Bears’ Thompson named Co-Player of Year in CWC-East

Other Bonduel, plus Witt-Birn, Menominee Indian players honored
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

Bonduel High School junior softball player Hailee Thompson was named the Co-Player of the Year in the Central Wisconsin Conference-East Division this spring.

Thompson made the all-conference first team unanimously after serving as the team’s shortstop this spring. She shared the Player of the Year honor with Amherst senior Haley Peskie.

“Earning these awards is nothing but a complete honor, I’ve worked so hard for everything I’ve earned throughout these past three years,” said Thompson. “I give all the glory to God, all my teammates, and coaches for being there and supporting me all the time through the ups and downs of the season. I’m beyond excited for senior year and cannot wait to see what our team has in store for next year.”

Thompson tallied a .533 batting average for the full season, with 24 of her 40 hits coming in CWC-East contests. She homered seven times and drove in 24 runs.

Thompson homered four times over a three-game stretch to help the Bears win three conference games and a share of the CWC-East title.

“No matter how many accolades certain people on our team receive, at the end of the day we’re all one team and it takes a whole team to win a game,” said Thompson. “I am so thankful for the Bonduel softball program thus far and cannot wait for one more year with this amazing program.”

Thompson was joined on the first team by senior teammate Nakiyah Henning. Junior Hailey Zernicke and sophomore Audrey Weier each made the second team, while Macy Niles landed on the honorable mention list. Co-coaches Chris Reinke and Brad Grayvold were named the conference’s top coaches.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood freshman Rory Salvesen made the all-conference first team. Senior Jami Wendler landed on the second team, while senior Kiara Deruchowski and sophomore Evelyn Fletcher were both honorable mentions.

Menominee Indian senior Ashlee Corn made the second team. Junior Gabriella Wayka was an honorable mention for the Eagles.

Henning played all over the field to earn her first team honor. She finished the year with a .431 batting average and 3.83 earned run average in the circle. She played first base and left and right field along with her time in the circle.

The senior had 25 hits and 13 RBIs in conference play. Henning pitched 43⅓ innings.

“Bring named to first team all-conference means the world to me being my senior year, especially as my sophomore and junior year I had received second team,” said Henning. “At the beginning of the year, I told myself that I needed to play every game like it was my last and give it everything I had. Receiving first team this year proved that I did just that. It had made me very happy that others had noticed the hard work that I had put into softball this year and definitely makes me glad that I ended on the right note.”

Salvesen landed her first team honor after posting 20 hits in conference play. She had nine extra-base hits in that mix, while also drawing seven walks, driving in six runs and scoring 20 runs.

Salvesen also provided strong defense from her shortstop position and stole 18 bases.

“Being named first team all-conference this year is a huge honor after all of the work I did to prepare myself for this season,” said Salvesen. “I want to continue pushing my teammates to grow a competitive program and share the enthusiasm for the game I love. Our team is losing many players this year, and we all will have to step up to fill those roles. I am very excited for the seasons ahead.”

One of the players the Chargers will need to replace is Wendler, who was the team’s primary pitcher.

Wendler covered 78⅔ innings in the circle during conference play, striking out 104 batters along the way. She earned all six of the team’s CWC-East wins and had a 3.56 ERA.

At the plate, Wendler collected 17 hits and 12 RBIs.

Corn posted a .382 batting average during the full season for the Eagles to earn her spot on the second team. She got on base at a .553 clip.

Corn collected 13 hits, drove in five runs and scored 15 times. She walked seven times, matching the amount of strikeouts she had for the season. She also stole five bases.

“It honestly means a lot to me for many reasons,” said Corn. “The first one being because I won second team last year and successfully accomplished the goals I had for this year. Me and my team improved so much, I’m so proud of them and I’m happy I could be of help.

“Lastly, it feels good knowing I was able to do all that while healing and getting over my injuries from earlier in the year, as I couldn’t finish my senior volleyball season due to breaking my ankle in game, or playing in our regional game for basketball due to spraining that same ankle. So, I’m very thankful and happy I could finish my senior softball season with this award and with successfully being the team leader I hoped to be.”

Zernicke capped her season with a .479 batting average and 4.16 ERA for Bonduel.

The junior tallied 21 hits in conference play to go along with 15 RBIs. She pitched 23⅔ innings.

Weier played center field for the Bears this spring, finishing with a .477 batting average overall. The sophomore tallied 22 hits in conference play while driving in 18 runs.

Niles primarily played third base for Bonduel, while also catching three games.

The senior tallied a .222 batting average for the full season, with 12 of her hits coming in conference play. She drove in eight runs.

Deruchowski landed on the honorable mention team after collecting 17 hits in conference play. She drew six walks, drove in six runs and scored 15 times. The senior also swiped seven bases.

Fletcher, the Chargers’ catcher, tallied 14 hits in CWC-East play. She drove in nine runs, walked six times and scored seven runs.

Menominee Indian’s Wayka finished her junior season with a .361 batting average and .410 on-base percentage. Four of her 13 hits went for extra bases, while she also drove in nine runs and scored seven times.

Bonduel tied Amherst for the conference crown with an 11-3 record. Witt-Birn came in fifth at 6-8, while Menominee Indian was winless.