Six Cougars named to All-Section softball team


Mabel-Canton members of the All-Section 1A Softball Team are, on top, from left, Emily Carolan, Hannah Snell and Jordyn Newgard. On the bottom are Kenidi McCabe, Payton Danielson and Lexi Thorson
By: 
Chad Smith

The postseason honors continue for the Mabel-Canton softball team as six Cougar players have been named to the 2019 All-Section 1A Team: seniors Lexi Thorson and Hannah Snell, junior Payton Danielson, sophomores Jordan Newgard and Kenidi McCabe as well as freshman Emily Carolan.

The Cougars (15-8) had another nice run through the playoffs. They won four games and dropped two while winning the East Sub-section championship and going on to be the section runner-up this spring.

Thorson  

The senior first baseman is now a six-year letter winner, who was previously named First Team All-Conference for a second year. She also was named Honorable Mention for three seasons. 

“She’s moved around some for us defensively, just because she could,” coach Kati Bergey said. “We could just put her anywhere, and she got the job done.

“Every time Lexi was up, she expected to get a hit,” she added. “She usually did, so she’s going to be awfully hard to replace in the lineup next year."

McCabe

Only a sophomore, the M-C shortstop is already a three-year letter winner as well as a two-time All-SEC selection.

“Kenidi can literally play any position on the field,” Bergey said of the sophomore. “She probably wouldn’t like me if I put her in to pitch, but I know she could do it. However, I need her at short because she has such a big range and a good arm.

“She always seemed to make the great play in the field,” Bergey added. “However, I told her before the season that I need her to make the routine plays consistently, which she did.”

Snell  

She’s a senior third baseman and a five-year letter winner, who’s received Honorable Mention on the 2019 All-Conference Team.

“I think third base is the hardest position to play in high school softball,” Bergey said, a former third baseman herself. “That ball comes at you so fast. We’re going to miss Hannah at the hot corner.”

Carolan  

Just a freshman as she stepped into the pitcher’s circle full-time, she’s a two-year letter winner. Her teammates voted Carolan as the 2019 Cougar Most Valuable Player and was also the team choice for the Hardest Worker Award.

“She played a little bit last year as an eighth-grader, but she didn’t pitch much,” Bergey said. “She pitched every single inning for us this year.

“The thing about Emily is nothing rattles her,” Bergey recalled. “She could walk a batter and come right back to strike out the next one. You could easily get frustrated if your teammates commit an error with two outs and the opponent scores when you should have been out of the inning. She just didn’t let it get to her.”

Danielson  

The junior outfielder is a three-year letter winner, who batted .333 with 18 runs batted in. She made things happen on base, stealing eight bases and getting a team-high three sacrifices.

“She was actually pretty frustrated with her season at the plate during the spring,” Bergey recalled. “At one point, I pulled up the stats and showed Payton she was still batting over .300. Anytime you’re over .300, you’re doing very well.

“It’s not at all that she wasn’t making good contact,” she added. “She was hitting the ball hard. During the Blooming Prairie game in the playoffs, she hit the snot out of the ball. When we needed a big hit to drive in a run, she usually came through.”

Danielson, making solid catches at the fence, robbed two players of home runs in the Hayfield Tournament.

Newgard

The sophomore outfielder is already a two-year letter winner. She batted .361 and had team-highs with 20 RBIs and 12 extra-base hits.

“The thing about Jordyn is she has no idea that young players are sometimes supposed to be intimidated at the varsity level, especially against good competition,” Bergey said. “We played Cannon Falls who has a really good pitcher. Jordyn stepped right up to the plate and put one over the fence. She’s fearless.”

Good season

“We had a really good season,” said Bergey. “I think the girls surprised themselves, and we definitely surprised other people. I had some high expectations going into the season.

“When we opened the season with a loss to Glenville-Emmons (AC/GE), I thought I’d have to bring the expectations down a little,” she recalled. “There was a long break after that with the seniors off on their class trip. We played GMLOK shortly after and got beat good. We had to re-evaluate a little after that.”

Bergey said she and the kids worked on some defensive changes they hadn’t had much chance to practice. She knew going into the season that the Cougars would score a lot of runs. It took about four or five games, but the bats finally took off.

“We bring back a good group of girls next year,” Bergey said. “We will definitely have some big shoes to fill. We’ll miss Maddy Michels behind the plate defensively. Not a lot got past her. She also doesn’t give up a lot of stolen bases with that good arm she has."