Lady T’birds take top honors

Chautauqua Lake’s Braymiller, Anderson, Teets highlighted in CCAA Division 1 West All-Stars

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Chautauqua Lake pitcher Olivia Anderson gets a sign from her catcher before delivering a pitch during a CCAA Division 1 West softball game, in Mayville.

One of the toughest leagues in Western New York spring sports recently announced its best of the best, as the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 West softball All-Stars were revealed last week. With it, many familiar names were given the credit they so clearly deserve.

Chautauqua Lake swept the league’s highest honors, as Cianna Braymiller earned the Player of the Year award, Olivia Anderson was named Pitcher of the Year and head coach Sue Teets earned the title of Coach of the Year.

Braymiller, who was Co-Player of the Year in her junior season a year ago (along with Dunkirk’s Emilee Hanlon) earned the honor on her own this season. The Lady Thunderbirds’ senior third baseman hit a blistering .762 in league play this year.

“Cianna lit up offensively this year,” said Lady Thunderbirds head coach Sue Teets. “Each year on varsity, Cianna has improved her batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage. It is unheard of for anyone to bat .762 in our league.”

Braymiller was also a stellar defender at third base, featuring a consistent glove and a strong throwing arm.

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Chautauqua Lake’s Cianna Braymiller looks on from third base during a CCAA Division 1 West softball game earlier this year, in Fredonia.

“Cianna, too, has one of the best gloves at the hot corner. She works hard to improve in every aspect of the game,” said Coach Teets.

Anderson received the Pitcher of the Year honor once again, after a senior season in which she went 11-1 with a 1.2 ERA in the circle for the division champs. Anderson pitched every game for Chautauqua Lake in league play each of the last two division-winning seasons for the Lady Thunderbirds.

“Olivia has definitely been a game-changer for the Chautauqua Lake varsity softball team,” said Coach Teets. “She has set every record as a pitcher at ‘The Lake,’ — records that will be hard to break.”

Despite being the league’s Pitcher of the Year, Anderson’s bat was also extremely impressive, with a .500 batting average in league games, second only to Braymiller in the division.

“Not only has Olivia shined in the circle, her at-bats have been fantastic, too. Olivia, at times, has carried her team offensively and defensively. The six years that she has played at Chautauqua Lake have been very special to me and to her teammates,” said Coach Teets.

OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot Dunkirk’s Kymi Nance makes a running catch in the outfield during a CCAA Division 1 West softball game earlier this year, in Dunkirk.

Chautauqua Lake also had its other three seniors honored as All-Stars. Catcher Chadelynn Johnson was named as a First Team All-Star, just as she was last season. Johnson hit .480 in league play in her final season, good for fifth in the league. Just behind her offensively was Chautauqua Lake centerfielder Kendra Keyser, who led the Second Team All-Stars with a .477 batting average. Keyser has committed to play college softball at Edinboro University next year. Keyser’s Chautauqua Lake teammate Katelyn Fardink also made the Second Team, with a batting average of .399, second among all the Second Team All-Stars. Chautauqua Lake had three underclassmen — Megan Fischer, Lily Studley and Sophie Woodis — named to the Honorable Mention list.

Keyser’s future teammate at Edinboro, Julia Hill of Silver Creek, was a First Team All-Star this season, as she was last year. Hill finished the season with a 2.27 ERA and a batting average of .275 for Silver Creek. Andrea Olsen and Libby Lawton each made the Second Team from Silver Creek, while Kiera Brennan and Bailey Watroba were Honorable Mention.

Fredonia finished second in the league for the second straight season, but the Lady ‘Billies came out on top in terms of First Team All-Stars. Fredonia had four First Team selections — Kazlin Beers, Sydney Bigelow, Grace Mroczka and Kelly Gullo.

“I was pretty happy with how we were represented,” said Fredonia coach Jesse Beers. “We had four First Teamers, more than any other team, which in this league is pretty impressive.”

Bigelow led the Lady ‘Billies with a .436 batting average out of the clean-up spot in the Fredonia lineup. Mroczka was second on Fredonia with a .415 batting average.

OBSERVER Photo by Ron Szot Fredonia’s Grace Mroczka swings at a pitch during a CCAA Division 1 West softball game against rival Dunkirk, at Dunkirk High School, earlier this year.

“Syd (Bigelow) and Grace (Mroczka) really stood out this year,” said Coach Beers of his two senior First-Teamers.

Kazlin Beers hit .386 out of the leadoff spot for Fredonia, while Gullo hit .333, showing significant growth offensively late in the season.

“Kelly (Gullo) came on so strong the second half of the year,” said Coach Beers.

Fredonia also had three Second Team All-Stars — Maggie Mignoli, Caelin Holt and Maddy Marsh. Marsh was second in the league in wins as a pitcher, with a 9-2 record and a 2.39 ERA.

Chautauqua Lake and Fredonia were far from the only standouts on the list, however, as Class B1 finalist Dunkirk also had a pair of First Team All-Stars. Dunkirk’s Kymi Nance and Monica Pokoj made the First Team, just as they did a year ago. Nance led Dunkirk in batting average on the year, hitting .488 out of the leadoff spot for the Lady Marauders. Pokoj hit .486 at the plate, while also posting a 4-1 record and a 3.15 ERA in the circle. Dunkirk also had three Second Team All-Stars and three Honorable Mention selections. Ashley Gotowka, Jamaladie Pacheco and Olivia Yerico-Piazza made the Second Team, while Jessica Beehler, Kaitlyn Davis and Emma Newton were Honorable Mention.

Cassadaga Valley, despite not tallying a win in the league, made it all the way to the Class C2 sectional finals. With that, four teams from CCAA Division 1 West — Cassadaga Valley, Chautauqua Lake, Dunkirk and Fredonia — made a sectional final this season. Cassadaga Valley was represented on the First Team All-Stars by senior pitcher Brittyn LeBaron, on the Second Team by Holly Crandall and Hannah Edwards, and on the Honorable Mention list by Melanie Russo and Brielle LeBaron. Cassadaga Valley also earned the Team Sportsmanship Award.

Twitter: @bradencarmen