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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oakland County Softball Preview - Top Players

1. Haley Zemmer - Troy Athens
Zemmer is arguably the area's best pitcher, but what gives her the edge over some of the other players in Oakland County is her ability to not only dominate in the circle, but her ability to dominate in the batter's box as well. Zemmer finished last year with an ERA of just over 1.00 and struck out a whopping 323 batters while tallying 31 wins. Offensively, she was nearly just as good as Zemmer hit nearly .500 on the season, while driving in almost 50 runs. Zemmer is already committed to play for Oakland..

2. Sarah Gutknecht - Farmington
Without a doubt the best offensive player that Oakland County has to offer, Gutknecht makes it look easy at the plate as she hit just under .600 last season in her junior campaign, while driving in and scoring 30 runs. Gutknecht is also one of the area's top defensive players as you will rarely, if ever, see her make an error at her shortstop position. Gutknecht has signed to play for Michigan State.

3. Selena Hicks - Lakeland
Hicks is the second half of the argument when it comes down to the best pitcher in Oakland County as she's proven to be an ace since she started pitching for the Eagles. Hicks finished with a 16-3 record last season in the circle for the Eagles as she helped lead Lakeland to Battle Creek after going 23-5 with an ERA of just over 1.00 in her sophomore campaign.

4. Sydney Heath - Troy
It's not often you find someone who hasn't played a specific sport on the high school scene for two years, but still manages to earn a scholarship offer to play that sport. But that's exactly the case for Heath, who spent the last couple of years as a star on the Troy track and field squad, but will play softball for the Colts after receiving and accepting an offer to play for Michigan State. Look for Heath to be a steady force in the Troy lineup, while also being one of the best defensive outfielders that Oakland County has to offer.

5. Jordan Lennington - Birmingham Seaholm
Lennington has been as consistent as it gets over the past four years for the Maples, as she's entering her fourth year as a starter for Seaholm. Last season, Lennington hit over .500 and almost 30 RBI in her junior season, while hitting three home runs and five triples, but what might be the most impressive stat from last season for Lennington was the fact that she struck out just two times all season long.

6. Sydney Hasselbach - Clarkston
The most imposing power threat in Oakland County, Hasselbach has the ability to change the outlook of a game with just one swing. Last season Hasselbach hit over 10 home runs and drove in over 60 runs while hitting .546 in the middle of the Clarkston lineup. Look for the senior catcher to do plenty of damage from behind the plate as well as she's proven to be one of the best when it comes to slowing down opposing running attacks.

7. Kelly Merkle - Lakeland
Merkle is another power hitter that will likely give opposing teams nightmares after her big season in 2012. Look for Merkle to help solidify a dangerous Lakeland lineup from the middle of the order and will have plenty of opportunities to pick up the RBI this season. Last year, Merkle hit over .500 for the Eagles as she helped lead the Eagles to a somewhat surprising season, which ended in Battle Creek.

8. Jackie Murphy - Farmington Hills Mercy
Murphy has some big shoes to fill this season as she'll replace Kayce Nieto as the ace of the Mercy pitching staff and she'll likely do some serious damage for the Marlins in the circle this year. Look for a big season from Murphy offensively as well as she proved to be one of the most consistent and lethal hitters that Oakland County had to offer last season.

9. Madison Burgess - Lakeland
Burgess is as good as it gets when it comes to lead-off hitters as she had a monstrous sophomore season last year and figures to do much of the same in her junior year this season. Last season Burgess hit over .450 and had an on-base percentage of .525 while proving to be arguably the best base-stealing threat in the county after swiping nearly 40 bases last year.

10. Zoe Schmerin - Birmingham Groves
Schmerin can flat out hit the ball as well as anyone in Oakland County as she's proven to be able to hit for both power and average and is one of, if not the best defensive catcher in the area. Last year, Schmerin hit well over .500 in her junior campaign, while also tallying two home runs and hitting 45 RBI to help lead the offensive attack for the Falcons and you can expect more of the same out of the senior catcher this season as well.

