The MAAA softball conference celebrated a milestone last week with two member programs reaching the state finals in their respective enrollment classes for the first time.
Two highly competitive battles during the regular season between Valle Catholic and West County, in retrospect, served as solid preparation for eventual final four appearances by both.
Class 1 Valle Catholic went on to defeat Concordia in extra innings to capture the first state title in program and conference history. West County finished runner-up for a second time in Class 2.
To further illustrate the talent depth atop the MAAA, the regular season crown did not find the possession of the Lady Warriors or Lady Bulldogs.
That honor was instead claimed by Ste. Genevieve, which finished 7-0 in league play just one year after Central placed fourth in the state, and two years after Potosi took second.
The recently released list of 20 MAAA all-conference players for this spring includes four names from four different schools, and also highlights a strong sophomore class around the area.
Five pitchers and four shortstops were among those picked, along with three center fielders and three catchers to lead by position.
Valle Catholic is represented by junior shortstop Ade Weiler, sophomore pitcher Abree Zipprich, junior catcher Makayla Joggerst and senior second baseman Macy Wolk, who usually comprised the top four places in the batting order.
Senior pitcher Gracie Wright, senior third baseman and league home run leader Reese Smith, senior center fielder Morgan Simily and junior shortstop Alexis Hedgcorth were chosen from West County, which easily had the most experienced team in the conference.
The winningest season in Ste. Genevieve history was fueled by three sophomores – pitcher Ava Greer, shortstop Ava Huber and catcher Chloe Staffen – and junior center fielder Hope Schmelzle.
Central also projects to have each of its all-conference players back next year with repeat sophomore selections Sydney Miles at shortstop and Kaydence Cosby at catcher, along with classmate Alexis Portell at second base. Junior first baseman Khloe Dischbein was honored following her first varsity season.
Potosi reached a district final with the help of two seniors in first baseman Jade Williams and leadoff hitting center fielder Emily Hochstatter.
Bismarck pitcher Ashley Hawkins is the lone all-MAAA freshman, while Arcadia Valley pitcher and first baseman Elena Lara returns to the list.
2023 MAAA All-Conference Spring Softball
Kaydence Cosby – Central
Khloe Dischbein – Central
Ava Greer – Ste. Genevieve
Ashley Hawkins – Bismarck
Alexis Hedgcorth – West County
Emily Hochstatter – Potosi
Ava Huber – Ste. Genevieve
Makayla Joggerst – Valle Catholic
Elena Lara – Arcadia Valley
Sydney Miles – Central
Alexis Portell – Central
Hope Schmelzle – Ste. Genevieve
Morgan Simily – West County
Reese Smith – West County
Chloe Staffen – Ste. Genevieve
Ade Weiler – Valle Catholic
Jade Williams – Potosi
Macy Wolk – Valle Catholic
Gracie Wright – West County
Abree Zipprich – Valle Catholic