The 2014 All-Banner teams for spring sports rolls on as we unveil our All-Banner softball team.
As always with our All-Banner squads, athletes are chosen based on a variety of merits, including statistics, opinions of coaches and opposing coaches, and the classic eye-test.
This team does not neccessarily represent a starting lineup, but rather it is a list of the 12 best softball players in the Banner's coverage area.
Without further ado, here is the 2014 All-Banner softball team.
Player of the year
Sr., Mount Anthony
When Kate Goodell was a sophomore, her Mount Anthony Union High School softball team won four games and failed to make the Vermont Division I playoffs.
As a senior, Goodell goes out as a state champion.
Bringing the Patriots their first state title since 1988, Goodell's contributions to this team were just part of the recipe that brought MAU back to glory.
But what a contribution it was, and that is why Goodell is the 2014 All-Banner Softball Player of the Year.
Statistically, Goodell had an eye-popping season -- quite possibly one of the best in the history of the program. Out of the leadoff spot, she was 39-for-76, a .513 average, with 28 singles, seven doubles, two triples and a pair of home runs. She drove in 14 runs, led the team with 30 runs in 20 games and had an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of 1.268.
And the most impressive part of her season at the plate? She didn't strike out once.
"It's tough to be the first one up, but she was fearless and calm at the plate," Contrada said. "Hitting is mental and contagious, so having her hit the ball - even if she made an out - gave the others the confidence that they could do it too."
Along with the rest of Goodell's accolades, including a first-team Marble Valley League nod, she pulled off a rare feat, hitting for the cycle against Rutland, getting the hardest part last, the triple.
"She got to third and said, ‘I got it,' and I didn't understand what she meant," Contrada said. "She says, ‘4, 3, 2, 1,' and I was like, ‘You just hit for the cycle."
Goodell also was one of the better defenders in the state, making routine plays with ease and hard plays look easy - something that for many softball players isn't the easiest task.
"She makes plays in the hole that others don't get," Contrada said. "Physically, she's tall and can jump and catch liners and she has a great arm to throw guys out at first."
As a senior, Goodell and the others took on a bigger role as coaches on the field.
"I told the seniors they have to do it and [they] did a great job with it," Contrada said. "Kate was a vocal leader at shortstop, which was really important to our success."
Contrada said her 2014 Patriots were a special group and Goodell - along with the other seniors, especially - brought MAU to the promised land. Goodell's next stop will be about 40 minutes from Bennington, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.
"It comes down to the leadership," Contrada said. "They are irreplaceable, but it's great to see them grow up and become successful. They are smart kids that make smart decisions, it's the whole package."
Sr., Mount Anthony
Farrara started her fourth season for the Patriots quickly and never slowed as she played a major role in MAU's first state championship in softball since 1988.
Out of the cleanup spot, the third baseman, who was on the first-team all-Marble Valley League team, hit .456 and slugged .662, tied for the team lead in triples and led the team with 21 RBI, including a two-run single in the state title game against Missisquoi that gave MAU a 3-0 lead at the time.
Overall, she struck out two times in 68 at-bats and had an OPS of 1.162.
"Consistently, she stepped up and always got it done," said MAU coach Katie Contrada. "She was a real leader for us."
On the final play of the championship, Farrara caught the out that gave MAU the title on a throw from center field.
"The ball's coming in, the runner's barreling down on her and she has to catch it and put the tag down at the same time," Contrada said. "That's your 4-year starter that makes that play. When the pressure's on, she comes through."
In that same vein, defense might be where Farrara made most of her improvement - if only because her offense was already so good.
"Every year, she was better at third, she has one of the strongest arms I've ever seen," Contrada said. "It was intimidating to watch her warm up. She was a strong fielder on bunts too, she'd get to them and get kids out."
Farrara will move on to college next year, heading to Castleton State College.
Clifton, an All-Banner selection for the second straight year, was the top player for coach Jackie Hall's Indians. She hit .353 (12-for-34) and had a .934 OPS, while leading the team in scoring.
Against Wasaren League opponent Greenwich is when she was at her best, going 5-for-7 with four runs scored against the state runner-up in Class C this season.
Behind the plate, Clifton was a guiding presence for eighth-grade starter Miranda Seacord against the Wasaren League, one of the toughest conferences in Section II.
Jr., Hoosick Falls
Stevens was the most valuable player for the Panthers, both on and off the field, this season, becoming the de facto leader of the 2014 season.
Stevens led the Panthers in a ton of categories, including hitting at .404 (21-for-52). She drove in 10 runs, scored eight herself and in the field made one error in 98 chances at first base, one of the more demanding positions in softball.
"Chelsea was our MVP and our best offensive player," said Hoosick Falls coach Chris Farley.
Stevens was one of two Hoosick Falls players chosen for the Wasaren League all-stars, as an honorable mention.
Fr., Hoosick Falls
Ryan had the unenviable task in 2014 of replacing a player who had been firmly entrenched at shortstop for the past three years. It was a test, definitely, but one she passed with flying colors.
She hit .295 (18-for-61) and led the Panthers with 14 runs scored out of the leadoff spot. She also led the team in doubles.
"She really cut her teeth this season," said Hoosick Falls coach Chris Farley. "She was just under .300 this year and as a freshman in a power conference [the Wasaren League], there's great things coming for her."
