Friday, Sep 19, 2014
Sports

2014 Hernando Today All-County Softball Team


Published:

Player of the Year

Courtney Riddle

Pitcher

Hernando – Senior

COMMENTS: Sixth-year at the varsity level (two years at Hernando Christian Academy, last four at HHS) … Five-time All-County selection … First five-time All-County pick since Mary Ellen Langley of HCA in 2008 … Repeated as a unanimous choice as Player of the Year … Seemingly each year Riddle has risen her game to new heights culminating in 2014 … On the rubber, Riddle finished a personal-best 27-2 overall with 179 strikeouts in 184.0 innings pitched. Opposing batters hit a collective .186 against her … Of the 765 batters she faced, no one hit a homer out of the park. She surrendered one inside-the-park homer to River Ridge’s Morgan Tolle during the regional semifinals … After six seasons (reaching a county-record four regional finals and two Final Fours), she departs as the Hernando County fast-pitch leader in appearances (144), games started (117), complete games (90), innings pitched (787.0), strikeouts (734), shutouts (24.5), wins (94) and earned run average (1.44) … At the plate, the right-handed hitting Riddle paced the county in games played (30), doubles (14) and runs batted in (44). She also led the team in slugging percentage (.762) … Departs HHS with a school-record 119 RBI … After six seasons, Riddle batted a career .404 and holds the county record for games played (159), at-bats (473), hits (191) and doubles (47), and tied in extra base-hits (61) and RBI (150) … Defensively, Riddle served as an adroit extra infielder converting 89-of-90 chances in 2014 … Will be playing for the College of Central Florida Patriots in Ocala next season.

QUOTES: “She didn’t repeat as our player of the team due to one facet of her game. Courtney was chosen because of what she did pitching, playing defense and hitting at the plate. You can’t measure what she did for our program. … A lot of teams lose their most productive power hitter. But how many times is she also your number one pitcher? Hardly ever. She consistently shut down other teams. … To me, her maturity is why her game developed. You can’t hope to have someone else like her. … I don’t know if I’ll ever coach another kid like her in 20 years. … A lot of players can have a phenomenal season, but how many can perform at that level for six years? … Nothing against Becky Powell, Alexis Adams or Chrissy Hartley – but Courtney is our county’s best all-time pitcher.”

- Hernando head coach Kevin Bittinger

“For a six-year body of work she’s unmatched. I mean who pitches at this level as a seventh- and eighth-grader? That says something about her mental makeup. … She has to be in the conversation as the county’s best player. … To me, she’s a professional-type player. Her numbers speak volumes.”

- Springstead head coach Craig Swartout

“She contributed from the defensive side, as a pitcher and from the plate. Her durability stands out. She was at her best in the clutch. … Is she the best ever? She almost has to be included in the conversation. Years ago, we pitched from 40 feet away. Now, it’s 43 feet. Times have changed but Courtney has to be ranked as one of the better players from the county.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ernie Chatman

“Just look at her numbers. How can it be anyone else? She’s a great player with a great attitude; she embodies what it means to be a Player of the Year. … For six years she rose to the occasion; she definitely deserves this honor again. … I saw her pitch at HCA and I can tell you from experience she’s lived up to the expectations of playing at Hernando. She’s an all-around talent and I wish her all the best in her future.”

- Central head coach Tyson Ellis

“She’s the Player of the Year because she’s a game-changer. And she led her team to the regional finals again.”

