Class 1A softball was loaded in 2022 with eight of the top 19 teams in the MaxPreps final rankings residing in the area.
There was no shortage of softball talent either, which made the selection process for the small school Mainstreet Daily News All Area Softball Team a very difficult one.
Extra consideration was given to players whose teams made lengthy playoff runs.
A panel of local sportswriters and coaches chose the All Area teams from Mainstreet’s eight-county coverage area. All 46 players and coaches will receive commemorative plaques to recognize their accomplishments.
The two area small school teams who spent the longest time in the postseason, Fort White and Dixie County (Cross), advanced to their first state final four in program history
Class 1A state runner-up Fort White, which lost a heartbreaker in the title game, placed one on the first team, while 1A state semifinalist Dixie County had two.
Fort White pitcher Kadence Compton was selected following a big freshman season in which she helped lead the Indians (16-8) to a state runner-up finish. She had the game-winning hit in the state semifinals, a 7-5 win against Dixie County at Legends Way Ballfields in Clermont.
“Kadence is a competitor who enjoys a challenge,” said Fort White co-head coach Michele Padgett. “She performed well in pressure situations as evidenced by a couple of home runs she hit this year.”
One of her best games in the circle came against Union County in the regional final when she struck out 14 and allowed just two hits in a complete game two-hit shutout to send the Indians to the state semifinals.
Compton, who finished third in the voting for the Florida Dairy Farmers Class 1A Player of the Year, ended the season with a record of 16-6 in the circle with a 1.66 earned run average. She finished with 212 strikeouts in 144 innings pitched.
“Kadence’s pitching skills have grown over the last two seasons and we expect her to develop into an even better player in the future,” Padgett said.
Pitcher Bria Hinkle of Dixie County made the team after leading the Bears to a 21-5 record.
The junior, who tossed a three-hit shutout in a 9-0 win against Taylor (Pierson) in the region final, finished 13-1 with a 0.91 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 108 innings pitched.
Hinkle led her team offensively with a .434 batting average and 33 runs batted in, along with 22 runs scored, seven doubles and six triples.
“Bria is just one of those players that can play whatever position you ask her to,” said Dixie County coach Greg Wimberley. “She is also one of the best pitchers in the state, and she knows the game better than most coaches and loves it and her teammates. I’m very happy she will be back next season.”
Her teammate, senior shortstop Juliann Smith, made the team after batting .370 with 30 hits, 23 runs scored, 15 RBI, six doubles, one triple, and two home runs.
“Juliann Is a baller,” said Wimberley. “She loves the game and works so hard to get better. She will be missed next season as much for her leadership as she is for her play.”
Bradford (Starke) had two players on the team.
First baseman Takeirra Bakken batted .456 for the Tornadoes (15-7) with 31 hits, 29 RBI, and 29 runs scored.
“Takeirra made a very big impact on our team this year,” said Bradford coach Kaylan Taylor. “Offensively she led our team in home runs, runs batted in and slugging. Defensively she played a very good first base for us and was a leader in the infield.”
The junior added five doubles, four triples, and a team-leading eight home runs.
“Takierra was always willing to play wherever her team needed her when we had to adjust our defense,” added Taylor. “She puts in a lot of work to be as strong as she is and her hard work showed this season.”
Bradford senior Hannah McFarland joins Trenton’s Shaylyn Parrish and Union County’s (Lake Butler) Angela Tucker in the outfield.
“Hannah was a leader on and off the field for our team,” Taylor said. “Offensively she led our team in batting average and on-base percentage. Defensively she led our team in fielding percentage with no errors the entire season, making game-saving and spectacular plays in center field for us.”
McFarland batted .544 with 31 hits, 21 RBI, and 25 runs scored. The senior had a .620 OBP and an .859 slugging percentage.
“She was always one of the first ones to the field and the last to leave,” Taylor noted. “Her hard work and determination really showed in the way she played this season.”
Parrish batted .440 with 33 hits and 34 RBI.
“Shaylyn is a dangerous hitter who has the power to change the game with one swing,” said first-year Trenton coach Clint Anderson.
The senior led the Tigers with nine home runs.
Tucker helped lead Union County to the Class 1A-Region 3 Final. The junior led the Tigers (18-6) with a .493 batting average, 36 hits, and 32 runs scored.
“Angela has a great eye for the ball at the plate, a very disciplined hitter, and she reads the ball off the bat as good as anyone I’ve coached,” said Union County coach Jim Godwin.
