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State champions and All-State performers headline 2022 All-Area Softball Team

This year's All-Area Softball Team is as stacked with as much high-level talent as ever. The First Team is headlined by the Post Bulletin Player of the Year, Winona's Grace Fricke.

Chatfield, Cannon Falls Section 1AA softball championship
Chatfield’s Peyton Berg bunts during the Section 1AA softball championship game against Cannon Falls on Thursday, June 2, 2022, at Todd Park in Austin. Berg is a member of the 2022 Post Bulletin All-Area Softball First Team.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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Southeastern Minnesota teams had high expectations in the 2022 softball season.

And although, it took a while for the weather to cooperate, that season delivered.

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This spring, the Hayfield softball team had a saying: “Mission Mankato,” which exemplified the team’s desire to make it to the state tournament hosted there. That didn’t happen, but the team did make a different state tournament in the same town, just a few months later.

Four teams from the area — Randolph, Wabasha-Kellogg, Winona and Chatfield — withstood tough sections to advance to the state tournament in North Mankato. The Gophers brought home the program's first state title, winning the Class AA championship.

There was an abundance of great individual play this season, too. In all, 20 players from the area were named to All-State teams.

Many of those players headline the 2022 Post Bulletin Softball All-Area Team:

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FIRST TEAM

GRACE FRICKE • WINONA

Senior • Infielder

2022 POST BULLETIN PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Stats ‘n notes: One of the best offensive threats in Minnesota. Named All-Big Nine, All-Section 1AAA, First-Team Class AAA All-State for the second consecutive season. Hit nine home runs, with a .556 batting average, a .624 on-base percentage, a 1.111 slugging percentage and an eye-popping 1.735 OPS. She walked 20 times, with 10 being intentional. Hit 13 doubles and drove in 39 runs. She also played multiple positions in the infield for a team that reached the Class AAA championship for the second straight year. "I don’t think a season like she had will be duplicated again for quite a few years," coach Mitch Grossell said.

Class AAA State Championship
Winona Senior High School junior Makayla Steffes pitches in the latter half of the Class AAA Championship game against Mankato West High School at Caswell Park in North Mankato, Minnesota on Friday, June 10, 2022. Mankato West won 5-1.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bullet
Exclusive
Slugging infielder Grace Fricke of Winona High delivered a senior season to remember in 2022, helping the Winhawks reach the Class AAA state championship game for a second consecutive season.

MAKAYLA STEFFES • WINONA

Junior • Pitcher/Shortstop

Stats ‘n notes: The junior delivered in every facet again for the Winhawks this season. She was 13-1 with a 0.79 ERA — a program record — while allowing just 10 earned runs, with 142 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings. Her only defeat came at the hands of Mankato East when the Cougars hit a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. She struck out a program record 18 batters in one game and tossed six shutouts, a no-hitter and two one-hitters. Also had a .429 batting average at the plate with 15 steals, while also playing a great shortstop. First-Team Class AAA All-State. "There isn't a better softball player in the state than Makayla Steffes," coach Mitch Grossell said.

Byron's senior pitcher is one of Minnesota's best in the circle and in the classroom.

MADDIE COCKER • BYRON

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Senior • Pitcher

Stats ‘n notes: The hard throwing right-hander was one of the best in the area again en route to being named Second-Team Class AAA All-State. The South Dakota State University commit helped the Bears reach the Section 1AAA winner's bracket final.

Cannon Falls pitcher Abby Bruer has developed into one of the premier strikeout specialists in the state.

ABBY BREUER • CANNON FALLS

Senior • Pitcher

Stats ‘n notes: The senior ended her high school career with another memorable season. She was named Second-Team Class AA All-State as she struck out 239 batters with a 1.70 ERA to help the Bombers reach the Section 1AA championship game, where they fell to eventual state champion Chatfield. A five-year varsity player, Breuer set program marks in career ERA (2.02) and career strikeouts (846). The Upper Iowa University commit also hit .485 with 13 doubles — a program record — and three home runs in 66 at-bats.
"For all the well-deserved notoriety Abby has garnered for her pitching prowess, her value as a hitter is equally impressive," coach Tom Langfeldt said. "Abby has played a significant part in helping bring the Cannon Falls softball program to where we are today."

Chatfield, Cannon Falls Section 1AA softball championship
Chatfield’s Peyton Berg catches during the second Section 1AA softball championship game against Cannon Falls on Thursday, June 2, 2022, at Todd Park in Austin. Chatfield defeated Cannon Falls 11-0, advancing them to State.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

PEYTON BERG • CHATFIELD

Senior • Catcher

Stats ‘n notes: A great two-way player, Berg hit .433 with four home runs and 17 doubles. A key reason Chatfield won the program's first state title, going 7-for-11 at the state tournament, including 4-for-4 in the Class AA quarterfinals. Few tried to steal on her as she threw out attempted base stealers 75% of the time. All-Three Rivers, All-Section 1AA, Class AA All-Tournament, Second Team Class AA All-State. Will play at Saint Mary's University in Winona.

