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Fitch freshman named player of the year
May 30, 2018

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Even though the Fitch softball team fell short of a district championship, some of its players were rewarded for having a special season.

Topping that list is freshman Lydia Spalding who was recently named the All American Conference Player of the Year for 2018. The rookie pitcher earned that honor by posting an ERA in the low two's and setting a Fitch freshman record with 165 strikeouts. Not only did Spalding shine in the pitching circle, but she was also dynamic with a bat in her hands. She swatted the ball at a .447 clip with four home runs, four doubles and six triples. Her slugging percentage was a spectacular .776 helping her also gain first team All-AAC and second team All-District honors. Spalding's coach lauded her for her fabulous first varsity season.

"What an amazing honor for a freshman to be voted upon by coaches," said Fitch headman Steve Ward. "Her work ethic and mental toughness helped guide this team to success. On the mound she set the school freshman strikeout record and she was great as our lead off hitter."

Joining Spalding on the AAC first team was junior Lainie Simons who was a star offensively for Ward's club. Simons hit .488 with a .706 slugging percentage. She slammed 3 homeruns with five doubles and two triples. Coach Ward also called out Simons, who also was chosen Honorable Mention All-District, for her sizzling defense.

"Whether in the field or at bat, Lainie made big plays for us," Ward said. "Her leadership and mentoring of our younger players made a tremendous difference."

Fellow junior Ashley Fuller also represented the Falcons on the AAC's second team. Fuller was fantastic hitting .365 with a .553 slugging mark. Like Fuller, Simons hammered 3 homers with five doubles and one triple. In the district semifinal loss to nemesis Canfield on May 16, Fuller went 3 for 4 with an on base percentage of .1000. The way she strived in pressure situations like that impressed her coach.

"Ashley came up with big hits in big moments throughout the year," said Ward. "She was really great in our district semifinal game."

The final Lady Falcon to be recognized last week was senior Kacie Roth. She was selected Honorable Mention All-District thanks to her .338 batting average and 16 RBI's. As important as Roth was in the middle of Ward's lineup, she was just as valuable behind the dish and as a guiding light for Spalding.

"(Kacie) threw out runners trying to steal on a consistent basis," said Ward. "Without her hard work behind the plate helping our young pitcher we are not successful. Her calm presence and steady glove helped this team succeed."

The good news for the Falcons is that three of the above-mentioned honorees are returning in 2019. Coach Ward believes that having such tremendous talents will elevate his group in its quest to capture a district crown in the near future.

"These players will be a cornerstone of leadership for us," said the veteran coach. "We are blessed and humbled as coaches that our AAC and Northeast District has recognized some of our student athletes as top performers. We are honored and are very thankful and we will use these honors as a catalyst to improve our program."

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