Teammate Tamia Young edged Dixie County’s Payton Hatcher (.402, 37 hits, 22 RBI, 12 doubles) at the catcher position.
Young, who was a team captain, finished second on her team with a .433 average. She scored 31 runs, had 29 hits, 24 RBI, eight doubles, and a team-leading 21 stolen bases.
“Tamia is full of energy, very passionate, and a team player,” noted Godwin. “She is a very disciplined hitter. Her on-base percentage is over .600.”
Williston, which lost to Taylor (Pierson) in the 1A-Region 4 Semifinals, led the way with three players on the team—second baseman Baylee Cribbs, third baseman Raegan Geiger, and utility player Nevaeh Hayes.
Cribbs, who is just an eighth-grader, batted .382 with 34 hits, 25 RBI, eight doubles, one triple, three home runs, and 16 stolen bases. She was responsible for eight double plays and had a .935 fielding percentage for the Red Devils (18-8).
Geiger finished second on the team with a .500 average. The junior had 41 hits, a team-leading 38 RBI, 10 doubles, two triples, four home runs, and an .817 slugging percentage. She only made two errors all season.
Hayes led the Red Devils at the plate (.511, 47 hits, 18 doubles, 44 runs scored). She was second with 31 RBI, and tied for first with four home runs.
In the circle, the sophomore was 6-2 in 11 appearances and finished with 66 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched.
SMALL SCHOOL (1A-2A)
C – Tamia Young (Jr./Union County)
1B – Takeirra Bakken (Jr./Bradford)
2B – Baylee Cribbs (8th-grade/Williston)
SS – Juliann Smith (Sr./Dixie County)
3B – Raegan Geiger (Jr./Williston)
OF – Shaylyn Parrish (Sr./Trenton)
OF – Angela Tucker (Jr./Union County)
OF – Hannah McFarland (Sr./Bradford)
UTIL – Nevaeh Hayes (So./Williston)
P – Bria Hinkle (Dixie County)
P – Kadence Compton (Fr./Fort White)
Bell – Lexi Faught (8th), Emma Hutto (Sr.), Amani Salem (So.), Alaina Thomas (Fr.), Michelle Heilig (Sr.)
Bradford (Starke) – Rylie Blankenship (So.), Masey Padgett (Jr.), Taylor Reddish (Sr.), Cassidy Spratlin (Sr.), Allison Funderburk (Sr.)
Branford – Morgan Brennan (Fr.), Evie Pitts (Sr.), Madyson Sikes (Fr.), Cloey Criggall (Fr.), Jesse Frierson (Fr.), Laila Arnold (Fr.)
Bronson – Maci Thomas (So.), Michaela Phillips (So.), Julianne Lampton (7th), Tatum Gibson (So.)
Chiefland – Grace Quincey (Jr.), Emma Swain (So.), Kalie Osteen (Sr.), MacKenzie Fisher (7th)
Dixie County (Cross City) – Peyton Hatcher (Jr.), Gracie McKinnon (Jr.), Shylee Brown (Jr.), Madisyn Langford (Sr.), Aubrey Thomas (Sr.), Kyrie O’Steen (Sr.)
Fort White – Gracie Clemons (So.), Madison Brown (Jr.), Kaitlyn Suggs (So.), N’Coreyia Atkins (So.), Madalyn Keen (Sr.), Morgan Kelly (Fr.), Ciara Byrd (Jr.)
Hawthorne – Synteria Williams (So.), Kamiah Brooks (Jr.), Madisyn Gillins (Fr.)
Newberry – Hollie Pabst (So.), Danielle Oliveira (Jr.), Malana Kennard (Fr.)
St. Francis Catholic Academy (Gainesville) – Kaylee Lamberson (Jr.), Olivia McDaniel (Jr.)
Trenton – Brandy Dees (So.), Jessica Johnson (So.), Addison Allaire (7th)
Union County (Lake Butler) – Leah Clark (Jr.), Hailey Rivera (Jr.), Nyasia Williams (Jr.), Megan Sullivan (Sr.)
Williston – Cheyenne Boggs (Jr.), Olivia Davis (Jr.), Marci Vonderstrasse (Jr.), Kyndall Smith (So.).
This is the first of five stories unveiling the 2022 Mainstreet Daily News All Area Softball and Baseball Teams, sponsored by Drummond Community Bank. Check back tomorrow for the All Area big school softball team.