Cortland High juniors Kacie Hubbard and Cady Walts were named the OHSL Freedom National Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, each for the second year in a row, for their performances in leading the Purple Tigers to a second straight league championship.
Senior centerfielder / first baseman Hannah Whelan also represents the Purple Tigers on the first team, while third-place Homer Central’s first-teamers are senior shortstop Molly Ulrich and a pair of junior twins — catcher/third baseman Allie Osterhoudt and pitcher Rachael Osterhoudt.
Also on the first team are Jada Jackowski and Alicia Midlar from second-place Phoenix, Joccalynn Bailey from Mexico and Chittenango’s Morgan Shoemaker.
Purple Tigers junior second baseman Liz Minnard, senior first baseman Allison DeGraff and freshman catcher Ashley Shortsleeve are on the second team, along with Trojans junior utility player Ashley Aloi, sophomore second baseman Mackenzie Conklin and sophomore third baseman/outfielder Caley Cornwell.
The other second-teamers are Cheyenne Wilson and Isabella Garofalo from Phoenix, Mexico’s Kennedy Lamb and Trisha Whaley from Chittenango.
Cortland freshman shortstop Sarah Boyce is an honorable mention, as are Erika Brown and Briana Neiss from Phoenix, Mexico’s Brianna Clark and Kendra Harter and, from Chittenango, Alexa Rossi and Shayla Muncy.
Cortland coach Maureen White had the following comments on her first-teamers.
On Hubbard: “Kacie started the season playing shortstop for us, but then with some injuries and people away for vacation we had to make some changes. She then went over to third base, which is her position to play, and was at home. She made several diving plays for us defensively and was a vocal leader on the field. Kacie works hard in the off-season and is ready to go when the season starts. Her leadership was valuable to our success.”
Hubbard hit .351 with three doubles, four triples and five RBIs.
On Walts: “Cady was our rock this year with her pitching every pitch. She had 181 strikeouts, only 23 BB and only allowing 68 hits out of 471 at-bats. She also helped us offensively with her .510 batting average (with three doubles, a triple and two home runs), driving in 27 runs. Cady’s hard work in the off-season and during the season paid off. She came into every game with determination and toward the end of the season was playing with a lot of heart as her innings were starting to take a toll on her shoulder. If you watched her you would never know she was pitching in pain.”
On Whelan: “Hannah was our starting centerfielder to start the season. When we had an injury half way through the season, we needed to make some changes. I asked Hannah to come in to the infield and play first base, a position she had never played before,and she didn’t hesitate to agree. She worked hard to learn the new position and helped us be very successful this season. Hannah was elected a captain and lead by example with her hard work.
She also worked very hard with her batting. Last year being primarily a slapper, she worked hard to be able to hit away this year and earned the leadoff position in our batting order. Her .322 batting average (including two doubles and two triples) and seven RBI’s ranked her as one of our leading offensive players. Anything we asked Hannah to do this year she agreed to do, always putting the team’s needs first.”
Homer coach Cris Colasurdo said of her first-teamers:
On Ulrich: “Offensively, Molly was one of the quickest players in our league. She could beat out a throw on a clean play on her bunts. Once on base she was a scoring threat, scoring 19 times out of the 21 times she was on base, as well as being 10-for-10 on stolen base attempts. Defensively, she frustrated many hitters recording an out on what would normally be a great hit; even surprising an official at our V-V-S tournament, who made the comment: ‘We’ll see that play on ESPN highlights later tonight.’”
On Allie Osterhoudt: “As our catcher, Allie worked with her sister Rachael, the two of the communicating well with what pitches to call. She has gained the knowledge on what pitches to throw and when, knowing she has the defense that will make the plays. She is one of our leaders on the field who keeps the team together. Allie is one of our most consistent offensive players, who I can count on to get on base, whether by a hit or walk; she made the defensive team make the play on her, only striking out once all season. She has such a great work ethic that I look forward to the continued improvements she will make for next year.”
Osterhoudt hit .273 this season with three doubles, 18 runs scored five RBIs and four stolen bases.
On Rachael Osterhoudt: “Rachael was our consistent, even keel player on the field. As a pitcher, she has a mask on that does not allow her teammates to see any emotions, except a focused, encouraging and supportive teammate-which as a pitcher her teammates needed, especially when they made mistakes. She has the quick reactions to field many hits up the middle. Rachael also improved with her hitting, becoming second in batting average (.375) and RBIs (15), and first in doubles (5). Add two triples and 16 runs scored and she became one of our offensive leaders this year. Rachael has such a great work ethic that she will only improve for next year.”
Freedom National Standings: Cortland 7-3, Phoenix 4-6, Homer 3-7, Mexico 2-8, Chittenango 1-9.