11. Devon Schomberg - Waterford Mott
One of the best when it comes to finding ways to get hitters out and is capable of striking out just about anybody, at any time.

12. Meg Tarrance - Farmington Hills Mercy
One of the leaders of the Mercy squad and has proven to be an offensive threat over the last couple of years in the middle of the Marlin's batting order.

13. Rachel Waynick - Waterford Mott
Will miss some time early on because of a torn ACL, but when she returns near midseason will likely pick up where she left off as one of the top hitters in the area, capable of getting on base at any time.

14. Jessica Mehr - South Lyon
It's almost impossible to keep Mehr off the base-paths, especially after last season where she hit nearly .600 as a sophomore and should do more of the same this year.

15. Madeline Maday - Clarkston
One of the rising stars of the circle, Maday was flat out dominant in her freshman campaign as she posted an ERA just north of .90 and struck out almost 230 batters.

16. Sydney Jones - South Lyon East
Another player who is one of the area's fastest rising players, Jones had a dominant season in 2012, and will look to have yet another strong season in her junior campaign.

17. Alicia Gronowski - Lake Orion
Gronowski has proven to do just about everything for the Dragons as she is not only one of the area's best hitters, but has also been a top defensive player and pitcher as well.

18. Taylor Steinhelper - Waterford Kettering
One of the best top of the order hitters out there, Steinhelper has proven she can get on base with the best of them after hitting .470 last year and his a threat on the bases after stealing 32 bases and scoring 42 runs.

19. Carly Banchiu - Waterford Mott
Another piece to the terrific trio that Mott has to offer, Banchiu figures to have a big senior season after missing her junior campaign with a torn ACL, look for her to return to her sophomore form where she became one of the best hitters around.

20. Karissa Gawronski - Lakeland
Another Lakeland player who had a breakout season of sorts last year, Gawronski was as consistent of a No. 2 hitter as there is after posting a .495 batting average as a sophomore.

21. Nikki Wald - North Farmington
Should help lead the offensive attack for the Raiders after hitting nearly .500 with 45 runs last year and is also a top notch defender at her third base position.

22. Kaitlyn Kendall - North Farmington
Will help solidify the middle of the North Farmington lineup as she's shown she can be one of the best around when it comes to driving in runs after tallying 44 RBI in her junior seasons.

23. Mackenzie Norton - Waterford Kettering 
The ace of the Captains pitching staff, Norton picked up 25 wins in her sophomore season should be dominant once again this year and should be one of the main hitters in the Kettering order.

24. Anika Wiesinger - Lakeland
Wiesinger is as good of an ace as there is in Oakland County, but is the No. 2 pitcher on the Lakeland staff. As a junior, Wiesinger picked up 20 wins in the circle last season and pitching along with Selena Hicks should prove to be a dominant 1-2 punch for the Eagles this year.

25. Megan Keller - North Farmington
Keller should be another consistent bat in the middle of the Raider's order after posting a .463 batting average and had five home runs along with 33 RBI as a sophomore.

15 More To Keep An Eye On (NO ORDER)
1. Autumn Cervantez - Oxford
2. Cori Mittelbrun - Troy
3. Julie Malear - Lake Orion
4. Taylor Krumm - Walled Lake Central
5. Veronica Dyer - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
6. Emma Colegrove - Waterford Kettering
7. Maggie Vosler - Southfield Christian
8. Angie Mastromatteo - Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes/Clarkston Everest
9. Kelly McCassland - Rochester Adams
10. Erika Meyers - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
11. Katelyn Hendershott - Ortonville Brandon
12. Elizabeth Carlson - Farmington Hills Mercy
13. Mamie Talty - Birmingham Groves
14. Verca Barnwell - Birmingham Detroit Country Day
15. Lexi Hamilton - Birmingham Seaholm

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