JEFFERSON — Each time Kylee Lukes stepped into the batters box, she had the chance to improve her team’s probability of winning.
So, when the coaches tallied up their votes for all-Rock Valley Conference recognition, the chances were high that it was going to be Lukes atop the conference as the Player of the Year. Lukes won the top honor in the league and was joined by sophomore pitcher Claire Beck, freshman catcher Aidyn Messmann and junior center fielder Claire Peachey as first-teamers.
“I knew she had the talent to do it during our open gyms in the winter,” said Jefferson coach Mark Peterson, the winner of the RVC Coach of the Year award. “I knew she had the athletic ability and I could see it in open gyms and in our first practices this season. She had a great attitude all year and every time she was up, she had a chance to do something big.”
Peterson won the award in his first year as head coach of the Eagles. Peterson had served as an assistant in Jefferson for the girls basketball team and the baseball team. The Eagles put together a 17-1 record in the Rock Valley this season.
Lukes hit 12 home runs and drove in 36 runs for the Eagles. Lukes scored 43 times and built a .466 average in 106 plate appearances.
Beck finished the season with an 18-3 record with a 1.85 ERA. The sophomore settled in as the most dominant pitcher in the league as the year went along.
“Being aggressive was important. Against Whitewater, she came in and we had given her some runs and she gave up a big inning,” Peterson said. “After that, I remember kind of getting on her to tell her that if the offense gets you runs, you can’t come back out and give up a big inning.
“I think after the Beloit Turner game, I was on her the whole game and I think that lit a fire for her and fired her up. She had a lot of confidence after that and pitched well for us.”
Her battery mate, Messmann had a .516 average with six home runs and 18 doubles. Messmann began the year making contributions from the bottom of the order for Jefferson, but emerged as a star in the lead-off spot for the Eagles.
Peachey manned center field for Jefferson. She batted for a .378 average with a .452 on-base percentage. Peachey scored 32 times and drove in 21 runs.
“It started with her wanting to be a captain. Anyone who wanted to be a captain had to give a speech and I think that was a big moment for her,” Peterson said. “You have to hustle all the time, you have to make diving plays and I think she embraced that role and got better and better as the year went on. She had some big hits and big RBIs. She got more and more confident as the year went on.”
Jefferson had three players earn second-team honors — sophomore Eden Dempsey, senior second baseman Callie Schnitger and senior outfielder Rachael Neitzel. Senior infielder Megan Gleisner and freshman outfielder Savannah Serdynski each were named honorable mention.
Jefferson won the league with a 17-1 record followed by East Troy and Whitewater at 14-4, Beloit Turner at 13-4-1, McFarland at 10-8, Evansville at 7-10-1, Clinton at 5-13, Edgerton at 4-14, Brodhead at 3-15 and Walworth Big Foot at 2-16.
ROCK VALLEY CONFERENCE
2019 ALL-CONFERENCE SOFTBALL
Player of the Year — Kylee Lukes, Jefferson
Coach of the Year — Mark Peterson, Jefferson, first year
Beck, Jeff, soph., P; S. Johnson, W, sr., P; Conkle, BT, jr., P; A. Schumacher, W, jr., C; Messmann, J, fr., C; Lukes, J, jr., IF; LeFave, McF, sr., IF; Gaziano, BT, sr., IF; Hibbs, W, jr., IF; Kapelka, ET, fr., IF; Gransee, W, jr., OF; Raddeman, ET, jr., OF; Peachey, J, jr., OF; Elwood, J, jr., OF; Verbeten, ET, soph., UTIL.
Jensen, McF, sr., P; Peterson, Cli, soph., C; Halsey, McF, jr., C; Dempsey, J, soph., IF; Summers, BF, fr., IF; Schnitger, J, sr., IF; Goecks, B, jr., IF; Martin, BT, jr., OF; Johnson, McF, soph., OF; Neitzel, J, sr., OF; Atkinson, ET, soph., UTIL.
Walworth Big Foot — Santiago, sr., IF; Baxter, jr., C. Brodhead — Myhre, jr., IF; Matthys, soph., OF. Clinton — McCoy, sr., OF; Teubert, soph., P. East Troy — Heimos, sr., IF; Rice, sr., IF. Evansville — Pfeil, jr., IF; Wiser, soph., C. Jefferson — Gleisner, sr., IF; Savannah Serdynski, fr., OF. McFarland — Butler, soph., IF; Stubbe, sr., P. Beloit Turner — Fowler, sr., OF; Olmstead, fr., OF. Whitewater — Katzman, soph., UTIL; Kopecky, soph., IF.