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LIZZIE PIKE • LOURDES

Senior • Third baseman

Stats ‘n notes: One of the more feared hitters in southeastern Minnesota. Hit .536 in 58 at-bats with eight doubles and three home runs. Set a program record with an .862 slugging percentage, surpassing Sam Macken's 2013 mark. Pike was All-HVL, All-Section 1AA, First-Team Class AA All-State. Will play at Saint Mary's in Winona.

052121-CHATFIELD-STCHARLES-SOFTBALL-338.jpg
St. Charles’ Brenna Koeppell (5) delivers a pitch during a softball game against Chatfield on Friday, May 21, 2021, in Chatfield. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

BRENNA KOEPPEL • ST. CHARLES

Junior • Pitcher

Stats ‘n notes: Koeppel built on an impressive sophomore season to become one of the best pitchers in the area. She threw 130 1/3 of the Saints' 156 innings this season, finishing with 1.40 ERA, 118 strikeouts and an impressive 0.89 WHIP. She was All-Three Rivers, All-Section 1AA and Second Team Class AA All-State. "One of the best pitchers in the area," coach Adam Gust said. "Stats speak for themselves."

ALISON FRENCH • WINONA COTTER

Senior • Infielder

Stats ‘n notes: French was named All-State for the consecutive season. This time she was named to the First Team after hitting .554 with 46 hits and 27 RBIs for the Ramblers. She finished with 15 multi-hit games in helping Cotter to a 19-5 record. French will play at Saint Mary's in Winona.

Winona, Kasson-Mantorville Section 1AAA softball championship
Kasson-Mantorville’s Libby Maxson (11) throws a pitch during a Section 1AAA softball championship game against Winona on Thursday, June 2, 2022, at Todd Park in Austin.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

LIBBY MAXSON • KASSON-MANTORVILLE

Senior • Center fielder/Pitcher

Stats ‘n notes: A run-scoring machine for the KoMets, Maxson led the team with 33 runs scored. She seemed to always be on base, hitting .397 with a .494 OBP, with 12 walks and 15 stolen bases. Went 7-2 in the circle with a 0.79 ERA, with 50 strikeouts in 53 innings for a KoMets squad that reached the Section 1AAA championship game.

ANNA BAMLET • HAYFIELD

Senior • Pitcher

Stats ‘n notes: Bamlet was a force in the circle and at the plate this season for the Vikings. The Coe College commit hit .484 with a .593 OBP and 26 RBIs to go along with a 1.68 ERA and 206 punch outs in 133 innings pitched. Named All-Gopher Conference, All-Section 1A, First-Team Class A All-State. "Absolutely without a doubt one of the best players in the state," coach Craig Selk said. "An absolute pleasure to coach."

CARTER RAYMOND • RANDOLPH

Freshman • Pitcher

Stats ‘n notes: After playing third base as an eighth-grader on the Rockets undefeated state championship team, Raymond was moved to pitcher this year to fill the spot of three-time All-State pitcher Morgyn Otte, and did so in impressive fashion. She was 22-4 with a 1.56 ERA and an amazing 257 strikeouts to just 28 walks in 170⅓ innings. She also led the Rockets with a .455 batting average to go along with a .533 OBP and a 1.157 OPS. She had 13 doubles and 20 RBIs in helping the young Rockets reach the program's fourth consecutive state tournament. All-Gopher Conference, All-Section 4A, Class A All-Tournament Team and First Team Class A All-State.

061021-SOFTBALL-CHAMPIONSHIPS-9842.jpg
Wabasha-Kellogg’s Jacqueline Avilez high-fives coach Scott Gosse during a Section 1A softball championship game against Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Todd Park in Austin. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

JACQUELINE AVILEZ • WABASHA-KELLOGG

Senior • Infielder

Stats ‘n notes: Another future Saint Mary's Cardinal, Avilez helped the Falcons to their second consecutive state tournament by hitting better than .400 and driving in more than 30 runs. She was named First-Team Class A All-State.

SECOND TEAM

Byron, Winona Section 1AAA softball semifinals
Winona’s Macy McNally bats during a Section 1AAA softball semifinal game against Byron on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, at Todd Park in Austin.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

MACY McNALLY • WINONA

Junior • Catcher

Stats ‘n notes: The junior had zero passed balls and threw out 50% of attempted base stealers. She also hit .439 with a .495 OBP, while being the perfect No. 2 hitter with her terrific speed. All-Big Nine, All-Section 1AAA and First Team Class AAA All-State. "There aren't many better catchers around," coach Mitch Grossell said.

