The 2013 softball season saw the St. Bede Lady Bruins make school history by becoming the Academy’s first girls team to reach the State Tournament and only the second softball team in Bureau County to get there. To no surprise, the 2013 All-BCR Team has a strong case of Going Green.
Mollie Bates (Princeton, jr., 2B): The most improved hitter around, the PHS junior second baseman raised her batting average more than 200 points with a .413 clip this year. She didn’t hit them hard, but found the holes, coach Bob James said. Her work ethic paid off, James said.
Emmi Christensen (SBA, jr., 3B/P): The junior transfer brought a big bat to the Academy, leading the area with four home runs and 25 RBIs while batting an even .300. Coach Bill Prokup said she proved to be a “very disciplined hitter with a lot of power.” The team’s regular third baseman, Christensen also recorded a 5-2 record in the circle with a 2.74 ERA and will assume the No. 1 role with the graduation of Player of the Year Lainie Schweickert.
Brenna Faletti (Hall, jr., SS): The junior shortstop bounced back strong from a foot injury sustained during the basketball season, batting .471 out of the 2 hole for the Lady Devils. Hall coach Pete Kasperski said while she struggled a big early on, the slap hitter came on the middle of the season and was “lights out.”
Heidi James (Princeton, sr., SS): Unable to pitch this season due to a hip injury, the senior shortstop took her frustrations out on the little yellow ball. The PHS leadoff hitter led the Tigresses with a .424 average and 17 runs scored and five doubles. She gave quality at-bats and proved to be “good eyes and good ears” for what the pitcher was doing, coach James said.
Abby Jaques (Princeton, so., C): The sophomore catcher with the big arm and big bat will be the cornerstone for the Tigresses for two more seasons. She batted .400 with a team-high four homers and 21 RBIs. James said Jaques “has tons of potential and is an unbelievably strong kid.”
Tara Kunkel (SBA, jr. CF): Injected into the lineup the middle of the season after battling an illness, coach Bill Prokup said the junior slap hitter really sparked the Lady Bruins offense. She batted .424, scoring 17 runs with 12 stolen bases and will be looked upon as a team leader next season.
Emily Phillips (BV, sr., 2B): The senior second baseman and lead-off hitter led the Storm with a .345 batting clip and 11 stolen bases. Defensively, BV coach Brian Humphrey says Phillips’ great range “pretty much takes away the right side of the infield for other teams.” The Three Rivers First Team All-Conference selection will join her sister Anna on the Trinity College softball team next year.
Kat Pranka (Princeton, sr., IF): The senior infielder made the most of her at-bats, batting .394 with 17 RBIs, five doubles and a homer. James said Pranka has a lot of physical strength and did a good job bringing her average up this year.
Barbi Prokup (SBA, sr., 2B): The senior second baseman played solid defense and had a steady bat. She batted .303 with 22 RBIs and two triples out of the 2 hole for her dad’s Lady Bruins. Coach Prokup said he had a lot of confidence batting her second because she was a good contact hitter. She will be playing for St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Ind.
Lainie Schweickert (SBA, sr., P): The 2013 Player of the Year was dominating in the circle, posting a 0.67 ERA and a 19-4 record while striking out 266 batters in 157.2 innings. “She has to be considered the best (pitcher) we’ve ever had at St. Bede,” Bill Prokup said. Schweickert also swung a pretty good stick, batting .337 with a 25 RBIs.
Lydia Stariha (SBA, sr., C): The St. Bede captain led the Lady Bruins behind the plate as catcher and alongside it as the lead-off hitter. She batted a team-high .455, scoring 26 runs with 13 RBIs and area highs for triples (3) and stolen bases (17). Prokup said he told Stariha at the first practice, the lead-off role “was hers to lose and she had no intent to give it up. She worked extra on hitting and ended up leading our team in average and runs.”
Deidra Whightsil (Hall, jr., CF): The senior center-fielder led all area batters with an even .500 average, collecting 29 hits in 58 at-bats batting out of the leadoff hole. “I think she got a hit in every game,” Hall coach Pete Kasperski said. A Tri-County First Team pick, Whightsil also had an area-best six doubles and shared her team-lead with 13 RBIs.