The Tribune’s 2003 All-Area Softball Team

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 7, 2003

Ashley Chrz, Albert Lea

Senior, Left Field

The Tribune’s Player of the Year last spring, Chrz again had solid offensive numbers while helping give the Tigers one of the best defensive outfields in the Big Nine. She led the Tigers with seven RBIs and a slugging percentage of .422, batting .266 with 17 hits, four doubles, three triples and 12 runs scored. “I heard all kinds of comments from the umpires (in the section tournament),” said coach Rick Harves. “They were like, ‘Wow. Who are these outfielders? Where are they going to school? Ashley had some real nice games there. At section, she threw out a girl at home, and would have thrown out another but we dropped the ball. She’s put in a lot of hard work and extra time. Softball is her favorite sport, and she’s really worked hard at it.”

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Jerri Mondeel, Albert Lea

Sophomore, Shortstop

A third-year varsity player, Mondeel had some struggles with a new position on the field but was very comfortable in the batter’s box, leading Albert Lea with a .309 batting average and 21 hits, including three doubles, one triple and five RBIs. “She was always a real good contact hitter,” said Tigers coach Rick Harves. “Shortstop may not have been the best position for her, but that’s where we needed her to make our team the strongest it could be, and you take a lot of hard shots in the Big Nine. She’s a good athlete, she works hard, and she’s still young.”

Nicole Rafdal, Albert Lea

Junior, Pitcher

Rafdal was a fixture on the mound for the 3-19 Tigers, pitching 114 of their 135 innings despite having wisdom teeth removed about midway through the season. She had a 3.13 earned run average, striking out 2.03 batters per game while allowing 25 walks all season. Offensively, she batted .255 with 14 hits and an on-base average of .305. “Nicole has worked very hard, put in a lot of time in the offseason to develop into a fine pitcher,” said coach Rick Harves. “She does a real nice job and has really matured into a quality pitcher. She also has good mental toughness.”

Steph Lackey, Alden-Conger

Sophomore, Pitcher

Another pitcher whose performance was not reflected in her team’s record, 3-13, Lackey was the Knights’ only pitcher this spring, registering 105 strikeouts and 48 walks, with and ERA around 2. She earned all-conference honors in her second varsity season. “She pitched every inning of every game for us,” said Knights coach Gary Nelson. “Even though we didn’t play very well defensively behind her, she kept pitching. She’s a competitor, she’s a bulldog. She hates to lose.”

Tasha Lackey, Alden-Conger

Senior, Third Base

An honorable mention all-conference selection, Lackey led the Knights with a .333 batting average (21-for-63), with two doubles, four triples, 12 walks and a team-best 23 RBIs. “She started the year at shortstop, moved her to third base, and she played real well defensively after we moved her,” said coach Gary Nelson. “She did her best at whatever we asked her to do. She had surgery last year and didn’t play, and she came back and did a real good job for her senior year.”

Jenna Brackey, Glenville-Emmons

Junior, Pitcher

The most valuable player and all-conference pick for the 7-7 Wolverines, Brackey pitched all but 13 2/3 innings while compiling a 2.87 ERA, with 58 strikeouts. She batted .258, with an on-base average of .548 and a team-high 12 runs scored. “Jenna had a great season after pitching only two innings of varsity ball last year,” said Wolverines coach Lisa Ziebell. “She’s probably one of the best second basemen in the conference, and as a pitcher she’s extremely competitive. She wouldn’t give a strike unless she needed to. Athletically, she’s a very mentally strong person, and I think that’s what makes her a good pitcher.”

Katie Brackey, Glenville-Emmons

Junior, Shortstop

Jenna’s twin sister earned honorable mention all-conference honors in her second year as the Wolverines’ shortstop, but her overall numbers were better than her conference statistics. For the year, she hit .351 with three doubles and an on-base percentage of .595. She also led the team with eight sacrifices. “She bunted a lot for us or she could have had a better average,” said coach Lisa Ziebell. “She’s an awesome bunter. You can count on her offensively and defensively, and she’s also mentally tough. She can have an error and pick herself right back up. She doesn’t dwell on things.”

Becky Ericksen, Glenville-Emmons

Junior, Second Base

Ericksen led the Wolverines in hitting with a .375 batting average and had a team-high .656 on-base percentage, scoring eight runs while striking out only four times all season. She also adjusted to a new defensive position, playing second base for the first time. “Becky is a pretty hard-nosed softball player,” said Wolverines coach Lisa Ziebell. “Once she puts her mind to something, she can do it. She’s also a very team oriented player. Anything to benefit the team, she wants to do it.”

Erin Anderson, NRHEG

Junior, Pitcher

The Tribune’s Player of the Year for the second time in three years, Anderson again posted outstanding numbers with her arm and her bat as the Panthers finished 10-12. She pitched 111 of their 151 innings, striking out 119 and walking 30 with an ERA of 1.14. A four-year varsity starter, Anderson batted .324 with 23 hits, three doubles, five triples, one home run, 18 RBIs and 12 runs scored. She was 8-for-10 on stolen bases, and had a team-best slugging percentage of .549 and an on-base average of .453. When not pitching, Anderson played shortstop or third base.

Chelsy Quiram, NRHEG

Junior, First Base

The Panthers’ right fielder last year, when she made her first All-Area team, Quiram moved to the infield this year while continuing to be an offensive force. She led this year’s team with a .456 batting average, totaling 31 hits, 14 RBIs and 24 runs scored while going 23-for-26 on stolen bases. She had a slugging percentage of .456 and a team-high on-base average of .595. “She really was an asset for us offensively,” said NRHEG coach Wendy Schultz. “She was our biggest offensive threat because she’s so quick. If she got to first base, it was almost a given she’d get to second with a stolen base, and that’s big. Defensively, she was always super on bunt coverage and had a pretty good glove.”

Andrea Schultz, United South Central

Sophomore, Pitcher

Schultz started the season as a backup but quickly became the mainstay on the mound when their expected No. 1 pitcher, Heather Summer, went down with an early-season injury. She went on to pitch the rest of the Rebels’ 122 innings as the team finished 8-12. Schultz struck out 115 batters in that span, with an ERA of 2.70. Facing varsity pitching for the first time, she batted .240 with two doubles, five RBIs and an on-base average of .435. “Andrea’s a work horse,” said Rebels coach Brad Huse. “She threw every inning but four out of our 20 games this year. I

look for big things from her in the next couple years.”

Honorable mention:

– Albert Lea &045; Ashley Helgerson, junior, second base; Jenny Hovendick, senior, center field;

– Glenville-Emmons &045; Becky Anderson, senior, outfield;

– NRHEG &045; Emily Hagen, junior, shortstop/pitcher; Betsy Waldhauser, junior, catcher;

– United South Central &045; Kristy Kauffmann, junior, third base; Shannon Schrader, junior, shortstop; Beth Yokiel, junior, catcher.

Player of the Year

– 2003 &045; Erin Anderson, NRHEG

– 2002 &045; Ashley Chrz, Albert Lea

– 2001 &045; Erin Anderson, NRHEG

– 2000 &045; Katie Johnson, United South Central

– 1999 &045; Shanna Dagestad, Glenville-Emmons, and Amanda Moxon, NRHEG

– 1998 &045; Amanda Moxon, NRHEG

– 1997 &045; Andrea Ellsworth and Brooke Hagen, United South Central

– 1996 &045; Meghan Krause, NRHEG

– 1995 &045; Brooke Hagen, United South Central

– 1994 &045; Kristin Maslakow, United South Central

– 1993 &045; Jill Anderson, NRHEG

– 1992 &045; Angi Nowak, United South Central

Coach of the Year

– 2003 &045; Lisa Ziebell, Glenville-Emmons

– 2002 &045; Gary Nelson, Alden-Conger

– 2001 &045; Brad Huse, United South Central

– 2000 &045; Bob Staska, Glenville-Emmons

– 1999 &045; Wendy Schultz, NRHEG

– 1998 &045; Gary Nelson, Alden-Conger

– 1997 &045; Wendy Schultz, NRHEG

– 1996 &045; Wendy Schultz, NRHEG

– 1995 &045; Bob Staska, Glenville-Emmons

– 1994 &045; Greg Ellsworth, United South Central

– 1993 &045; Wendy Lerberg, NRHEG

– 1992 &045; Greg Ellsworth, United South Central