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Times' all-Hillsborough County softball team

Pitcher of the Year Kayla Cox, Sr., East Bay

Few pitchers in Hillsborough County history — softball or baseball — enjoyed as dominant a season as the one posted by this slender right-hander. Armed with no fewer than a half-dozen pitches, Cox posted staggering numbers (18-1, 0.61 ERA, 148 IP, 282 strikeouts) while leading the Indians to the Class 5A state title. In the state final, a 2-0 win over Niceville, Cox struck out 18, fanning No. 2 batter Shannon Brinkley with a high inside curve with the bases loaded to end the game. It was her 30th strikeout of the state tournament.

Most impressive accomplishment: Cox pondered this a few moments before responding. "The last one (the state final) was pretty good, but I really liked the Bartow one," she said, referring to the one-hitter she tossed in the region final. "But the best game I think I pitched was the Durant game." In that March 19 contest, Cox struck out 20 of the 24 batters she faced. It was one of 11 games in which she fanned at least 15.

Future plans: Cox has signed with North Carolina State.

Did you know? To put that 0.19 ERA in better perspective: In 148 innings, Cox allowed four earned runs. … Cox and her teammates, honored May 26 by the Hillsborough County School Board for their state title, arrived at the school district's downtown Tampa headquarters in a limousine provided by principal Sharon Morris. At that same ceremony, Cox won the Jack and Barbara Thompson Softball Player of the Year Award as the county's top player. … Cox didn't have an at-bat all season.

Player of the Year Kristen McGrath, Sr., P/3B, Gaither

With the possible exception of Cox, no county player may have been more vital to her team than this versatile 5-foot-10 slugger. A pitcher/third baseman, McGrath hit .561 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs, often shining on the biggest stages. In the Class 5A, District 9 tournament, she went 6-for-10 with three doubles — two against Chamberlain — to help the fourth-seeded Cowboys upset the Chiefs and Sickles on consecutive days to win the title. Before her team's forgettable 13-0 loss to the Gryphons in the region final, McGrath had posted a 6-3 pitching record with a 1.21 ERA. She tossed complete-game wins against Chamberlain and Sickles in the district tournament, then topped Bradenton Manatee with a two-hit shutout in the region quarterfinals.

Most impressive accomplishment: McGrath had a hit off Cox in Gaither's 1-0 victory in late March. It was Cox's lone defeat of the season. … In Gaither's final four contests, McGrath went 7-for-13 and pitched three complete-game wins. … Four of her seven home runs came against playoff teams.

Future plans: McGrath and twin Megan have signed with the University of Alabama-Birmingham, which had no Floridians on last season's roster.

Did you know? Kristen was delivered by C-section more than two hours after Megan arrived naturally. "We think Kristen kicked her out, actually," said their mom, Lori. … After each of their last three victories, the McGrath sisters stayed the night at the home of sophomore teammate Morgan Litchfield, staying up until around midnight watching college softball DVDs. … Kristen wears No. 27 in honor of her paternal grandmother, Lu, who died Aug. 27, 2007.

First team

P Kayla Goff, Jr., Brandon: 264 strikeouts and tossed three no-hitters

P Chelsea Oglevie, Sr., Sickles: Tossed an eight-inning perfect game in 5A playoffs

P Mackenzie Audas, Jr., Plant City: 15 of her 228 Ks were vs. Newsome in district semis

P Jaclyn Amato, Fr., Steinbrenner: Her 0.91 ERA and 206 Ks helped lead Warriors to playoffs

C Taylor Storey, Jr., Plant City: Two of seven homers came in district tourney

INF Stephanie Medina, Sr., Chamberlain: USF signee hit .541 with four HR, 29 RBIs

INF Danielle Rowe, Sr., Sickles: .432 hitter led Hillsborough with 43 RBIs

INF Bianka Bell, So., Chamberlain: LSU commitment hit .500 with 21 steals

INF Elizabeth Nugent, Sr., East Bay: State champs' top slugger had four HR, 26 RBIs

OF Ashli Goff, Sr., Sickles: Hit well over .600; went 6-for-7 in two playoff games

OF Erika Arcuri, Sr., Plant: FIU signee hit .500, committed one error all season

OF Courtney Goff, Sr., Sickles: Flirted with .500; struck out twice in 111 plate appearances

DH Megan McGrath, Sr., Gaither: Versatile Cowboy hit .506 with three HR, 36 RBIs

UT C.C. Rock, Jr., East Bay: Indians catcher pitched three complete-game wins in Spring Fling

Second team

P Tory Bohanan, So., Tampa Catholic

P Miranda Clark, Jr., Plant

P Jenny Weissman, So., Berkeley Prep

P Sarah Miller, So., Robinson

C Megan Paul, Jr., Freedom

INF Nina Caisse, So., East Bay

INF Morgan Litchfield, So., Gaither

INF Mya Anderson, Jr., Sickles

INF Kayleen Boatwright, Jr., Riverview

OF Maria Garcia, Jr., Strawberry Crest

OF Allysa Caisse, So., East Bay

OF Nicole Kennedy, Jr., East Bay

DH Sarah Bowling, Sr., Plant

UT Bailey Schinella, Jr., Newsome

Honorable mention

Academy of the Holy Names: Emily Gaitan; Chamberlain: Amber Fullwood, Lindsey Hagberg; Durant: Brittany Harwell; East Bay: Victoria Cooper; Freedom: Kimmy Maczuga; Jefferson: Reina Baluja, Nadina Sola; Newsome: Ally Ledenham, Jenn Owens; Leto: Desiree Rodriguez; Plant: Ashley Schnitzler, Kaitlyn Steckel; Plant City: Analise Coffee, MacKensie McAvoy, Kristen Wyckoff; Riverview: Taylor McCoy; Robinson: Alexis Jackson; Seffner Christian: Nicci Hopps; Strawberry Crest: Shamaria Engram; Tampa Catholic: Amber Hay, Kathryn Spack; Wharton: Jordan Brett, Katlin Hall, Kassidy Kujawa, Mo Santos

Coach of the Year | Glenn Rodriguez, East Bay

Months after projecting the 2010 season as the Indians' best shot at a state title, Rodriguez watched his forecast come to fruition. By prudently managing Cox, who battled periodic tendinitis, and developing East Bay's hitters, Rodriguez helped the Indians capture the first team state title in the school's 53-year history.

Times' all-Hillsborough County softball team 06/04/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 4, 2010 10:53pm]
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