Century, John Marshall softball
Century's Morgan Erickson slides into third base during a softball game against John Marshall on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Century High School in Rochester, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

MORGAN ERICKSON • CENTURY

Sophomore • Pitcher/Shortstop

Stats ‘n notes: Earned her second consecutive All-Big Nine honors with a great season at the plate and in the circle. She finished with a 1.49 ERA with 145 strikeouts to just 19 walks. She had an incredible 30-strikeout game against John Marshall in which she pitched 14 innings. At the plate, she hit .414 with a 1.025 OPS and struck out just four times in the entire season.

051121-LOURDES-BYRON-SOFTBALL-04620.jpg
Byron's Macy Borowski (25) hits a single during a softball game against Lourdes Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at Rochester Youth Fastpitch Softball Complex in Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

MACY BOROWSKI • BYRON

Sophomore • Infielder/Pitcher

Stats ‘n notes: A key contributor at both the plate and in the circle for the Bears. All-HVL, All-Section 1AAA and was a Class AAA All-State Honorable Mention.

TIEGAN MANCUSO • MAYO

Junior • Infielder

Stats ‘n notes: One of the fastest players in the area. Hit .469 with a .575 OBP and 31 stolen bases. Also, flashed some power with two home runs and struck out just once on the year. All-Big Nine Conference performer.

BOBBIE BRUNS • BLOOMING PRAIRIE

Senior • Center fielder

Stats ‘n notes: Bruns hit for a blistering .529 average, while driving in 31 runs for the Blossoms. She also hit two homers and committed zero errors in the field. Second-Team Class A All-State. She will play basketball at Gustavus Adolphus College.

A three-run first inning and another strong performance from Claire Springer in the circle saw

CLAIRE SPRINGER • CHATFIELD

Junior • Pitcher

Stats ‘n notes: Springer was a big reason why the Gophers were able to capture the program's first state title. The junior pitched in every game of the Gophers' playoff run. Overall, she went 20-1 with a 1.07 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 124 1/3 innings. All-Section 1AA, Class AA All-Tournament and Class AA All-State Honorable Mention.

CARLY KIMMES • RANDOLPH

Sophomore • Shortstop

Stats ‘n notes: Kimmes earned her second straight Second Team Class A All-State team honor after another terrific season. She led the Rockets in hits (42), steals (23), triples (3), runs scored (38) and slugging (.710). She also hit for a .452 average with 12 doubles and two homers. "She has a very high softball IQ and is our spark plug who makes things happen every game," coach Dennis Trom said.

MADISON HAZELTON • COTTER

Sophomore • Pitcher

Stats ‘n notes: The hard-throwing righty had a jaw-dropping 0.80 WHIP, allowing just 71 hits and 29 walks in 125 1/3 innings. She recorded 221 strikeouts with a 1.23 ERA. Class AA All-State Honorable Mention.

LAURYN DELGER • ST. CHARLES

Junior • Third base

Stats ‘n notes: Delger flashed power and speed this season, slugging 11 doubles and five home runs, while driving in 35 runs to go along with 13 steals. Class AA All-State Honorable Mention.

KAYLEE PETER • PLAINVIEW-ELGIN-MILLVILLE

Senior • First base/Pitcher

Stats ‘n notes: Peter led the Bulldogs at both sides of the plate for the second consecutive season. She hit .400 with four doubles, five triples, three home runs and 36 RBIs. The UW-La Crosse commit was 12-6 with a 1.67 ERA in the circle this year as well. All-Three Rivers and All-Section 1AA.

CHEYENNE JONES • PINE ISLAND

Junior • Shortstop

Stats ‘n notes: Led the Panthers in every offensive category, hitting for a .459 average with an OBP of .593 and a slugging percentage of .672. Finished with five doubles and a pair of homers in addition to 21 RBIs. She hit .481 with runners in scoring position and struck out just three times on the season. All-HVL, All-Section 1AA and a member of the All-State Academic Team.

