude is everything

“Always stay positive and focus on your goals and dreams. Work hard and always play with heart and give 110 percent in everything you do.”
-- Alyssa Villalpando, Los Altos (Calif.), 2012 class, signed with Hawaii

“Enjoy it because it is an amazing experience.”
-- Kayla Bonstrom, Canyon del Oro (Oro Valley, Ariz.), class of 2012, signed with Stanford

5. It’s not all about softball

“I would say to take it slow and go on lots of visits to make sure you are making the right choice. Ask yourself, ‘Would I still want to go to this place if I were to get hurt and not be able to play softball again?’ Talk to everyone you can, including players who go to school there.”
-- Andrea Hawkins, Bay City (Texas), class of 2012, signed with Alabama

“Make the right decision instead of a fast decision. Make sure to take into consideration both academics and athletics with your decision.”
-- Bonstrom

“Don't settle for less. The coach should want you just as much as you want to go to their university. Find a coach and organization that will stick with you through the good and bad times.”
-- Farmer