The Golden Eagles had some unfinished business going into the 2014 softball season — and they took care of that business.
Big Walnut honored its Division I Central District softball champions at its annual postseason banquet held May 27 in the BWHS Media Center celebrating the 11th seeded Golden Eagles first District championship since winning the 1988 District crown with a 3-1 victory over St. Francis DeSales at Pickerington Central High School.
Golden Eagle head coach Jeff Hatfield, on the strength of a veteran roster that featured seven seniors, guided Big Walnut to a 19-9 overall record and a second-place finish with an 8-6 record in the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division. Big Walnut joined New Albany (15-11 overall), Olentangy Orange (11-12) and Worthington Kilbourne (15-9) in a four-way tie for second behind Capital champion Delaware Hayes (22-1) which won the division with an unblemished 14-0 record. Olentangy finished sixth (15-11, 5-9 OCC), Mount Vernon seventh (9-14, 3-11 OCC) and Franklin Heights eighth (8-15, 2-12 OCC).
Four seniors, second baseman Leah Shaw, shortstop Shelbie Borchers, third baseman Hayley Apple and left fielder Shaye Kuhlman, joined sophomore pitcher Kate Petty in receiving postseason team awards for their performances. Shaw was honored with the coveted Golden Eagle Award which is awarded annually to a senior with 3.00 Grade Point Average and is based on 40 percent character, 30 percent scholarship and 30 percent athletic ability. Borchers was the recipient of the Offensive Player of the Year Award, Apple the Offensive Power Award, and Kuhlman the Coaches Award. Petty was recognized with the Defensive Player of the Year Award for her prowess in the circle.
Six Golden Eagles were voted to the All-OCC Capital Division squad, including Borchers (First Team), Kuhlman and Kate Petty (Second Team), seniors Katelynn Cheadle and Brooke Hatfield (Special Mention) and Apple (Honorable Mention). Senior Sara Petty was recognized as an OCC Scholar Athlete (Senior, 3.50 Grade Point Average). Borchers and Kate Petty were also named to the Division I All-Central District Team, Borchers earning First Team and Petty Honorable Mention recognition.
Coach Hatfield honored 11 members of the Big Walnut squad with varsity letters. Seven seniors lettered, led by Apple who received her fourth letter as well as her Varsity Blanket. Borchers, Cheadle, Hatfield, Kuhlman, Shaw and Sara Petty each earned their third varsity letter. Kate Petty was the recipient of her second varsity letter while sophomores Kaley Daniel and Britni Hayes joined freshman Jessica Coletta in receiving their first varsity letter.
Apple, Borchers, Cheadle, Hatfield, Kuhlman, Shaw and Sara Petty were also the recipients of their Senior Plaque.
Junior Varsity letters were presented to juniors Bethany Rannebarger and Courtney Scott; sophomores Katelynn Barron, Alexandra Brown, Rachael Brown, Skylar Bullock, Lindy Carr, Samantha Hard and Mary Hoffman; and to freshmen Kasey Becker, Mariah Chattos, Caitlynn Curtin, Marisa Hageman, Taryn Hammond, Isabella Holderby, Katelyn Neff and Samantha VanHouten.
Six members of the Golden Eagle softball team, including Apple, Daniel, Hayes, Kate Petty, Sara Petty and Shaw, were honored as Big Walnut Scholar Athletes (Varsity Letter, 3.20 Grade Point Average) for their academic achievements in the classroom.
Coach Hatfield was assisted in the awards presentations by assistant coach Frank Turner and volunteer coaches Jerry Hatcher, Tim Rioux and Alexa Provost.