WAHOO – When the softball season started in August players and coaches were unsure if the season would end with team’s getting the opportunity to play for state championships.
The schools remained resolute throughout the two-month season, wearing masks, faithfully practicing social-distancing measures and doing whatever was asked of them to make sure the season saw a completion.
It did. Three state champions were crowned in Hastings on Oct. 16.
Along the way, some outstanding performances were turned in by players across the state, including right here in Saunders County.
Of the ten players on this year’s first team, only three are seniors, ensuring a bright future for the sport in 2021.
Here is a look at the All-Area Softball team for the 2020 season.
Henderson established herself as one of the most feared hitters in all of Class B last season.
Henderson established a new school record last season, sending 14 balls over the fence while nearly leading the Warriors to their first state tournament appearance in five seasons.
Wahoo finished with a record of 23-11 and were eliminated by the Crete Cardinals in the Class B-8 district championship.
Henderson hit 14 home runs, scored a team best 48 runs, drove in 34 runs, stole nine bases and slugged .890 all while hitting leadoff for the Warriors.
“Aja had a great senior season for us. She is a tremendous leadoff hitter and played a great centerfield for us,” said Wahoo Coach Trina Christen.
Bishop Neumann Jr.
Chvatal was the centerpiece of a Cavalier team which ended the year just one win short of playing in the Class C state championship game.
The 27-9 Cavaliers came of age this season with a number of underclassmen earning their stripes on the varsity level.
Chvatal, a three-year starter hit leadoff for the Cavaliers and flashed a steady glove and strong arm at shortstop.
She hit an area best .541 and reached base nearly 60 percent of the time she came up to the plate.
She scored 53 runs, stole 24 bases and slugged .771.
“Mary is one of the best players in the state in my opinion. She has the ability to hit a home run and lay down a bunt for hit. She made multiple plays to put us in position to win games this season,” said Bishop Neumann Coach Dave Brabec.
Fischer joined the team Bluejays over the summer after transferring in from Gretna.
AGHS Coach Amber Dutcher was happy to have her at first base.
Fischer hit .500, slammed five home runs, drove in 33 runs and slugged .717 for the 15-15 Bluejays all while striking out just three times all season.
Fischer delivered key hits for AGHS all season and was steady at first base, finishing with a fielding percentage of .968.
“Kaelyn was our most consistent hitter all season and also played a very good first base,” Dutcher said.
Although only a sophomore, the Wahoo shortstop is quickly establishing herself as one of the top players in the state.
Iversen hit .416, scored 40 runs, drove in 34, hit four home runs, stole seven bases, slugged .664 and struck out just 13 times in 113 at bats.
She took most of her reps at shortstop, but she also pitched key innings for Wahoo in the postseason.
“Autumn played a vital role in the success of our team this season. She came up with key hits and played great at short,” said Christen.
Libal capped a tremendous four-year career on Oct. 6 when the Bluejays were defeated by the Elkhorn Antlers in sub-district tournament play.
Libal started all four years at shortstop for Coach Amber Dutcher and makers her third consecutive appearance on the all-area team after another solid season on the diamond.
Libal hit .387, scored 35 runs, finished with 10 doubles and slugged .548 while hitting leadoff for the Jays. She struck out just one time all season and finished with an on base percentage of .477.
She was even better at shortstop where she committed just five errors in 130 chances.
Bishop Neumann So.
Mayberry solidified her spot on the first team with an unbelievable state tournament.
Mayberry hit over .400 with two home runs in four tourney games and went over the fence to rob a pair of home runs from Cavalier opponents.
“She covered a lot of ground for us in centerfield. Her two catches in the state tournament were two of the best plays of the entire tournament,” said Bishop Neumann Coach Dave Brabec.
The state tournament performance was the capper of a tremendous season turned in by the Cavalier centerfielder.
Mayberry hit .410 and led all area players with 45 RBI. She added 16 doubles, slugged .740 and struck out just eight times in 115 plate appearances.
Hancock is one of three sophomores to earn first team honors after a solid season on diamond for the 23-11 Warriors.
Hancock hit .418, drove in 34 runs, scored 29 runs, slugged .602 and earned a team-high 17 walks while striking out just nine times all year.
Her versatility in the field was vital to the Warriors success. She started the season at second base, but had to be moved to catcher midway through the season due to COVID-19 related issues.
“Harper played double-duty for us this year and didn’t miss a beat,” said Christen.
Bishop Neumann Jr.
Bohac makes her second consecutive appearance on the all-area team after a great junior season.
The Cavalier catcher caught every inning for Neumann and hit .436 while helping the Cavaliers advance into the state tournament.
She drove in 34 runs, hit four home runs, slammed 11 doubles and struck out just seven times in 120 plate appearances.
“Hattie had an awesome season. She did a great job handling our pitching staff and completely shut down our opponent’s running game,” said Brabec.
Eddie makes her first appearance on the all-area squad after coming into her own during a tremendous senior season.
She hit .333 and slugged .638 while finishing with seven home runs and 36 RBI for Wahoo in 2020. She also added seven doubles, two triples and 11 stolen bases.
Her combination of speed and power made her a tough out at the plate and allowed her to be effective while patrolling right field for the Warriors.
“Kharissa was a tough out at the plate and her speed and strong arm made her a really good outfielder,” said Christen.
Bishop Neumann Jr.
Sabatka turned in a tremendous junior season while logging 74 percent of the team’s innings on the mound in 2020.
Sabatka won 18 games and finished with an ERA 2.24 for the Cavaliers who ended up third in Class C.
Sabatka struck out 89 opposing hitters in 140.1 innings and walked just nine.
“Macy improved her game so much this season. She improved her velocity and location to help her become one of the top pitchers in Class C this season,” said Brabec.
Inf: Rachel Potter, Raymond Central Jr.
Inf: Maycee Hays, Yutan-Mead Fr.
Inf: Aubrey Sylliaasen, Bishop Neumann So.
Inf: Devin Rodgerson, Ashland-Greenwood Jr.
Of: Alyssa Luedtke, Wahoo Sr.
Of: Emma Kavan, Bishop Neumann Jr.
Of: Sierra Springer, Raymond Central Jr.
C: Laycee Josoff, Yutan-Mead So.
AP: Abby Fischer, Ashland-Greenwood Jr.
P: Calleigh Osmera, Raymond Central Sr.
Normally all of the players named to the first team get together for a group photo at Hackberry Park in Wahoo. Current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and out of concern for the safety of the players a decision was made to cancel the photo this year.
Player illustrations were created by Jacob Pokorny, a Graphic Design Artist for the Wahoo Newspaper