BENNINGTON >> Our annual all-star team recognizes the best softball players in the area.
We have surveyed the area, studied the game from the sideline and quizzed local coaches on the top players around. Many were worthy of recognition for their exploits this spring, but the process, ultimately, results in only a handful of honorees. Our selections should in no way diminish the outstanding performances of those not included.
While important, statistics and league honors were only partial factors in our lineup. It was a tough task, so a couple of players may be in a different spot then they played on the field. Based on the information and input we received, as well as our own observations we present the Banner all-star team.
Pitcher: Taylor Dicranian, sophomore, Mount Anthony — Dicranian filled the shoes of 2015 Gatorade Player of the Year Baylee Ports quite well in 2016, but did it in her own way as she led the Patriots to a third straight Division I state finals appearance.
"She came into her own this season, I think she really made a name for herself," said Mount Anthony coach Katie Contrada. "She is confident, a great teammate and worked really hard to help the team out."
Dicranian was stout on the mound, but added a big part of her game at the plate, where she cracked four homers and numerous extra base hits.
"She had more than 20 RBI, she really hit well and helped herself [as a pitcher]," Contrada said.
Pitcher: Miranda Seacord, sophomore, Cambridge — The ace of the Cambridge pitching staff, Seacord had a stellar season on the hill for the Indians, pitching to a 3.12 ERA and going 11-0 in Wasaren League play. Seacord was also the Indians' best hitter, batting a team-high .480 at the plate with eight RBIs. The sophomore was a speed demon on the bases, stealing an impressive 22 bases.
"Miranda showed a lot of maturity this season," said Cambridge coach Gerald Clifton. "Her confidence on the mound and at the plate this year I think really helped her shine for us this season. Very exciting player to watch too."
Catcher: Victoria Dupuis, sophomore, Cambridge — Seacord's battery mate, Dupuis, like her stud pitcher, had an excellent season behind the plate to go along with a great season at the plate. Dupuis batted .447 for the Indians in the cleanup spot with 10 RBIs and a team-high eight doubles.
"Victoria really worked hard in the offseason to become a better hitter and that showed this season," Clifton said. "What I love about her is that she is very coachable and that she picks things up really quickly. A great leader for us on the field too."
Infield: Kaity O'Brien, sophomore, Mount Anthony — In terms of pure hitting, O'Brien was the best for the Patriots this spring. O'Brien hit in the leadoff spot and made it possible for the rest of the lineup to drive in a lot of runs.
"She set the tone for the game, when she's up there, you knew we were going to hit," Contrada said. "She was cool, collected and confident, always getting the bat on the ball." Often overlooked was her defense, as she was a steady fielder at first base.
Infield: Catherine Worthington, freshman, Mount Anthony — Worthington shot out of a cannon in 2016, her first season with the varsity Patriots. She was one of the team's main power threats, leading the way with five home runs, including one in four straight games.
"She came in [to tryouts] and she was excited to make the team in the first place," Contrada said. "She has been hitting for the past seven years and has a beautiful swing. She's a natural athlete."
Worthington was also a very solid second baseman, especially good for the fact that she was a ninth grader in her first year on the varsity.
"She excelled at second base, she was phenomenal," Contrada said. "There's a lot of tough plays for a second base, even more than at first base. She has such a willingness to learn."
Infield: Kori Bow, senior, Mount Anthony — With all the youth surrounding the Patriots, it takes a strong senior leader to make everything go and Bow did exactly that for MAU this spring.
The captain was one of the leading hitters on the field and a vocal leader off of it.
"On offense or defense, Kori leads by example," Contrada said. "She makes all the routine plays and makes the awesome plays seem routine. She was a terrific captain for us."
Infield: Rachel Senecal, senior, Burr and Burton — Senecal excelled as the Bulldogs cleanup hitter, hitting . In the field, Senecal flourished at first base and was great leader for the team on and off the field.
"Rachel was the heart and soul of our lineup," said BBA coach Lisa Kelly. "She did a great job as one of the team's leaders and really was a role model to the younger girls on our team."
Designated Hitter: Olivia Brownell, freshman, Cambridge — After having a tough start to the season at the plate, Brownell became one of the Indians' best hitters by the end of the season. The freshman batted .333 at the plate with seven RBIs, a lot of them coming during the Indians' run to the quarterfinals of the Section II, Class C tournament.
"Olivia was a question mark coming into the season, since we weren't sure what we were going to get with her being injured to start the season, but she turned out to be a big bat for us down the stretch," Clifton said. "Very excited to see how she grows as player in her next three years."
