Player of the year Samantha Dittman, Sr., Sunlake
If they made a high school softball video game, Dittman would be a good choice for the cover. After all, the numbers she posted were the kind you usually only find on a PlayStation or Xbox. She led Pasco County in average (.526), homers (eight) and RBIs (62, believed to be a Pasco County record). Can you say Triple Crown? Dittman's importance to the young Seahawks team went beyond her outstanding numbers at the plate. As one of the team's only seniors, she took on a leadership role and when injuries hit, she filled in all over the field. A natural catcher, Dittman rarely was able to strap on the shin guards this season, filling holes by playing shortstop, second base and first.
Most impressive accomplishment: Dittman says "hitting eight home runs." She must have forgotten she drove in 12 runs against Springstead, including a seventh-inning grand slam to help her team come from behind to win. We're going with hitting for the cycle against Gulf on Feb. 27.
Did you know? Dittman serves as a deckhand baiting hooks for customers on her father's 42-foot Dorado fishing boat (the Sportsman), and last summer she caught a 40-pound black grouper by herself. "My dad wouldn't help me,'' Dittman said, laughing. "He said, 'You're a big girl.' '' Dittman sold the grouper to a fish house for $160, and her dad let her keep half the money.
Future plans: Dittman has signed with South Florida Community College, where she is expecting to play catcher or shortstop.
Pitcher of the year Michelle Bradley, Sr., Land O'Lakes
Upon first glance, most coaches will tell you Bradley looks hittable. But as each inning passes, the realization sets in: she's not, really. This season, Bradley was 10-3 with a 0.54 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 90 innings, allowing just 35 hits. The Sunshine Athletic Conference Player of the Year, as selected by league coaches, beat perennial county powerhouse River Ridge three times, Naples Barron Collier and shut out SAC champ Mitchell 2-0 while driving in the winning run. Bradley was also stout at the plate once again, leading the Gators in average (.472), hits (34) and tying in home runs (three).
Most impressive accomplishment: As good as Bradley was last year, setting a county record with 10 homers, she could also make a case for being most improved: her ERA dropped from 3.08 to 0.54; she gave up two earned runs or more 11 times last year but just once this year; she struck out 105 batters last year, and 140 this year; and her batting average jumped from .391 to .472.
Did you know? The short, stocky Bradley isn't built like your typical pitcher, nor is she overpowering. Her secret? Spins, spins and spins. "I work on spins like crazy,'' she said. "All my pitches are different.''
Future plans: Bradley has signed with Southern Illinois, which was 33-13 this year and loses starters at third base (where she played when she wasn't pitching) and on the pitching staff.
C Jen Marshall, Sr., Nature Coast: Led Sharks in hits (44), average (.484), RBIs (20).
INF Lucy Schneider, Sr., Pasco: Best hitter around; .495 BA, 35 RBIs with 10 doubles, three homers, 32 steals.
INF Sarah Simon, Jr., River Ridge: Steady force whole career; batted .451 with nine doubles, 21 RBIs.
INF Lauren Pasquale, So., Zephyrhills: Hit .463 with county-best 16 doubles, also 6-1 pitching with 1.45 ERA.
INF Jessica Santoli, Sr., Gulf: Batted .485 with hits in 19 of 21 games, including last 15 straight.
OF Alex Rogers, So., Sunlake: Best leadoff hitter in Pasco County? Batted .467 with six triples and 48 runs.
OF Brittney Mayhill, Jr., Gulf: Had a hit in every game this year; batted .522 with 39 steals.
OF Madison Morris, Jr., River Ridge: Topped Royal Knights with 38 hits; hit .432 with seven doubles.
UT Olivia Kline, Sr., Mitchell: Led North Suncoast with 0.31 ERA; batted .394 with 11 doubles.
DH Erica Maldonado, Sr., Hernando: Leopards' best player hit .494 with 10 doubles, three homers and 30 RBIs.
P Colena Lazar, Sr., Pasco: Led county in wins with 17 and strikeouts with 238; 17 extra-base hits 40 RBIs.
P Lakyn Shull, So., River Ridge: 11 wins, two saves and 129 strikeouts while leading team in RBIs.
C Megan Newsome, Jr., Pasco; INF Jessica Austin, Sr., Land O'Lakes; INF McKenzie Burns, Central; INF Lizzy Olmstead, Sr., Nature Coast; INF Sam Adamo, Sr., Land O'Lakes; OF Courtney Durbin, Fr., Sunlake; OF Madison Manuel, Jr., Hernando Christian; OF Loren Smith, Sr., Land O'Lakes; UT Heather Muccino, So., Mitchell; UT Colesa Lazar, Sr., Pasco; DH Heather Riley, Hernando Christian; P Kasey Murray, Jr., Land O'Lakes; P Cortney Radke, Jr., Mitchell
Central: Keeria McKenzie; Gulf: Jamie McCullough; Hernando: Demi Maldonado; Hernando Christian: Jackie Butler, Remi Manuel, Courtney Riddle; Land O'Lakes: Cristina Rosario; Mitchell: Ciara Seymour, Courtney Dougherty; Nature Coast: Ashley Antczak, Kelsey McManus; Pasco: Courtney Radke; River Ridge: Jessica Tamburri, Ana Alberti; Springstead: Jamie Lee Basinger, Amanda Drawe; Sunlake: Sarah Jones, Meghan Durbin; Wesley Chapel: Gabrielle Brown; Wiregrass Ranch: Mary Sorgenfrei, Regan Knapik, Casey Raza; Zephyrhills: Samantha Crews, Lacey Cook
Coach of the year | Ernie Chatman, Hernando Christian
In first year at HCA, took Lions to the Class A state semifinals. He also took Hernando to state two times in 2000 and '01.
John C. Cotey, Times staff writer