SCIOTO COUNTY — A quarter-century ago, the summer of 1996 to be exact, was the Olympiad of the “Magnificent Seven” — a.k.a. the famed United States Women’s Gymnastics gold medal team.
While not celebrated anything like that group of course, Scioto County had its own magnificent softball seven this past spring —as per the minds of members of the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association.
That’s because seven Scioto County players earned all-Ohio honors in 2021 — featuring three first-teamers, a pair of second-teamers and finally two named Honorable Mention.
Wheelersburg (26-2) in Division III and Notre Dame (23-1) in Division IV, in fact, had two all-state selections apiece —as the Pirates and Titans swept directly through the Southern Ohio Conference Divisions II and I respectively.
In addition, both programs won Southeast District championships again — as Wheelersburg went on to win its fifth all-time regional championship, and fourth since three consecutive from 2015 thru 2017.
Unfortunately, the Ohio High School Athletic Association canceled the 2020 spring sports seasons because of the coronavirus threat —or otherwise six of these seven, and perhaps others from either Scioto County or even the Southeast District, would have made the list and/or even repeated to it.
All of the all-Ohio softball selections, and any subsequent honors, are chosen by members of the OHSFSCA.
Players which are selected all-state must make the first team in their respective districts.
In Division IV, Clay catcher and senior Megan Bazler made the first team, as a sophomore tandem — first baseman Macee Eaton of Wheelersburg and pitcher Sydney McDermott of West —were named to the first team in Division III.
It is the first all-Ohio honor for all three, and the final for Bazler, who has committed to playing college softball for the University of Rio Grande.
“Softball is a team sport, but it feels good to be acknowledged for the hard work that a player puts in to the game. As a freshman, I set a goal to earn all-state during my high school career after seeing older teammates receive the recognition,” said Bazler. “To earn first team all-Ohio is something I will always remember.”
For McDermott and Eaton, which were also the Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year respectively in the SOC II, they will have two more seasons of aiming of repeating all-Ohio accolades —and facing each other at least twice.
“Receiving first team all-Ohio is a true honor. It feels so good to know that the work I have been putting in is starting to pay off. To be named with such a great award among the best athletes in our area and the state truly is a great accomplishment,” said McDermott. “I am very thankful for this award. I am excited to keep working and for my next two years.”
“It is a huge honor to be selected first team all-Ohio. It means a lot to me. All the hard work I am putting into softball is paying off,” added Eaton. “And I want to acknowledge my coaches and teammates for a great year and I can’t wait till next year.”
Joining that first-team trio were Scioto County’s second-team tandem of Portsmouth junior shortstop Maddie Perry in Division III and Notre Dame senior catcher Claire Dettwiller in Division IV.
Joining the first-timer Dettwiller from the Titans was freshman pitcher Gwen Sparks — an Honorable Mention choice who was also the SOC I’s Pitcher of the Year.
Accompanying Eaton from the Pirates on the all-Ohio unit was senior third baseman Rylie Hughes —a repeat Division III Honorable Mention pick.
Hughes played her freshman season at Oak Hill, before transferring to Wheelersburg and making Honorable Mention two years ago.
Eaton, Hughes and the Pirates defeated Ironton and ace pitcher and Ohio University commit Keegan Moore for the regional championship —as the junior Moore was a repeat selection to the Division III first team.
Other all-Ohio selections from the Southeast District’s Division III included second-teamers Addi Dillow (senior) of Coal Grove and McKenna Headley (junior) of Crooksville and Honorable Mention picks Alexis Lockwood (senior) of Southeastern and Jenna Johnston (junior) of Wellston.
Joining Bazler and the two Titans on all-state from Division IV were first-teamers (junior) Cara Taylor of Waterford and (senior) Emily Estep of Symmes Valley, second-teamers (senior) Brooke Kennedy of Manchester and (sophomore) Kaitlen Bush of Belpre, and Honorable Mentions (junior) Marisa Moore of Peebles and (senior) Riley Schweikert of Waterford.
Waverly, of the SOC II and among the Division II schools, was represented on the list by junior second-teamer Suzzy Wall.
For a complete list of the 2021 all-Ohio softball honorees, please visit the OHSFSCA’s website at www.ohsfsca.org.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved