FAIRMONT - Every time either Martin County West hitting phenom Jordan Gregory or Fairmont slugger Micaela Gochanour steps into the batter's box, opposing high school softball pitchers and coaches take heed.
"Jordan has quick hands and such great bat speed that she can hit just about any pitch with authority," said Maverick mentor Darrell Ziegler. "Physically, she doesn't look very big, but she can hit with power."
Martin County West's sophomore third baseman backed up her coach's words by hammering a second-best team total of three home runs, 10 doubles and a co-team-high four triples to produce a team-leading 36 RBIs during the spring season.
ALL-AREA CAPTAINS — Fairmont junior third baseman Micaela Gochanour (left) and Martin County West sophomore third baseman Jordan Gregory have been selected as the 2014 Sentinel All-Area softball players of the year. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
The all-state honorable mention selection topped the hard-charging Mavericks with 37 hits in 73 at-bats for an incredible .507 batting clip to complement the blue-and-black attack's No. 2 runs scored total of 29.
The two-time all-Section 2A and two-time all-Valley Conference choice also proved flawless in the field by not committing an error throughout the entire 2014 campaign.
Ironically, the two-time Sentinel All-Area selection earned Martin County West's defensive player of the year award on the heels of learning how to play a new position.
"To not make an error at one of the most active positions on the field is incredible, and she did it while making the transition from playing second base to third this season," said Ziegler.
Gregory also compiled a 2-0 record and a 2.55 ERA in 11 innings pitched, notching seven strikeouts and issuing four walks from inside the chalked circle.
Oddly enough, 9 miles away from Gregory's home softball diamond in Welcome, Gochanour generated a team-leading .507 batting average for the record-setting Fairmont program this spring.
"If you looked up the word 'pull hitter' in the dictionary, there'd be a picture of Gochie next to it. She scares the daylights out of me sometimes when she pulls a pitch toward me in the third base coach's box," Cardinal head coach Terry Ehlert said with a chuckle.
Fairmont's hard-hitting junior third baseman pounded out a team-best 35 hits, including the No. 2 single-season home run total - five - in school history.
The two-time Sentinel All-Area choice also topped the red-and-white offensive effort by generating 23 RBIs to complement crossing the plate a team-best 27 times this spring.
The two-year varsity starter, who also connected for five doubles and one triple, also drilled deliveries at a staggering team-high .826 slugging clip to go with Fairmont's No. 1 on-base percentage of .585.
"She not only hits the ball tremendously hard, but she's developed into a great defensive player, too," said Ehlert. "At times, she makes the extraordinary play look ordinary, and not too many players can do that."
For their outstanding performances on the prep softball diamonds this spring, Gochanour and Gregory have been named as the 2014 Sentinel All-Area softball co-players of the year.
Here's an inside glance at the rest of the 2014 Sentinel All-Area softball selections.
Autumn Boland (North Union) - The hard-working backstop.
The two-time all-Corn Belt Conference selection made a smooth transition from the outfield and/or shortstop last year to full-time defensive duty behind the plate this summer.
The two-time All-Area choice matched Warrior teammate Sarah Rolling for the team lead by clouting six home runs en route to generating 28 RBIs during the 2014 campaign.
The junior catcher produced a .344 batting average on the strength of 33 hits, including seven doubles and two triples to complement her home run total.
Boland, who scored 30 runs on the season, topped North Union by drawing 15 walks to help fuel her .438 on-base percentage to go with a .646 slugging clip.
Kristen Campe (Fairmont) - The slick-fielding shortstop.
The five-year varsity starter connected for 28 hits, including three doubles, two home runs and one triple, to generate a lofty .354 batting clip this spring.
The four-time All-Area choice drove in 16 runs and scored 13 times, while reaching base at a .393 clip to go with a .494 slugging percentage to close out her senior campaign.
The perennial all-South Central Conference middle infielder played a key role in guiding the Cardinals program to its first-ever winning season at 12-11 in 2014.
Shawna Dressen (Martin County West) - The strong-armed signal-caller.
The two-time all-Valley Conference choice swatted a co-team-best 13 doubles to go with one home run to produce 27 RBIs during her final prep season.
The Mavericks' two-year starting catcher smacked the softball at a lethal .463 clip on the strength of 31 hits, scored 25 runs and drew five walks.
The two-time All-Area selection played a key role in guiding Martin County West to back-to-back winning seasons and solid playoff runs.
Courtney Guetter (Fairmont) - The comeback kid.
