Lady Elks’ Schneidmiller named 5-5A MVP
Audrey Schneidmiller made an impact for Burleson’s softball team at and behind the plate this season.
The sophomore’s play drew the eye of the coaches of District 5-5A who honored her at the district’s MVP on the all-district squad.
“I was thrilled that she was the MVP,” Burleson coach Summer Owen said. “She did such an amazing job this year. She was a great leader on and off the field. I think she deserved it.”
Owen said the coaches in 5-5A saw a standout player when Schneidmiller hit the field.
She did not have a sophomore slump this season hitting a team-high .612 in district play. Schneidmiller collected team high’s in hits (30) and RBI (30). She finished 5-5A play with five doubles, three triples, and two home runs. She also had a hit in all 13 district games she played in.
“When she plays you definitely take notice,” Owen said. “She is so amazing behind the plate.”
Schneidmiller’s defensive prowess behind the plate kept opposing running games in check, Owen said.
“I know if I was playing against her I wouldn’t want to have any of my runners try to steal a base on her. “She makes opponents running games timid and she produces at the plate.”
The Lady Elks reached the regional quarterfinals this season before getting swept by Saginaw Boswell and ended the year with a record of 21-9. Burleson finished tied for second with Granbury in district play with a mark of 11-3.
“They did a good job,” Owen said. “Might have started a little slow but then they found their rhythm.”
Owen said the Lady Elks playoff series against Boswell might have been a defining moment for the team. After getting shutout for the first time all season in the series opener, the Lady Elks learned from their mistakes and fell to Boswell, 2-1, in nine innings.
“The girls did such a great job of learning from that loss,” Owen said. “They listened to what the coaches had to say about the things we needed to fix. They had one practice and turned around the next day and put on a show. Yes, we lost but it was one of the best games I’ve ever seen them play. It was such a great building block for the future.”
The Lady Elks produced four first-team players in senior shortstop Natali Wheeler, junior second baseman Bridgette Montes, sophomore pitcher Brailey Wasik and sophomore third baseman Bailey Whitley.
Wheeler, a four-year starter for the Lady Elks, will be terribly missed, Owen said.
“It’s weird to think of making up a lineup without her in it because she has been such a key player for four years,” Owen said. “She hit leadoff for the varsity in the first game of the season her freshman year. She has done big things for four years in our program.”
Her final season was a good one for Wheeler as she hit .559 with 27 runs scored, 19 hits and 21 RBI. The senior finished with three doubles, five triples, and four home runs.
“She was huge for us this season playing both third base and shortstop,” Owen said. “She did anything we asked of her.”
Montes played near perfect defense at second base and added a .400 batting average to the mix,
“Bridgette had herself a year,” Owen said. “I love it when the ball goes to the right side of my infield. She’s a great player and she has grown each year.”
The junior tallied 18 hits, scored 17 runs, drove in 12 runs while hitting six doubles and a triple in district play.
“I’m excited to see what she does in her senior season,” Owen said. “She stepped up a lot this year. She’s a great person to have on a team and at second base.”
A year ago, Wasik burst on the scene as a freshman and earned 9-5A Newcomer of the Year honors.
This season, Wasik finished with a .548 batting average. The sophomore had 23 RBI on 17 hits. She belted three doubles and two home runs.
Wasik went 7-3 in district play in the circle with a 2.33 ERA. She allowed 61 hits in 60 innings while striking out 63 and walked 26.
“Brailey is awesome, everyone knows that,” Owen said. “I just love that kid. She is so coachable and so positive.”
Owen said Wasik is a player that girls want to follow and not only has the ability to carry her team at times and relishes that opportunity.
“She is always uplifting and never negative,” Owen said. “She will put the whole game on her shoulders. She will do everything she needs to do to put the team on her back and that makes her such a great leader.”
When junior third baseman Lauren Minor suffered an injury, Owen wasn’t sure what she was going to do to fill the gap. She turned to Whitley and the rest is history.
Whitley hit .476 with 25 RBI, 15 runs scored, seven doubles and four home runs.
“Whitley is one of those girls who just has it,” Owen said. “She took over at third base and just blew us away. She just plays the game and does such a great job doing it. She is so funny. She is fun to be around, the girls love her. But even with all of her silliness, she is an athlete through and through.”
Whitley ended the season with one error at third base which is a feat in itself.
“I expect a lot of big things from her,” Owen said. “She is going to be a standout for us in the next couple of years.”
Burleson had three second-team players in senior centerfielder Kyleigh Rich (.478, 16 RBI, 4 2B, 2 HR, 4-0, 0.00 ERA in 16 innings, 23 Ks), senior Julie Farley, a defensive standout at first base, and junior left fielder Isabella Incencio (.387. 12 RBI, 13 runs, 2 2B, 1 3B and 2 HR).
Burleson had two honorable mention players in junior third baseman Lauren Minor and sophomore outfielder Logan Loggins.