Three Lady Spartans earn superlative accolades
Going into the season, Centennial’s softball team had its work cut out for it.
The Lady Spartans entered the season with just three seniors and a not a lot of varsity experience up-and-down the lineup.
But the team didn’t disappoint as it finished tied for first-place with Granbury for the District 9-5A title.
The coaches of 9-5A recognized the level of talent on Centennial’s roster as three players earned superlative honors.
Senior centerfielder Gracie Morton nabbed Most Valuable Player accolades. The Defensive Player of Year honor went to senior catcher Macentire Harshbarger and sophomore pitcher Serena Bersuch landed the Newcomer of the Year award.
Morton, the 9-5A Offensive MVP last season, led the Lady Spartans in hitting with a .533 batting average. She slugged .978 and had an on-base percentage of .649. The senior scored 19 runs, drove in 22, finished with five doubles, three triples, three home runs and stole six bases in district play.
“Gracie was huge for us this year both offensively and defensively,” Centennial coach Shannon Sullivan said. “She was well recognized by the coaches in the district. It was comforting knowing she was out there in centerfield. You heard it from Serena this year that when a ball got hit she knew it was going to get taken care of. That’s huge to have that out there in the centerfielder.”
Harshbarger, who was starting at catcher for the Lady Spartans for the second consecutive season, had a great season behind the plate. She had no errors and threw out numerous runners.
“She was solid behind the plate in district,” Sullivan said. “She made sure our young pitchers were hitting their spots. She made some big strides at getting to balls that she hadn’t in the past. She really deserved that award.”
Harshbarger showed a solid bat for Centennial with 15 RBI, two doubles, and a home run.
Bersuch had an outstanding first season in the circle as a varsity hurler. The sophomore posted a record of 6-1 with an ERA of 2.12. In 43 innings of work, she allowed 51 hits and 22 runs (13 earned). The sophomore fanned 26 and walked 10.
“Our pitching this year was phenomenal considering they didn’t have a whole lot of experience,” Sullivan said. “Serena had zero varsity experience and she did a great job for us and coaches recognized that. She really came through for us.”
Centennial kept its tradition of never missing the playoffs alive by going 11-1 in district play. The Lady Spartans defeated Waxahachie in a first-round playoff series and downed Dallas
Molina in the second-round of the playoffs. Centennial was swept out of the playoffs by Mansfield Lake Ridge in the Region II quarterfinals.
The Lady Spartans ended the season with a record of 17-11.
“There’s only one team that is going to end the season with a win and it is always going to hurt unless you are that one team,” Sullivan said. “This team was very different than any other one because we didn’t have a ton of experience coming back and the little few experienced players that we did have made sure we performed well and played well and had a good time. They played as a team and there was never an individual who we looked to carry us.”
The Lady Spartans had three first-team players in senior shortstop Reagan Ellison, junior left fielder Kylee Gowin and sophomore second baseman Mackenzie Law.
Ellison had a big season offensively for Centennial hitting .456 while slugging .674 and a reaching base on a percentage of .581. The senior finished with 14 RBI, 17 runs scored, four doubles, a triple, a home run and six stole bases.
“Reagan, like the other two seniors, did a fantastic job of leading the team,” Sullivan said. “She brought a great work ethic to the team. Her being a first-team selection just commends her ethics and the way she put the team first. She made sure everyone was included in everything this team did.”
Gowin proved to be a fine leadoff hitter for the Lady Spartans. The junior hit .400 and had a .500 slugging percentage. She scored 13 runs, finished with eight RBI and hit three doubles.
“She was a solid leadoff hitter,” Sullivan said. “It was nice to see her come through offensively. When she got on base it just set our offense in motion. We had the next five in the lineup hitting her around. She was also so solid in left field. If Gracie wasn’t going to get a ball, she was going to get it.”
Even as a sophomore Law was a solid offensive contributor for Centennial. Sullivan has always said whoever hits will find their way into the lineup and Law was solid proof of that. Law hit .405 with a .690 slugging percent and a .476 on-base percentage. The sophomore scored 14 runs, drove in 12 runs, had three doubles, three triples and stole two bases.
“She did a solid job for us at second base,” Sullivan said. “She worked her way up in the lineup which was pretty amazing for a sophomore. She took over hitting in the four-hole for us and came through at the plate a lot. She was great in district play.”
Centennial produced four second-team players in junior third baseman Karter Hill, junior outfielder Carley Eller, sophomore designated hitter San Barker and sophomore outfielder Laney Vaughn.
Sophomores Presley Green (pitcher) and Casey Hendrixson (first base) were honorable mention players.