After a second-place finish in District 11-4A and getting to the area round of the playoffs, Melissa’s Lady Cardinals are well represented on the just released all-district softball awards list — as in, their entire starting lineup is there somewhere. And even better for Melissa head coach Eric Rodgers and Lady Cards fans: Every one of them is back for at least one more year.
Heading up the roster of Melissa honorees are superlative award winners Alexis Pevehouse and Kylee Brakebill. Pevehouse, a junior pitcher with a big bat, was named the district’s Co-MVP of the Year while Brakebill, another veteran junior, picked up Catcher of the Year honors.
“‘Peve’ was simply ‘Peve’,” Rodgers said. “What can I say? In the last two years she has compiled 36 wins along with 443 strikeouts. Her two-year total at the plate has produced a batting average over .500 while scoring 82 runs on 89 hits, with 14 home runs. Alexis is a great overall player, one who deserved the honor of being named MVP and I look forward to her having an even bigger senior season.
“Kylee had a great junior year both at the plate and behind it for us. She works extremely hard and has become a very good all-around player, one that could play almost any position. She takes pride in her batting and her defense and I was ecstatic when the other coaches in the district voted her Catcher of the Year.”
First-team all-district selections for the Lady Cards included junior third baseman Audrey Solomon, sophomore Maggie Rodgers at second base and junior center fielder Anna Fortenberry.
“Audrey continued to swing a hot bat as she posted a batting average just over .500 for the season,” Rodgers said. “We were also able to shift her over to her more natural third base position, giving us one of the best third basemen in the area. Audrey has been a fixture for us during our playoff success and I can’t say enough about her on and off the field.
“Maggie made the transition from left field to second base for us this year and she did a tremendous job for us there. She finished the year with a .932 fielding percentage on 74 defensive opportunities. She quickly became one of our best defenders as she made plays game after game, even making several key plays while lying on the ground.
“Anna is simply one of the best outfielders I have ever coached. She basically has center field on lockdown. Adding to her game this year, she began to show off her power at the plate, as she deposited several balls over the outfield fence. She finished with a batting average in the high .300s and came up big all year for us all season.”
Making second-team all-district were sophomore shortstop Savannah Rodriguez and junior right fielder Sally Clemmons.
“Savannah moved across the infield this year to take over at short stop,” Rodgers said. “She did a tremendous job for us there and her bat improved as well as she was tasked with protecting our clean-up hitter by batting in the fifth spot. Savannah is a two-year varsity starter for us and we’re happy she’ll be back for two more years.
“Sally was a pleasant surprise this year as she returned to softball after a five-year absence. Her determination at the plate made her a tough out for most defenses, while her speed allowed her to become more and more comfortable in the outfield. She was a joy to coach and her energy was a welcome addition to our dugout.”
Rounding out the Lady Cards’ lineup, two juniors received honorable mention recognition: left fielder Jaclyn Rodgers and Macy Stewart at first base.
“Macy once again showed her versatility as an all-around player,” Rodgers said, “as she was again asked to take on a new position. Macy played very well for us and again came up big with the bat in several contests — none bigger was her walk-off single versus Celina in the second round of district play.
“Jaclyn was a welcome addition this year and although she had to battle through an early season hand injury, she came through in a big way in the bi-district playoff game. She finished 2-for-3 from the plate and scored the winning run. Jac also sustained a serious leg injury in that game but she is expected to recover and, hopefully, will be back roaming the outfield turf again next season.”
Brakebill and Fortenberry also earned all-academic honors.