Stellar season yields a slew of all-state and all-league hardware

All season long, the focus for Banks softball was on team accomplishments, and the Lady Braves certainly had no shortage of hardware in that department, storming to their fourth consecutive outright Cowapa League title and their second straight Class 4A state championship.

And while those trophies will no doubt be on prominent display at Banks High School for a very long time, the individual members of this year’s team earned some keepsakes of their own for another fabulous season.

Following the conclusion of the state playoffs on Saturday, Banks was rewarded with seven all-state selections — including 4A State Pitcher of the Year Kaylin VanDomelen and State Player of the Year MaKenna Partain — as well as eight all-league awards.

“It was awesome for the girls to get that individual recognition,” Banks softball coach Jenny Compton said. “I think it’s a really nice compliment for them to be recognized for what they did this season.

“To have that many all-state players is amazing.”

VanDomelen and Partain reeled in the most postseason hardware after a pair of remarkable individual campaigns.

VanDomelen, a senior, was named Cowapa League Pitcher of the Year and was a first team all-state and all-league selection after leading the Lady Braves to their third state title game appearance in the last four years.

In the pitcher’s circle, VanDomelen went 22-2 with a 0.43 ERA, striking out 226 batters in 147 innings. At the plate, she batted .427 with three home runs, 19 extra-base hits and 38 RBIs, and she also went a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts.

Partain, a precocious freshman, earned Cowapa League Player of the Year honors in addition to being a first team all-state and all-league selection.

Partain put up eye-popping numbers this season, with a .574 batting average, 10 home runs, 35 extra-base hits and 60 RBIs. She also went 4-0 in the pitcher’s circle with a 1.30 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 27 innings.

Banks’ other first team all-state selections were catcher Madison Soper and outfielders Lexi Chung and Hannah VanDomelen. Infielders Riley Gerlinger and Molly Hammond were third team all-state picks.

Soper took over everyday catching duties after last year’s starter, Aubrey Rue, tore her ACL during basketball season. Soper, a sophomore, caught virtually every inning for Banks in 2013 and finished the year with a .453 batting average, nine doubles, a home run and 30 RBIs.

Hannah VanDomelen, also a sophomore, started in center field for the Lady Braves and batted .442 with eight doubles, a triple and 20 RBIs.

Chung, a senior, started in left field for the second straight year, and helped spark the offense from the top of the lineup. For the season, she batted .475 with 11 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 17 RBIs.

Gerlinger, another senior, was limited early in the year due to an ankle injury sustained during basketball season, but she rebounded to hit .427 with five doubles, two home runs and 20 RBIs.

Hammond, a junior, took over as the team’s starting first baseman this season and shined with a .382 batting average, four doubles and 20 RBIs.

All seven players were also first team all-league selections, and freshman Megan Bunn was an honorable mention pick.

Bunn, an outfielder, batted .387 for the season with six doubles, a triple and 18 RBIs.

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