BELMONT — The Belmont Braves softball team was crowned the state champions in Division 5 this season and the Braves continue to reap the honors for the worked they put in on the diamond.
Belmont head coach Jeff Hodgson was selected as the 2019 Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association Coach of the Year after leading Belmont to a 26–1 overall record and a second state title in program history.
Senior pitcher Sadie Willborn was named the Division 5 Player of the Year and a small schools first-team All-State selection by the WFSCA, while senior shortstop Nikki Knebel was named to the WFSCA small schools honorable mention All-State team and joined Willborn as first-team selections to the District 3 Small School All-District squad.
Willborn, who was both the Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year in the Six Rivers West this season, posted a 26-1 overall record in the pitcher’s circle with a 0.73 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP. In 172 innings pitched, she struck out 254 batters and issued 62 walks while allowing 79 hits. She also had a 1.000 fielding percentage on defense.
At the plate, she had a .427 batting average and a .580 slugging percentage and a 1.096 OPS with a team-high 13 doubles along with 18 RBI and two runs scored.
Knebel, a four-time All-SRW selection, led the Braves in hits (39), at-bats (89), home runs (6) RBI (31) and runs (34) while batting .438 with a hefty .756 slugging percentage and a 1.261 OPS. She had seven doubles and a triple among her 14 extra-base hits and stole 10 bases. In the field, she record 59 putouts and three assists along with a .905 fielding percentage.
Mineral Point senior Morgan James and junior Lauren James were selected to the WBCA Small Schools All-State second-team, and Platteville senior Kaycie Wagner and Highland junior Grace Pustina earned honorable mention All-State recognition.