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Prep softball: A worthy finish

Saugus’ Kelly voted league’s best in breakout senior campaign

Posted: May 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Senior shortstop Jenna Kelly was voted Foothill League player of the year after leading Saugus to a league championship. She hit .481 this season with 12 home runs and 35 RBIs.

 

The Saugus softball team finished fourth in the Foothill League a year ago.

Members of the team wanted more.

They expected more.

Perhaps none more than senior shortstop Jenna Kelly, whose improved offensive production was key in helping the senior-laden Centurions jump to the top of the Foothill League standings in 2011. For her efforts, she’s been named the league’s player of the year by the Foothill coaches.

“It’s been awesome,” Kelly said of the season. “In preseason, we set goals for ourselves, and one of them was to win league. So, I’m really proud of all the girls for that accomplishment. It’s kind of a bummer that we didn’t get to the second goal, but it’s still an accomplishment, especially from last year coming in fourth.”

The University of North Carolina-bound team captain hit a career-best 12 home runs, with an .481 average, 35 RBIs and 27 runs scored in her final season with Saugus.

It’s a credit to her hitting coach, Terry Holden, she said.

“It’s something that I wanted since freshman year, and I started with a new hitting coach when I was a freshman,” she said of winning the league honor. “He has honestly done so much for me.”

Kelly is joined on the first team by fellow Centurion seniors Sara Shier and Abby Linn, as well as junior pitcher Kimmie Lockhart.

Shier hit .381 with five home runs, 27 RBIs and 26 runs, while Linn overcame a hand injury to hit .441 with 20 runs from the leadoff spot. Lockhart finished 10-1 on the year with a 3.66 ERA.

West Ranch also made a jump this season, finishing in second place for the first time in program history.

The Wildcats were led by first-teammers Janelle Lindvall, Kylie Sorenson and Bailey Foster.

Lindvall was an offensive juggernaut this season, hitting .582 with a league-leading 14 home runs, 35 RBIs and 18 runs scored. The junior catcher also assumed pitch-calling duties late in the season.

Sorenson batted .488 with five home runs, 18 RBIs and 17 runs scored as the team’s shortstop, while Foster was the team’s ace with a 2.32 ERA, 20-8 record and 165 strikeouts over 162 2/3 innings pitched.

Valencia fell short of a league title this season for the first time in 10 seasons, but still made the Foothill’s deepest run in the postseason, advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Division I quarterfinals.

Senior first-baseman Bethany Kemp was a big reason for that, as was the strong play of super-freshman Maddy Jelenicki at second base. Both players were named to the all-league first team.

Kemp batted .462 with six home runs 21 RBIs and 30 runs scored. Jelenicki finished with a .500 average, a team high eight home runs and 32 RBIs, as well as 23 runs scored.

Rounding out the first team was Hart’s Tracy Chandless, who split time between third base and the outfield, and Canyon’s versatile senior, Danielle Sullivan.

Chandless hit .398 with six home runs, 26 RBIs and 28 runs scored.

Sullivan was strong at the plate with a .346 average, two home runs, 16 RBIs and 10 runs scored. She was also key in the circle with a team-best 2.27 ERA over 61 2/3 innings.

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