- Weeki Wachee head coach Charlene Ross

Megan Lane

Catcher

Hernando – Junior

COMMENTS: Three-year starter … Three-time All-County selection … After hitting strictly from the right side as a freshman and sophomore, she switched to strictly hitting left-handed … Exploded on to the scene behind a terrific frosh campaign … Defensively, she converted 136-of-138 chances (only two errors) for a team-best .986 percentage … At the plate, the athletically gifted Lane finished third in the local circuit in batting (.453), third in hits (39) and tied for third in runs scored (25) … A year later, Lane threw out 50 percent (7-of-14) of attempted base stealers … Sparkled with the leather, converting 203-of-206 chances (.985) … Successful on 49 stolen bases as a freshman and 44 in 2013 … Posted personal-best season this year, pacing county in hitting at .556 … Led all Hernando County players in games played (30), at-bats (108), runs scored (51), hits (60) and stolen bases (63) … Paced the Lady Leopards in on-base percentage (.583) … Defensively, she converted 207-of-209 chances (.990) and threw out 9-of-13 enemy baserunners attempting to steal … After three outstanding campaigns at HHS, Lane returns tied for the career record in runs scored with Chrissy Hartley (113), leads in stolen bases (156) and serves as the 25-year program’s leading career hitter (.473).

QUOTES: “Look at all the things she did during her first two seasons and then she switched to the left side and broke single-season records for hits and stolen bases. … The opposition knows that if you keep Megan off base, you beat Hernando. Coaches definitely had to game plan for her. … Other than (Kenzi) Maguire (at River Ridge), I don’t know anyone as explosive in the North Suncoast as Megan. … To maintain her batting average with coaches trying to stop her was remarkable. … With everything she’s done, she still works hard on her game. Her natural instincts are out of this world.”

- Hernando head coach Kevin Bittinger

Louisa Disi

First base

Springstead – Junior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman … Three-time All-County selection … Since the graduation of two-time Player of the Year right-hander Alexis Adams in 2012, the left-handed Disi has filled in nicely as the Lady Eagles’ No. 1 pitcher … In 2014, Disi (14-8) completed 21 of 22 starts, hurling 128.2 innings with 139 strikeouts … At the plate, she concluded the season second in hitting in the county ranks behind Hernando’s Megan Lane, .556-.486 … Paced the Lady Eagles in several offensive categories including hits (34), RBI (24) and average … Disi struck once in 23 games … By returning to the Mariner Boulevard program next year, Disi could rewrite the SHS record book … The career .407 hitter already possesses the school’s career record for triples (nine) and homers (seven).

QUOTES: “In my opinion, she’s one of best players in this part of the state. … Her stats speak for themselves; her career average is a testament to her consistency. … We’re not the same team when she’s not on the field; her presence can’t be overlooked by the opposition. She was our one constant all season long.”

- Springstead head coach Craig Swartout

Summer Solovitch

Second base

Hernando – Senior

COMMENTS: Multi-sport athlete who also swims, plays soccer and rides motocross … Four-year letterman, three-year starter … Repeat All-County selection … Had a propensity for coming through in clutch situations via a key hit, sacrifice bunt or a defensive stop … Despite slipping from a .318 to .288 average this year, Solovitch paced the county in homers (four) and walks (17) … At the plate, Solovitch finished third on the team in runs scored (26) and RBI (29) … Defensively, she converted 100-of-105 chances … She paced the Lady Leopards in assists (73) and double plays (four).

QUOTES: “Nobody talked about Summer until she found a home hitting either sixth or seventh. That’s been her M.O. – she’s been lurking behind the shadows of some other great players on this team. … She’s a battler at the plate. … Defensively, she was so reliable. For us to be successful, Courtney (Riddle) needed a solid second baseman. … Summer brought a blue-collar approach that drew very little attention to herself. We’re going to miss her.”

- Hernando head coach Kevin Bittinger

Tana McDaniel

Shortstop

Hernando – Senior

COMMENTS: Multi-sport athlete … Played volleyball and participated on the Lad Leopards’ weightlifting team … In weightlifting, she was a county champion and reached the state finals … Rare four-year starter at shortstop …Four-time All-County softball selection … ‘Tanamal’ has already signed with Division I Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky … Enjoyed her best-ever season in 2014 … Ranked first on the team in games played (30) and hit by pitch (seven), second in runs scored (35), RBI (30), on-base percentage (.505) and slugging percentage (.678), and tied for third in hits (37), stolen bases (17) and batting average (.440) … Departs as a member of the county’s prestigious “400 Club” attaining at least triple digits in four career offensive categories: games played (107), at-bats (317), hits (124) and runs scored (101) … Joined Chrissy Hartley, Riddle and Lane in the “400 Club” … Both McDaniel and Hartley each just missed being the county’s first-ever members of the “500 Club” with 95 RBI apiece.

