Player of the year: Samantha McCloskey, Sr., Palm Harbor University
Why we picked her: On a team loaded with explosive hitters, McCloskey emerged as the most fearful hitter in the county because of sheer power. She first showed it off in practice, hitting balls so far over the fence teammates did not want to retrieve them anymore. It didn’t stop there. McCloskey kept blasting shots in games. She finished with a bay-area-best 14 home runs. That was impressive enough. But her homers also resulted in a lot of runs scored. She set a bay-area record with 66 RBIs and had 44 runs scored. Those numbers were a big reason Palm Harbor University was undefeated against county competition and advanced to the Class 8A region final, where the Hurricanes lost to eventual state champion Durant in extra innings.
Most impressive accomplishment: McCloskey did not just feast on weak teams. Of her 14 home runs, 10 came against teams that made the playoffs this season. And she was not just a home run hitter. She had a .611 average and had 20 doubles this season.
Did you know? By the time the playoffs rolled around, opposing teams knew all about the gaudy numbers McCloskey had racked up and pitched around her. In the region quarterfinals and semifinals, McCloskey was intentionally walked in seven of her eight plate appearances. The only time she was not walked she hit a home run.
Future plans: McCloskey has signed with Central Florida and will continue playing travel ball this summer before college.
Pitcher of the year: Taylor Sabol, Sr., Palm Harbor University
Why we picked her: Sabol was not the fastest pitcher in the county but made up for that by using her movement to mesmerize batters. She also had supreme confidence in a veteran defense and an offense that was able to score runs in bunches. That made her nearly unbeatable on the mound. Sabol finished with a 16-3 record and a minuscule 0.86 ERA, and she struck out 140 batters in 129 innings pitched. She was counted on in nearly every game big game and was undefeated against county competition.
Most impressive accomplishment: After losing twice to East Lake in 2011, Sabol faced the Eagles for the first time in March. She kept their hitters off balance and had a perfect game going into the seventh inning. A potential out was nullified when a foul ball was dropped. The batter then hit a home run. It was the only hit Sabol allowed and helped the Hurricanes exact revenge against a county nemesis.
Did you know? Sabol’s only superstition on the mound is that she never braids her hair. She kept losing every time she did it.
Future plans: Sabol has signed with Barry University and will play travel ball this summer.
P Bre Setree-Malone, Jr., St. Petersburg: Went 11-7 with 1.37 ERA and 103 strikeouts.
P Jennie Sittloh, Jr., Seminole: Led Warhawks to Class 7A region quarterfinals.
P Mariah Watts, So., Lakewood: Had 0.94 ERA and struck out 220 batters.
P Emily Winesett, Sr., Canterbury: Went 9-6 with 1.43 ERA against tough competition.
IF Jess Adams, Sr., Palm Harbor University: Hit .444 with 35 RBIs and 22 runs.
IF Logyn Lilley, Fr., Palm Harbor University: Hit .581 with 36 RBIs and 23 runs.
IF Kara Oberer, Sr., Osceola: Power hitter had seven home runs.
IF Rachel Taylor, Sr., Palm Harbor University: Hit .555 with 27 RBIs and 25 runs.
C Hailee Keisling, Jr., Countryside: Hit .548 with 30 RBIs.
OF Megan Copeland, Sr., Palm Harbor University: Hit .462 with 35 runs and had .708 on-base percentage.
OF Kelsie Sanchez, Jr., Countryside: Hit .407 with 29 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
OF Kristin Hubbard, Sr., Countryside: Defensive specialist had 39 putouts.
DH Sarah Schutz, Sr., East Lake: Veteran led young team with her strong hitting.
UTIL Samantha Silver, Sr., Dunedin: Played variety of positions for 6A region finalist.
P Mallory Allen, Sr., Boca Ciega
P Jessica Anderson, Jr., Northside Christian
P Kelsey Humphrey, Jr., St. Petersburg Catholic
P Kaitlyn Romaine, Sr. Osceola
IF Jen Crosthwaite, Sr., Canterbury
IF Keeley Mayers, Fr., Countryside
IF Makayla Powers, Sr., East Lake
IF Rachel Weaver, Sr., Osceola
C Claire Hamilton, Jr., East Lake
OF Torey Scott, Jr., Palm Harbor University
OF Marisa Palumbo, Sr., East Lake
OF Olivia Silver, Fr., Dunedin
DH Nicolette Wunderly, Jr., Countryside
UTIL Lindsey White, Fr., Tarpon Springs
Boca Ciega: Amanda Douglas, Asmara Goodwin, Kaylyn Munroe, Brittany Price, Kristin Stuber; Canterbury: Lacy Adams, Julia Cieutat, Lindsay Graves, Madison Posey, Danielle Romanello; Clearwater: Amanda Green, Allysa Johnson, Caitlin Beaver, Kelsey Timpone; Countryside: Alyssa Householder, Erin Jankiewicz, Samantha Sharpe, Sommer Pollard, Alyssa Queen; Dixie Hollins: Kierstie Becker, Allison Keen, Haley Martz, Amanda Ross, Brittnie VanDonge; Dunedin: Abby Ehlers, Chelsea Flanagan, Tiona Hill, Abbie Sexton, Alexis Talley; East Lake: Brittnay Estes, Gabby Orito, Katie Shoulta, Emma Hvozdovich, Peyton Collins, Audry Gangloff, Hannah Roberts; Lakewood: Meghann Carson, Haley Michalski, Andrea Vargas; Northeast: Ashley Johnston, Riley Randolph, Kayla Stellwag, Samantha Wilkerson; Northside Christian: Katheryn Brown, Lauren Tozour; Osceola: Jasmine Acevedo, Haley Brown, Rebecca Bunday, Megan Lewis, Kayla McQueen, MacKenna Willis; Palm Harbor University: Alayna Gallagher, Rachel Ionata, Chrissy Taboluv; Pinellas Park: Summer Giberson, Taylor Klinesmith, Haley Ledford, Samantha McHenry, Alexis Pereiro, Keeley Thayer; Seminole: Lauren Brucker, Mackenzie Jahn, Kristy Fudge, Nicolette Myers, Brooke Ours; St. Petersburg: Emily Bennett, Carly Danner, Amelina Gadiwalla, Ashley McNally, Haleigh Reddick, Katie Rieth; St. Petersburg Catholic: Anna Mixa, Madison Saganowich, Kelsey Troyer; Shorecrest: Jaque Galinski, Raquel Galinski, Molly Webber; Tarpon Springs: Kelsey Linn, Andrea Faison, Jessica Ferrone, Courtney Pero
Coach of the year: Chuck Poetter, Palm Harbor University
Poetter, who is retiring after 15 seasons, led an experienced team that set several school records offensively to conference and district titles and a berth in the Class 8A region semifinals. So dominant were the Hurricanes they scored 10 or more runs in all but four games against county opponents.