Softball: Heacox unanimous choice for Stillwater’s MVP

Senior Hannah Heacox was named the Most Valuable Player for the section champion Stillwater softball team. Heacox ended her stellar pitching career with a school record 524 strikeouts. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz)

Senior Hannah Heacox was named the Most Valuable Player for the section champion Stillwater softball team. Heacox ended her stellar pitching career with a school record 524 strikeouts. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz)

After being honored by countless media outlets and other organizations, senior Hannah Heacox was honored as the Most Valuable Player for the Stillwater softball team during its postseason awards banquet at The Grand Ballroom in downtown Stillwater on June 20.

The players vote for the MVP award and Heacox was a unanimous selection by her teammates, an obvious choice based on her remarkable on-field achievements and the perseverance and leadership she displayed following the death of her father midway through the season. Heacox, who racked up numerous honors this season, fanned 18 at this year’s state tournament to finish her career with a school-record 524 strikeouts.

The Ponies finished with a 20-5 record, including 15-3 to place second in the Suburban East Conference behind fellow state qualifier Forest Lake. Stillwater also captured the Section 4AAA championship before getting stopped by Prior Lake and Bloomington Jefferson in the state tournament. The Ponies lost to the Lakers 3-1 in eight innings in the quarterfinals at state and were eliminated by Bloomington Jefferson 3-2 in the consolation bracket.

Heacox was joined in earning all-conference honors by teammates Carlie Hart, Haley Balzart, Rachel Hartwig and Sidnee Ronsberg while Natalie Ingram, Allison Pasiuk and Natalie Gerber were honorable mention recipients.

In addition to being named one of seven finalists for the Minnesota Ms. Softball Award, Heacox was named to the All-Pioneer Press Team, the Minnesota Softball Coaches Association All-State First Team, the Star Tribune All-Metro First Team and its Metro Player of the Year. She was also selected the Gatorade Minnesota Softball Athlete of the Year and participated in the Minnesota All-Star Series and the Minnesota-Wisconsin Border Battle in Mauston, Wis., earlier this month.

There were countless additional awards distributed in the wake of another stellar season for the Ponies after capturing a state championship in 2012.

While Heacox led the way on the mound, Rachel Hartwig paced Stillwater with a .407 batting average — clipping teammate Carlie Hart (.400) as the team’s top hitter — and also delivered a team-high 28 RBIs and launched eight home runs.

Jordan Rastall, Rachel Rhode, Emily Ramberg and Morgan Conley each received a Coaches Award for their sacrifices to the team while Pasiuk, Conley, Hartwig, Balzart and Ronsberg were named the team’s Most Improved Player(s).

Heacox, who will continue her softball career at Gustavus, and Rastall were presented the Senior Award while Hartwig and Lauren Greeder joined Heacox in netting the Team Igniter Award. Ingram received the Rookie of the Year Award and Balzart (infield), Lauren Jordan (infield) and Hart (outfield) received Golden Glove Award(s).

The Ponies also notched an All-State Academic Gold Award for the eighth year in a row. The academic award honors teams who maintain a 3.75 grade point average or higher with its top 10 student-athletes.

Ronsberg and Jordan were also voted to serve as captains for the 2014 team.

 

Softball

All-Conference: Carlie Hart, Haley Balzart, Hannah Heacox, Rachel Hartwig and Sidnee Ronsberg; All-Conference Honorable Mention: Natalie Ingram, Allison Pasiuk and Natalie Gerber; All-Section 4AAA Team: Hannah Heacox, Haley Balzart, Rachel Hartwig, Carlie Hart, Sidnee Ronsberg and Morgan Conley; All-Pioneer Press First Team: Hannah Heacox; Minnesota Softball Coaches Association All-State First Team: Hannah Heacox; Star Tribune All-Metro First Team: Hannah Heacox; Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year: Hannah Heacox; Gatorade Minnesota Softball Athlete of the Year: Hannah Heacox; Ms. Softball Finalist: Hannah Heacox; All-Star Series: Hannah Heacox; Minnesota-Wisconsin Border Battle: Hannah Heacox; Coaches Award: Jordan Rastall, Rachel Rhode, Emily Ramberg and Morgan Conley; Most Improved Player: Allison Pasiuk, Morgan Conley, Rachel Hartwig, Haley Balzart and Sidnee Ronsberg; Senior Award: Hannah Heacox and Jordan Rastall; Team Igniter Award: Rachel Hartwig, Hannah Heacox and Lauren Greeder; Rookie of the Year Award: Natalie Ingram; Golden Glove Award: Haley Balzart (infield), Lauren Jordan (infield) and Carlie Hart (outfield); Highest batting average: Rachel Hartwig and Carlie Hart; Most RBIs: Rachel Hartwig; Most Home Runs: Rachel Hartwig; Most Valuable Player: Hannah Heacox; Captains elect: Sidnee Ronsberg and Lauren Jordan.

 

Contact Stuart Groskreutz at stuart.groskreutz@ecm-inc.com

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