QUOTES: “Started for four years at the sport’s toughest position except for pitcher and catcher. … Every year she would always work on something to improve her overall game; she was never satisfied. … Defensively, she really worked on releasing the ball quicker. With the exception of one game, she did just that. … Her career numbers speak for themselves. With Tana if you tell her something she can’t do, she’ll go out and do it. … When you look at your ideal softball player, she fills the bill. … It’s tough to put into words what Tana has meant to Leopard softball. You don’t replace a four-year starter and team captain. … To sum her up, there are no weaknesses in her game.”

- Hernando head coach Kevin Bittinger

Danielle Harvey

Third base

Hernando – Junior

COMMENTS: Since moving back to Brooksville, Harvey has been a two-year letterman … First-time All-County selection … Quiet sophomore campaign hitting .247 behind 23 hits and 16 RBI … Improved to a personal-best .304 average this season … Started in all 30 HHS games at third base finishing third in at-bats (92), third in runs scored (26), second in stolen bases (18), as well as fifth in hits (28) and RBI (18).

QUOTES: “What an improvement defensively. Our biggest holes to fill this year were in center field and who’d bat in the number two hole. Danielle did a great job in that spot. She knew it was her job to hit for a high average, be a contact hitter and be a sparkplug. … She’s definitely a team player. During our last 15 games, she was a rock. … Once she understood her approach at the plate, she settled into a groove.”

- Hernando head coach Kevin Bittinger

Sierra Cannon

Outfield

Hernando – Junior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman, two-year starter … Before this season, Cannon lived in obscurity collecting 17 hits in 77 at-bats (.221) … Enjoyed a breakout season in 2014 … Started in all 30 games for the Purple and Gold in left field … The left-handed hitting Cannon finished tied for third on the team in hits (37), third in doubles (10) and fourth in RBI (20) while hitting a personal-best .411.

QUOTES: “Every year you have a kid who comes out of nowhere. This year it was Sierra. … In a nutshell, she just did her job and did exactly what she needed to do. … In a word, she was reliable. … At the plate, she put the ball in play and never tried to overpower anything. … Even if she ever messed up, she’s one of those kids that it’s hard to be angry with. … She’s a quiet, likeable kid.”

- Hernando head coach Kevin Bittinger

Kathryn Gonzalez

Outfield

Nature Coast – Junior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman … First-time All-County selection … After hitting .333 as a freshman, dipped to a .205 batting average last season … Bounced back this season with a personal-best .459 average … Finished fifth in the circuit in hitting …Led the team in runs scored (31), stolen bases (16) and was second in hits (39).

QUOTES: “Excellent leadoff batter; was solid defensively in center field. … Biggest strength? When she gets on base she makes things happen; a very aggressive player.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ernie Chatman

Courtney David

Outfield

Nature Coast – Junior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman … Repeat All-County selection … As a frosh in 2012, David went a quiet 8-for-50 at the plate (.160) with six RBI … A year later, David lashed 27 hits in 88 at-bats, with 23 RBI for a career-best .307 average … In 2014, David continued to elevate her game behind 30 hits in a team-high 89 at-bats with 28 RBI, posting a personal-best .337 average.