HONORABLE MENTION

Blooming Prairie: Macy Lembke, So., SS (.471 avg., 11 RBIs, 30 runs, 18 steals); Shawntee Snyder, So., 3B (.387 avg, 3 triples, 3 homers, 18 RBIs, 16 runs); Alivia Schneider, Sr., OF (.413 avg, 16 runs, .481 OBP)

Cannon Falls: Kayley Frenette, Sr., CF (.453 batting average; 24 RBI; 7 Ks in 75 AB; 8 2B; 3 3B; 1 HR; 1.000 Fielding %, will play at Bethel University); Maddi Burr, So., 1B (.452 batting average, 17 RBIs, 3 homers, 8 doubles); Izzy Pagel, Jr., SS (.365 batting average, 25 runs scored, 9 doubles, All-HVL, All-Section 1AA)

Chatfield: Kara Goetzinger, Jr., CF (.353 batting average, .396 OBP, 27 runs scored, 0 errors in center); Jaiden Zimmerman, Sr., SS (.361 batting average, .432 OBP, All-Three Rivers, All-Section 1AA, Class AA All-Tournament).

GMLOK: Emily Miner, Sr., P (15-4, hit .333, 17 RBIs)

Houston: Lilly Carr, jr., P/3B (79 K's in 64 IP, hit .318, All-Southeast, All-Section 1A).

John Marshall: Jenna Boisen, Sr., P; Dez Dotterwick, Jr., SS.

Kasson-Mantorville: Ella Babcock, Jr., P (Pitched 77 innings, 9-4 with a 1.91 ERA, 99 strikeouts, All-Section 1AAA); Gabbie Grover Sr., SS (.436 batting average, 34 hits, 28 runs scored, 18 steals, All-HVL, All-Section 1AAA, committed to Saint Mary's in Winona); Calleigh Richards, So., 3B (.425 batting average, 24 RBIs, All-HVL, All-Section 1AAA).

Mabel-Canton: Molly Lee, Sr., C (.395 batting average, .449 OBP, 32 hits, 18 runs, 17 RBIs); Emily Carolan, Sr., P (Pitched 117 innings, hit .310 with a .518 OBP, 24 walks); Gwen Tollefsrud, Sr., SS (.387 BA, .513 OBP, 29 runs, 24 hits, two triples, one homer, 15 steals).

Mayo: Alexa Carlstrom, So., P (2.44 ERA in 114 2/3 innings, hit .403 with a .467 OBP, 29 RBIs, three homers); Raiven Heise, Sr., C (.400 average, .493 OBP, 17 RBIs).

PEM: Teagan Hansen, Sr., SS (375 average, .477 OBP, 38 runs scored, 24 stolen bases, All-Three Rivers, All-Section 1AA, committed to Luther College).

Pine Island: Caitlyn Lerum, So., 2B/P (.391 BA, .434 OBP, .898 OPS, .951 Fielding%, Six wins in the circle); Izzy Nisbit, Sr., CF (.347 BA, .440 OBP, 22 runs, 12 walks)

Southland: Bailey Johnson, Sr., SS (.529 average, .608 OBP, 1.043 slugging, 20 extra-base hits — nine doubles, six triples and five homers — and 39 RBIs, All-Southeast, All-Section 1A, committed to RCTC to play softball and volleyball); Hattie Wiste, Sr., 3B (.466 average, .533 OBP, 35 runs scored, six homers, 27 RBIs, 19 steals, All-Southeast, All-Section 1A, committed to North Iowa Area Community College).

St. Charles: Makadyn Gust, So., CF/1B (one of the best athletes in the area, 20-for-20 on stolen bases); Grace Buringa, Jr., C (Hit five homers as lead-off batter, hit .408 with 10 walks, while not striking out a single time); Mya Omdahl, So., SS (Four homers, slick fielder).

Stewartville: Hannah Martinson, Jr., CF/SS (.338 BA, team-best 22 hits, 11 RBIs, 20 runs scored, .434 OBP, All-HVL); Tressa Smith, Jr., P/1B (.303 average, seven doubles, 17 RBIs, 12 runs scored, .949 fielding percentage, six wins and 51 strikeouts in the circle); Savannah Hedin, So., P/1B (.364 average, 1.142 OPS, .745 slugging, five homers, 17 RBIs, 13 runs scored, .986 fielding percentage)

Wabasha-Kellogg: Ella Lineweaver, Sr., CF (Class A All-State Honorable Mention); Sophie Graner, Jr., P.

Winona: Ava Hamsund, Jr., P (9-1, 0.83 ERA in 67 2/3 innings in the circle, .397 average, .435 OBP, 26 RBIs, All-Big Nine, All-Section 1AAA, Class AAA All-Tournament); Olivia Poulin, So., CF (.405 average, .467 OBP, six doubles, three homers, 28 RBIs, All-Big Nine, All-Section 1AAA).

Alex VandenHouten has been a sports reporter at the Post Bulletin since Sept. 2021. He loves to go hiking, biking, snowshoeing and just simply being outdoors with his wife Olivia. Readers can reach Alex at avandenhouten@postbulletin.com.
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