The senior outfielder battled through major knee injuries throughout her prep career to earn yet another selection to the All-Area diamond lineup this spring.
The three-time all-South Central Conference choice pounded out 27 hits to chalk up a lofty .351 batting average and scored 20 runs during 2014.
The Cardinals' scrappy leadoff batter collected 13 RBIs, reached base at a .383 clip and slugged deliveries at a .364 pace to help steer the team to a school-record 12-11 mark.
Dena Looft (North Union) - Quick reflexes at the hot corner.
The perennial All-Area third baseman donned three different uniforms during her brilliant five-year varsity career that culminated with a second-best team batting average of .462 this summer.
The four-time all-Corn Belt Conference first-teamer topped the Warriors' attack with 49 hits, including a co-high 10 doubles, to complement three home runs during her senior season.
The Iowa Class 2A, all-Northwest District choice delivered a second-best team total of 40 RBIs, scored 23 runs, reached base at a No. 2 team clip of .491 and slugged the softball at a .642 rate.
Allison Moeller (Fairmont) - The pure hitter.
The sure-handed senior first baseman posted the Cardinals' No. 2 batting average of .431 to close out her stellar varsity diamond career.
The all-South Central Conference selection generated a second-best team mark of 31 hits, including seven doubles and two triples to produce 10 RBIs on the spring.
The hard-working Moeller crossed the plate 11 times, compiled a .468 on-base percentage and slugged deliveries at a .583 mark.
Fairmont's steady first baseman played an integral role behind the Cardinals' school record-setting mark of 12-11 in 2014.
Peyton Oleson (North Union) - The ace.
The Iowa Class 2A, all-Northwest District selection notched 162 strikeouts in 187 innings pitched during her junior campaign.
The hard-throwing right-hander compiled a 23-5 record and 1.76 ERA, and limited opposing hitters to a .212 batting average.
The all-Corn Belt Conference choice connected from the batter's box for a .300 average behind 27 hits, including five doubles, this summer.
Oleson generated 18 RBIs, reached base at a .370 clip and slugged the softball at a .356 pace to close out a stellar season.
Sarah Rolling (North Union) - Power and speed.
The Iowa Class 2A, all-Northwest District choice topped the Warriors' offensive charts in seven different categories this summer.
The all-Corn Belt Conference selection drilled a second-best team total of 46 hits to generate North Union's best batting average of .465 in 2014.
The sophomore shortstop shared the green-and-white's top mark of 10 doubles with Dena Looft and No. 1 home run total (6) with Autumn Boland en route to the area's best RBI mark of 43.
The smooth-swinging Rolling, who also delivered a team-best three triples, pounded out an incredible slugging percentage of .808 to complement a No. 1 team on-base clip of .495 to round out an excellent diamond campaign.
Rebecca Steen (Martin County West) - Pure athleticism.
The all-state honorable mention selection displayed both a strong pitching arm and powerful bat during her third year as a varsity starter on the diamond.
The three-time all-Valley Conference choice tied Shawna Dressen for the Mavericks' team lead with 13 doubles each, while sharing the blue-and-black attack's top triples mark (4) with Jordan Gregory this spring.
The line-drive hitting Steen produced the team's No. 2 batting average of .500 on the strength of 34 hits, including one home run, en route to a second-best team total of 33 RBIs.
Steen also scored the Mavericks' No. 2 mark of 29 runs to complement 12 stolen bases and 10 walks drawn.
The senior ace right-hander generated a 10-4 record, a 2.94 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 78 2/3 innings pitched to put the wraps on an outstanding prep sports career.
Kate Thiesse (Martin County West) - The perfect table-setter.
The all-state honorable mention choice topped the potent Mavericks' offense with 33 runs scored and 16 stolen bases from the leadoff spot this spring.
The three-year all-Valley Conference selection generated 21 RBIs to go with an impressive .447 batting average on the strength of 34 hits, including six doubles, one triple and one home run.
The two-time All-Area shortstop earned a spot in the Minnesota High School Softball Coaches Association's All-Star Series to close out an incredible prep athletic career.
Sierra Williamson (Martin County West) - The rookie of the year.
The all-Valley Conference choice established the Maverick program's single-season record for home runs by belting five during her varsity debut season.
The hard-hitting freshman first baseman pounded deliveries at a .446 rate behind 29 hits, including eight doubles and a triple to complement her homer total.
Williamson, who scored 23 runs on the season, also compiled a 3-1 record, a 3.07 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched this spring.