League bests: Hancock County standouts top All-HHC softball team

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Hancock County had one-half of the 20-players, and the coach of the year, for the recently released All-Hoosier Heritage Conference softball team.

Leading his team to a conference championship, along with titles in the sectional, regional and semi-state, New Palestine’s Ed Marcum, who picked up his 500th career win earlier this season, was named the HHC Coach of the Year.

Five Dragons were named to the team including shortstop Allie Blum, third baseman Paige Ernstes, right fielder Sydney Oliver, pitcher Courtney Study and center fielder Maddie Engle.

Blum, who is also a candidate for the state’s Miss Softball award, led the state in home runs (21), slugging percentage (1.462) and runs scored (61). She had 14 doubles, three triples and an HHC-best 53 RBI. She was second in the league with a .548 batting average. Blum, who is headed for the University of Kentucky, was named to the Softball Coaches Association of Indiana Class 3A/4A first team.

Ernstes was second in the HHC, and eighth in the state, in RBI with 51 and third in the conference in home runs with 11. She hit .385 with eight doubles and 31 runs scored. A second team all-state choice, the third baseman will play next year at Mississippi State University.

Senior Oliver was fourth in the HHC in batting average at .505 and third in RBI with 40. She had 12 doubles, five triples and scored 36 times. A third team all-state selection, she will continue her athletic and academic career at the University of Indianapolis.

The Dragons leader in the circle, Study finished the season with a 17-3 record and a 2.01 earned run average. She struck out 80 in 111.2 innings pitched.

Junior Engle, who has committed to Indiana University, was fourth in the HHC in RBI with 38. She hit .393 with eight home runs and 38 RBI. She had six doubles and scored 27 runs.

Greenfield-Central had three selections to the team, middle infielder Kristen Wineinger, third baseman Savvanna Riall and first baseman Leilani Forshey. Wineinger and Riall are sophomores. Forshey is a junior.

Wineinger tied with Blum for fourth in the conference in stolen bases with 15. She hit .434 with six doubles, a triple and three home runs. Wineinger drove in 22 and scored a team-best 34 times.

Riall was third in the league in batting average at .507. Along with hitting for a high average, Riall had eight doubles and six home runs. She scored 31 runs and drove in 30.

Forshey was second in the conference in home runs with 13. She led G-C with 34 RBI and hit well for average, too, at a .419 clip.

Mt. Vernon has two selections on the team, senior shortstop/pitcher Shelby Rakosky and senior catcher/shortstop Easton Wampler.

Rakosky, a second team all-state choice, led the HHC in hitting with a .549 average.

Headed to Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Rakosky led her team with 30 runs scored. She hit nine doubles, three triples and two home runs. She had 20 RBI. As a pitcher, she was 3-1 with a 4.20 ERA.

Wampler led the Marauders with five home runs and 26 RBI. She hit .403 and also had two triples.

Other selections to the All-HHC team included: Pendleton Heights – Katelin Goodwin, Ari Rector, Kelsey Day, Shelby Messer; Yorktown – Caitlin LaFerney, Abbey Booher, Claire Hazen; Shelbyville – Cheyenne Eads, Addison Stieneker; New Castle – Kattie Mathews.

New Palestine finished 7-0 in conference games and 25-5 overall. Pendleton Heights, Yorktown and Shelbyville tied for second with 5-2 records. Yorktown finished 21-3 and won its sectional. Mt. Vernon was fifth with a 3-4 mark. Greenfield-Central finished 2-5. Delta had a 1-6 HHC record and New Castle was last at 0-7.