QUOTES: “Our 1-2-3 hitters were on a lot; she took advantage. She’s another player that drives the ball well the other way. … Outstanding arm. … Very instinctive in the outfield. She continues to develop her potential.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ernie Chatman

Chyloe Gonzalez

Utility

Nature Coast – Sophomore

COMMENTS: Two-year letterman … Repeat All-County selection … Created instant offense in 2013 pacing the Lady Sharks in games players (27), at-bats (92), hits (38), extra-base hits (13), doubles (9), triples (4) and batting average (.413) while finishing second in RBI with 22 … No sophomore jinx in 2014, was the Lady Sharks’ offensive leader in 10 categories including: games played (27), hits (40), doubles (12), triples (nine), homers (one), extra-base hits (22), RBI (33), batting average (.482), on-base percentage (.520) and slugging percentage (.879) … Counting 72 Lady Shark players through 10 varsity campaigns, Gonzalez enters her third season as the school’s record holder in career triples (13) and batting average (.446) … Found a home behind the plate. As a first-year catcher, she converted 137-of-141 chances (.972).

QUOTES: “Certainly has put together two of the best seasons in the county. Definitely took advantage of our first two batters reaching base so much. Has a tremendous ability to drive the ball. … Great softball skills and is surprisingly strong. … Last year she played first base, this year she caught. We also practice her at shortstop and third base. … Extremely versatile on defense. … Has a good arm, good feet and good instincts.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ernie Chatman

Abby Oliver

Utility

Springstead – Freshman

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection … Broke into the prep ranks by anchoring one of the most difficult positions: shortstop … Served as the Lady Eagles’ leadoff batter … Led SHS in games played (24), at-bats (72), runs scored (28) and was second on the team in hits (29) … Concluded the season ranked seventh overall in the county’s top 10 in hitting at .403.

QUOTES: “Everybody I talked to said she was the best eighth-grader in the county and she not only lived up the hype this year, but surpassed it. … She stepped right into shortstop and played as if she’d been there the whole time. … Her softball IQ is way beyond her years. … What I liked most? Her effort never changed. And off the field, she’s a great person.”

- Springstead head coach Craig Swartout

Kaeleen Koehler

Utility

Central – Sophomore

COMMENTS: Repeat All-County selection … In 2013, Koehler was the Lady Bears’ most successful pitcher in 12 years at 11-8 with 114 strikeouts across 125.1 innings pitched … A year later, Koehler (6-20) fanned a career-high 158 batters in 138 innings pitched, but also issued 83 walks compared to 16 the year before … At the plate, Koehler elevated her approach. After hitting .307 in 2013, she carried the brunt of the Lady Bears’ offense leading the team in games played (26), hits (34), doubles (eight), homers (one), RBI (18), walks (14), on-base percentage (.567), slugging percentage (.643) and batting average (.466).

QUOTES: “Her numbers were down pitching-wise, but she stepped up hitting-wise. She carried the team on her shoulders. Because she put so much of a burden upon herself, I thought as a pitcher she tried to do too much. … Against two of the best teams we faced – Belleview and Hernando – she kept us in the game. Against Belleview, she gave up six hits to those guys. And in the district semifinal we lost 4-1, ‘Lefty’ showed what she was made of. … I can’t wait to see what she does next season. We wouldn’t be in any game without her.”

- Central head coach Tyson Ellis

Brianna Harvey

Utility

Nature Coast – Junior

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection … Harvey was switched to shortstop for the stretch run in 2013 … Anchored shortstop this season converting 67-of-73 chances … Stole 9-of-10 bases … Was third on the team in runs scored (26) and RBI (16) … Improved on a .289 average in 2013 to a personal-best .377 in 2014.

QUOTES: “Caught the majority of her sophomore year; switched her to shortstop late last year. … Provides a steady influence. … Has a great glove, good release and made us a lot better in the infield – that’s something that needed to be done. … She and Kat (Gonzalez) are our two best baserunners. … She’s a quiet person who leads by example.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ernie Chatman

Cerina Brooks

Utility

Nature Coast – Freshman

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection … Had a knack for timely hits in big spots … Defensively at the hot corner Brooks converted 76-of-79 chances. She led the team in assists (54) and double plays (two) … At the plate, rapped 26 hits in 69 at-bats for a fine .377 batting average.