Outfield: Erika Quackenbush, senior, Hoosick Falls — Quackenbush was the Panthers top hitter in 2016. The senior smacked a team-high five home runs and had a team-high .423 batting average.
She was also one the team's best outfielder, manning center field, while she wasn't sporting a team best 3.30 ERA when pitching.
"Erika had a really great year at the plate for us," said Hoosick Falls coach Charlie Weeden. "She was our top hitter and did a good job for us in the field and on the mound this season."
Outfield: Alyssa Ellis, senior, Hoosick Falls — Ellis was another .300 hitter at the plate for Hoosick Falls this season, hitting .311 with a team second-best 10 RBIs. The senior also sported a 3.86 ERA on the mound and was the team's best outfielder, playing center field when she wasn't pitching.
"Alyssa was our best outfielder in the field and really helped the younger players in the outfield grow as better players," Weeden said. "I thought she did a good job towards the end of the season hitting the ball and she was a big innings hauler for us on the mound."
Outfield: Lauren Woodcock, senior, Mount Anthony — Woodcock's all-star candidacy was pretty much sealed during the early rounds of the playoffs, when she dove full extension to catch fly balls — not once, but twice — in the same game.
But before that, her overall defense and her hitting in the middle of a darn good offensive team in the Patriots cement her in this list.
"Whenever Lauren walks on that field, it's game time, and she throws down," Contrada said. "She leaves it all on that field and she'll do anything for her teammates. She can read a ball off the bat and she's diving, running into the fence. You love to have that kind of kid as a coach, they just want to win."
Honorable mentions (in no particular order):
Darien Halliday, senior, BBA — Halliday started and pitched every game for the Bulldogs in 2016.
"Darien was our ace and our pitching staff," Kelly said. "Every game she went out to the mound and did her best to keep us in the game. She was great leader for us and a player that all our players on our team looked up to."
Mattie Clifton, junior, Cambridge — Clifton was a solid hitter in the middle of the Cambridge lineup this season. The junior batted .262 at the plate with seven RBIs.
"Mattie really came along for us this season," Clifton said. "She was a big bat for us in our lineup and a great kid to have on our team because of how positive and friendly she is."
Cheyenne Guetti, senior, Mount Anthony — Guetti was the yin to Woodcock's yang in the outfield for the Patriots, making it very difficult for balls hit to right-center to find the grass.
Guetti batted ninth in the order, giving MAU a solid option to turn the lineup over for big innings, which happened a lot for the Patriots — they scored 10 runs or more 11 times in 16 regular season games.
Kayla Giglio, sophomore, Cambridge — Clifton used the word 'clutch' to describe his sophomore second baseman. She did a great job for the Indians with batting with runners in scoring position, knocking in a team-high 16 RBIs to go along with her .373 batting average at the dish.
"By far, our best hitter with runners in scoring position this year was Kayla," Clifton said. "She came up huge for us in a lot big spots we had during the course of the season. I think she saw that if she stays positive that she can be a force on the diamond."
Jamie Boyle, sophomore, Mount Anthony — Boyle didn't have eye-popping stats or make flashy plays, but she was the rock behind the plate for the Patriots.
"She was kind of an unsung hero, a wonderful girl, and she just gets it done," Contrada said. "She's a phenomenal catcher and her skill at blocking the ball is top notch." She only had five passed balls for the entire season.
"Not too many teams tried to steal either," said Contrada.
Riley Lane, junior, Arlington — Lane was a bright spot on an Arlington team still trying to find its footing after not having a team a couple of seasons ago. Batting in the middle of the lineup, Lane drove in a bunch of runs in games against teams like Black River.
With one more season as an Eagle, look for Lane to lead the Arlington squad next season as well.
Sydney Miller, junior, Hoosick Falls — The Panthers third baseman had a breakout year in 2016. Miller hit .368 at the plate with three home runs, all of which were second best for the team.
"Sydney really came into her own as a hitter for us this year," Weeden said. "She was very confident when she was at the plate and you can tell that when she has that confidence in herself, she can do great things. I'm really looking forward to what she can do next year as a senior."
Lizza Ryan, junior, Hoosick Falls — Ryan hit .302 on the season as the Panthers leadoff hitter. The junior also did a great job playing shortstop this season for Hoosick Falls as well.
"I thought Lizza did a excellent job all season as our leadoff hitter," Weeden said. "In the field, she had some issues early at shortstop but did a job for us at the position from the middle of the season on."