AW Softball Ends Season Ranked Third In State

Senior shortstop Abby Kennelly just misses the tag at second. MIRROR PHOTO BY KEVIN FINNIGAN

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — For the Anthony Wayne High School softball team, this was a season marked by hard work, determination, team spirit and sisterly love.

While the May 31 semifinal against Watkins Memorial ended with a 2-0 loss for the Generals, the entire season was one awesome ride, said coach Ron Myers.

“Our record was 29-2 overall, 14-0 in the Northern Lakes League,” he said. “We were NLL champs, district champs four years running and regional champs three of the last four years.

“We ranked as high as No. 8 in the country and finished No. 3 in the state. It’s difficult when something this good comes to an end.”

For seniors Essence Dobbelaere-Buchman, Abby Kennelly, Ally and Kat Meyers, Trinity Nowicki and Abigail Zeigler, this was the third trip to the state tournament.

“These seniors are winners, natural-born leaders, and will be successful in life,” Myers said. 

Four seniors are heading on to play DI softball: pitcher Kat Meyers for the University of Michigan, pitcher Ally Meyers and shortstop Abby Kennelly for Ohio University and catcher Trinity Nowicki for Kennesaw State University. 

Kennelly ended the season with a career that shattered AW records: 248 hits placed her at an all-time No. 4 state record and 184 runs led to a No. 11 all-time state record, as well as an Anthony Wayne all-time record of 96 stolen bases. Nowicki is AW’s all-time home run leader with 35 home runs.

“Even though we didn’t get the results we wanted (at states), I couldn’t be more proud of this team and my senior class,” Kennelly said. “These girls and coaches have become my family over the years. I will love this program forever.”

Dobbelaere-Buchman, who is heading to the University of Cincinnati to study pre-med, said she is grateful for the people, the memories and the successes that the softball program has given her.

“I’ve loved the competitiveness, playing such high level softball and having four once-in-a-lifetime seasons,” she said. “It’s been a blessing. I’ve loved the rivalry, the atmosphere and the energy.”

Kat Meyers said this entire season has shown her a level of camaraderie with her teammates that she will always cherish.

“We never give up. We lift each other up after a strikeout. We’re there for each other outside of softball and in softball,” she said, naming postgame meals at Shawn’s Irish Tavern, cooking out and other team-bonding events that she’ll remember as she heads to the University of Michigan, where she will play softball and study exercise science.

“I think we wouldn’t be here without the community help,” Meyers added, crediting the 40 or more Junior Generals who regularly attended varsity games – which boosted the team’s confidence. “They’ve been a huge motivation for our team wanting to go farther for the community, not just for the team. 

“I feel like the upperclassmen are good at being leaders for the younger players and Junior Generals by how we carry each other on and off the field.”

The graduating seniors are confident in the underclassmen that will comprise next year’s AW softball team. That includes pitcher Molly Conner, who will sign with the University of Notre Dame this fall; catcher Megan Sumner, who has interest from Ohio State, Indiana University and The University of Toledo; and pitcher Piper Phillips, who has interest from BIG 10 schools.

Conner, who was named first-team NLL for outfield this season, said she found a great ally in pitcher Kat Meyers.

“We are definitely two different pitchers, but that’s what makes us so effective together,” she said. “Sometimes you see two good pitchers butt heads with each other, but we’re not like that. We love to support each other. We know it takes a whole staff to make it far and win, not just one person.”

This has been her favorite season so far, Conner said, explaining that the team spirit made a difference.

“Early in the season you could see that we would be good this year – and good friends. We all act like sisters with each other – making fun of each other and holding each other accountable,” Conner said. 

“I think it’s great in all aspects of life if you learn to work with a lot of different people and different situations. To remember that you may not be having your best day, but your teammate probably is. You need to cheer for them and uplift them.”

As she looks forward to signing with Notre Dame, Conner said she’ll focus on the Irish motto: Play Like a Champion Today.

“I like that quote. It’s simple. Ever since I committed there, I think about that. Do what you can today,” she said.

As the team wrapped up a successful season, Myers has a long list of people to thank: the Anthony Wayne community, Shawn’s Irish Tavern and Whitehouse Inn, parents and assistant coaches Caylin Morstadt, Chad Meyers, Sydney Pennell, Carolyn Vogts-berger and Mondo Calderon, athletic trainer Noelle Matson, and his wife Sarah Taylor Myers, who took vacation time to run stats and support his hobby.

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