One of the first to suggest that the Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Softball Team should be determined by a vote of coaches and media was Oak Harbor coach Chris Rawski.
For Rawski’s Rockets, it paid off.
Rawski, who previously was an assistant under former Genoa coach Tom Kontak, did not have a single player get first team All-Sandusky Bay Conference.
But in voting with four Northern Buckeye Conference schools, three Toledo Area Athletic Conference schools and one school each from the Three Rivers Athletic Conference and Toledo City League, Oak Harbor had three first team picks.
| Left: Oak Harbor freshman Emma Bergman at the plate.
Right: Oak Harbor coach Chris Rawski sends a message.
(Press photos by Russ Lytle)
That’s what Rawski was seeking, and other coaches back him up on the premise.
Previously, for years, the All-Press Team was taken directly from coaches’ choices to their all-league teams, partly because by the time the season was done school was out and communication for nomination, ballots, and voting might be difficult. Also, because the conference reflects the type of competition and school-size each team faces, which is all relative.
But voting was done by baseball and softball and it seems to us the results reflect what Rawski has been saying. Hopefully, Rawski thinks so, too, because his team finished 18-11 overall and only 6-8 in the SBC.
His All-Press first team picks are senior second baseman Justine Webb, sophomore second baseman Olivia Rollins and freshman designated player Emma Bergman, who is a pitcher but rewarded for her hitting.
Webb was voted second team All-SBC last year and this year, and honorable mention in 2012. This year, she led the team in most offensive categories.
“She was our vocal leader and anchored our lineup,” Rawski said. “Playing in a very tough SBC, she was able to produce consistently throughout the season.”
The speedy Rollins is a left-handed slap hitter who led the team in stolen bases (18).
“Olivia came into the year a big question mark, but ended up leading us in average (.433),” Rawski said. “She started the year at the end of the lineup and finished as a very productive lead-off hitter. She played an outstanding second base and will be a huge part of our program moving forward.”
At the plate, Bergman set Oak Harbor’s single season record for runs scored at 34 (previously 33), but even more so at the plate, where she was chosen second team All-Press.
Bergman set the program’s single season records for wins with 18 (old record, 17) and threw 180.2 out of the Rockets’ 189.2 innings this season.
“This is despite playing in a very tough SBC and a tough non-league schedule,” Rawski said. “She was a key to the Rockets success this season and will be for the considerable future.”
Also second team is another freshman, catcher Maddy Rathbun.
“Maddy was one of the best defensive catchers in the area,” Rawski said. “She didn’t record an error for the whole season and was very good throwing out potential base stealers. She showed maturity beyond her years as a freshman and caught almost every inning of every game this season. She also hit anywhere from first to fourth in our lineup.”
Joining the two freshmen on the second team are sophomore center fielder Brandy Lochotzki.
“If you had a chance to see Brandy play center field this season, you will have seen some amazing defense,” Rawski said. “She runs down everything from gap to gap. She improved offensively this season and will continue to do so as a leader for our team moving forward.”