MOUNT VERNON — Fans of softball in the Mount Vernon News area witnessed some great games and great tournament runs by three teams. Danville and Highland both made it to the regional tournament, with the Scots just one victory away from the state. And, Mount Vernon advanced to the district tournament.
So, it’s no wonder those three teams dominated awards on the Mount Vernon News All-Area Softball team.
Mount Vernon’s Kylee Marcum was named Pitcher of the Year, Danville’s Hannah Matheny named Player of the Year and Highland’s Enid Claxon was named Coach of the Year.
“I think, to me, it’s a very obvious award (Marcum’s). She had almost 300 strike outs, an ERA under 0.9 and she was a good leader both on and off the field,” Mount Vernon coach Carisa Frysinger said of Marcum being named Pitcher of the Year. “She was our MVP, honorable mention all-state. It was very obvious and very, very deserved. It shows how hard she worked.”
Marcum had an 18-6 record for the Yellow Jackets, but that didn’t tell the whole story. She struck out 276 batters in just 159 innings and had a 0.88 earned run average.
“I knew (going into the season) I had a very, very strong returning hitter, leader and pitcher, but I never expected her to have those 14-, 15-, 16-strike out games. If we had hit a bit more and more timely, our season would have lasted longer,” Frysinger said.
Marcum also put up strong numbers offensively while batting in the cleanup spot for the Jackets. She hit .474 on the year with nine doubles, three home runs and 25 RBI.
“I rode her, both at the plate and on the mound,” Frysinger said. “When she was on pitching, she was the same thing hitting. The girls fed off of that.”
Matheny had a strong year for the Devils, who won their fifth straight district title. She hit .359 for the year, scoring 24 runs and driving in another 14. She had two doubles, six triples and 23 stolen bases.
Matheny was also a force on the mound. She had an 11-4 record with an 0.87 ERA, and struck out 110 batters in 112 innings.
Joining those two on the first team are catcher Kaleigh Conner (Danville), infielders Karina Shackle (Mount Vernon), Taylor Keener (Fredericktown), Alli Millat (Utica), Victoria Queen (Mount Vernon), Payton Denman (Highland) and Cassie Brown (Highland). In the outfield with Matheny are Krista Chapman (Highland) and Natalie Scott (Mount Vernon).
The Coach of the Year Award goes to first-year skipper Claxon of Highland. Claxon led the Scots to a 21-10 record overall and 9-4 in the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference (second in the Red Division). The Scots also won their first district title in school history, making it to the regional finals before falling.
“I’m totally surprised and humbled by getting the honor,” Claxon said. “There are a lot of good coaches out there and to be picked is very nice.”
The Scots were able to find success despite having just one senior and being loaded with sophomores. Playing in the always tough MOAC helped them prepare for tournament play. But, it wasn’t until the Scots rallied to beat Columbus Bishop Ready in the district semifinals that things really started to click for the young team.
“The girls really started to pull together that that time. They were more confident and started to realize they could keep playing,” said Claxon. “I think we had a really good year. The girls worked very hard. To get that far in the tournament was very stressful and anxious. But, everything went well and we peaked when we needed to.
“Obviously, we’re basically sophomores and juniors, so next year will be something to look forward to. Hopefully, we can make another run. This year was great having the community come together and really pull for the girls. It’s something I won’t forget. It was neat to see them support us like that.”
Claxon was just as impressed with the number of Scots who made the all-area team.
“We had a really good group of girls with a very good core. Everybody was a really good player. To have that many is a great thing. The girls deserved it. It’s nice for them,” Claxon said.