Ryan was also named to the Wasaren League's second team all-star list, the highest spot for any Panther.
Jr., Mount Anthony
Hewitt was somewhat of a secret weapon out of the 9-spot in the Patriots lineup, at least to start the season. By the end, everyone knew the MAU junior.
She hit .352 (19-for-54) and all the hits were singles, many of the drag bunt variety. She scored 13 runs for the state champs.
"A lot of teams put their weakest player ninth in the lineup, but not us," said MAU coach Katie Contrada. "She was another leadoff hitter for us. There was absolutely no drop-off at the end of the lineup and she was a great bunter."
In the title game, Hewitt played an integral part in the four-run inning, bunting for a hit, with two strikes, to put two runners on with no one out as the lineup turned over.
"Bunting with two strikes is difficult, because if you bunt it foul, you're out," Contrada said. "But I knew she could lay it down and get down the line quick."
Her other impact came as the center fielder, the most experienced of the MAU outfielders as a three-year player. With one out and a runner at second in the seventh inning of the state championship, Hewitt's catch and throw started the winning double play.
"She was so solid for us and knew exactly what to do with the ball," Contrada said.
Sr., Burr and Burton
The four-year varsity starter ended her career with the Bulldogs as a first-team Marble Valley League all-star. Arellano, an All-Banner selection for the second straight year, had a one-hitter against Woodstock in May and picked up wins in three of the Bulldog's four wins on the year.
Arellano also provided some pop at the plate, consistently picking up hits even as the Bulldogs struggled to put up wins this season.
Her most impressive performance of the year came against Mount St. Joseph, when Arellano went 4-6 with three doubles and five RBIs. She also had an inside the park home run in a win against Woodstock and went 2-3 with a double in the team's win over Proctor, which secured BBA's spot in the 2014 playoffs.
Jr., Mount Anthony
For some teams, the catcher position can be the most worrisome. Not for Mount Anthony.
With junior Julie Elwell behind the plate, the Patriots had one of the most reliable -- and consistent -- catchers in the state.
In the field, Elwell was one of the best fielders in the area at .989 - two errors in 174 chances. At the same time, Elwell called her own game behind the plate, something most high school players don't do.
"She's unbelievable back there and she's only been a catcher for the past couple of years," Contrada said. "She's naturally athletic, smart and has great hand-eye coordination."
Elwell hit .328 (20-for-61), drove in 14 runs and scored 19 of her own, while slugging at .475.
Elwell earned a honorable mention nod in the Marble Valley League all-star list.
"She was a fast base-runner, not the normal catcher," said MAU coach Katie Contrada. "She could turn a single into a double and a double into a triple."
Jr., Mount Anthony
Goodell broke out in her junior season, hitting .380 (27-for-71), getting on base nearly 40 percent of the time and scoring 22 runs, which was tied for second on the Patriots.
"She's the best first baseman in the state and sometimes you don't expect that be an all-star position," said MAU coach Katie Contrada. "She used to be a shortstop and when she switched, she's been a natural at first."
Goodell also had a great season in the field, making only three errors.
"She saved the other infielders from errors as well, making saves on low or high throws. She does a lot of hard work," Contrada said.
So., Burr and Burton
In her first year on the Burr and Burton Academy varsity, Senecal was one of the top offensive weapons for coach Dan DeForest in his final year leading the Bulldogs. She was a catalyst as BBA won four games and made the playoffs, two years after not making the field.
The sophomore cleanup had her best week in games against Mount St. Joseph's and Twin Valley in early May. She had five hits in a 21-7 win over the Mounties, then was 4-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI against the Wildcats.
So., Mount Anthony
Bow's stats are really a microcosm of how special the Mount Anthony championship-winning season was: She hit .400 (28-for-70), scored 20 runs, drove in 14 RBIs, struck out only four times the entire season and had an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) over more than 1.000.
And she batted sixth in the lineup.
"She really came into her own, hitting .400 is definitely amazing," said Mount Anthony coach Katie Contrada. Many of those hits were timely, as well, tying or giving MAU the lead.
The most improvement, however, came in the field. Bow made only five errors in 53 chances at a tough defensive position - second base.
"It's an underestimated position, a difficult position," Contrada said. "You have to communicate with the first baseman, know where to go on bunt plays, double plays. It's a thinking position and she was so solid for us."
Jr., Mount Anthony
Not only was Ports the most consistent pitcher in 2014 in the area, she was a workhorse throughout the playoffs, pitching all four games for Mount Anthony.
Ports' season was one of the best by a pitcher in Mount Anthony history, with a 0.60 ERA (8 earned runs in 92 2/3 innings), striking out 92, while walking only nine.
"Baylee has five legit pitches, so teams aren't making solid contact," said MAU coach Katie Contrada. "Even the good hitting teams are fouling the ball off, pop outs and just keeping them off-balance."
Ports, an honorable mention in the Marble Valley League's A Division, also hit .258, tied for the team lead in triples and drove in 15 runs batting out of the third spot in the lineup.
-- Maddy Ryan, Jr., Hoosick Falls
-- Alyssa Ellis, So., Hoosick Falls
-- Lauren Woodcock, Soph., Mount Anthony
-- Jenna Crowley, Sr., Mount Anthony
-- Miranda Seacord, 8th, Cambridge
-- Ashley St. Onge, Sr., Hoosick Falls