QUOTES: “Perhaps the most unsung player on the team. Was solid at third base; led our team in assists. … She was clutch for us; had a huge role getting rallies started against Springstead and Land O’ Lakes – which we won both games, 1-0. … As the season picked up, she improved her plate contact and plate discipline.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ernie Chatman

Coach of the Year

Kevin Bittinger

Hernando – 9th Year

COMMENTS: Four-time selection … Repeat selection in 2006-07 and 2013-14 … Guided HHS to its third-best season in 25 years behind a 27-3 (.900) won-lost mark, and a second straight regional final … Bittinger has coached HHS the most seasons (nine), the most games (239), posted the most wins (148), and raised the most county championship banners (five) besides collecting back-to-back district championships for the first time since 2000-01 … This year’s squad opened behind seven straight wins … After losing on March 4 at NCT, 5-4, the Purple and Gold reeled off 13 straight wins to tie the school record for consecutive victories set by the 2000 squad … The Lady Leopards tied the county record for most tournament titles in one season (three) by capturing the Leopard Slam III, the Cape Coral and Mariner Softball Tourney and the Class 5A, District 7 Tournament … HHS collected more wins at home this season (16) than any previous Hernando County team in 25 years.

QUOTES: “Coach of the Year is a reflection of the individuals that play for you. You can be a terrible coach, but great players make you look good. The key this year? We had so much trust in our players it makes coaching very easy. We could have put a lot of people in the third-base coaching box, but ultimately it’s the girls who wore the Leopard uniform that made the difference. This group not only worked hard, but they performed. They bought into our motto – it doesn’t matter who is in the other dugout, if we execute, we win. … As far as motivation, we’ve still got something to prove. A lot of people don’t think we’ll be very good next year. Personally, I hope it (success) continues. We’re losing some kids that have been here a long time. We definitely don’t want to go back to being a .500 team. … Looking toward next year, I’m the luckiest coach in the world because I’ve got great kids.”

- Bittinger

“He’s had a tremendous two-year run. What makes this accomplishment so impressive was he coached up some homegrown talent – some Parrott (Middle School) kids – extremely well. … People can’t fathom what it’s like to coach stud teams. When you have that many great players, there are a lot personalities involved. People don’t understand when you coach a team that is ‘loaded’ – often times those are the toughest teams to coach.”

- Springstead head coach Craig Swartout

“When you’re projected to win and you do so, credit belongs to a job well done. I thought the team played real well. At times, they had to step up and did. … It was a great season. … Looking back, they accomplished a lot.”

- Nature Coast head coach Ernie Chatman

“With great teams like this the pressure was always on Kevin. The expectations were there with this group going back to last year. Everybody expected them to reach that point (regional finals) again or better and that’s tough. … Handling River Ridge twice says something about this team. Kevin has done a great job. To bring this group of kids to within a win of states again was outstanding. He deserves this.”

- Central head coach Tyson Ellis

“Coach Bittinger repeated his success of last year. He did a great job with his kids.”

- Weeki Wachee head coach Charlene Ross

2014 Hernando Today All-County Softball Team

- Compiled by TONY CASTRO

POS NAME SCHOOL YR

1B Louisa Disi*** Springstead 11th

2B Summer Solovitch** Hernando 12th

SS Tana McDaniel**** Hernando 12th

3B Danielle Harvey Hernando 11th

C Megan Lane*** Hernando 11th

P Courtney Riddle***** Hernando 12th

OF Courtney David** NCT 11th

OF Sierra Cannon Hernando 11th

OF Kathryn Gonzalez NCT 11th

DH Chyloe Gonzalez** NCT 10th

UTIL Kaeleen Koehler** Central 10th

UTIL Brianna Harvey NCT 11th

UTIL Abby Oliver Springstead 9th

UTIL Cerina Brooks NCT 9th

Player of the Year – **Courtney Riddle (Hernando) 12th

Coach of the Year – ****Kevin Bittinger (Hernando)

***** Denotes 5-time selection

**** Denotes 4-time selection

*** Denotes 3-time selection.

** Denotes repeat selection.

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