Jul. 3—FAIRMONT — Three players from Marion County can count themselves among the top softball players in the state of West Virginia.
The all-state class AA softball teams were released last week, with two Fairmont Senior Polar Bears and one East Fairmont Bee making the cut.
For Fairmont Senior, a pair of junior infielders earned accolades, as Junior Mikayla Shepherd (SS) made second team and Junior Liz Murphy (1B) was named an honorable mention.
For East Fairmont, Junior Blair Nuzum, pitcher and infielder, was an honorable mention.
All three athletes put up stat lines worthy of all-state recognition.
Nuzum batted .564 to go along with a .590 on-base percentage.
She totaled 57 hits, 11 of which were doubles and three of which were triples. Nuzum blasted two home runs and tallied 31 runs scored.
On the defensive side, the junior fanned 114 while registering a .982 fielding percentage.
"One of the best infielders I've ever seen," East Fairmont head coach Steve Swiger said in a prior interview. "And one of the better pitchers I've ever seen. She has a real strong mind and does a great job. She is a very tough out, has a great approach at the plate. A very knowledgeable player."
Shepherd, who entered the season coming off a collarbone surgery, batted .511 while recording 16 doubles and four home runs to give her 29 RBIs and 33 runs scored while also recording nine steals and a fielding percentage of .894.
Murphy finished the year hitting .427 while collecting five triples, two home runs, 21 RBIs, 26 runs, and 16 stolen bases to go along with a .986 fielding percentage. The junior also spent time out of Fairmont Senior's bullpen, where she recorded 66 strikeouts.
Both Shepherd and Murphy were named team captains for the Polar Bears this year, and both sighted leadership as a quality that they developed this season.
"I think my leadership improved," Shepherd said. "Being selected as a team captain this year I was able to personally get to know the girls more than in my freshman year."
Murphy said: "I think it's awesome to be recognized. I improved on leadership and just being able to handle things mentally, I think I improved my outlook on the game and how to handle myself."
The selections for Murphy and Shepherd broke a stretch of 10 years for Fairmont Senior without a player named to the softball all-state teams, with Ericka Aversa being the last Polar Bear to receive the honor.
"There's been low points for the program, but if there's ever an indication that things are looking up, I'd say this is it," Fairmont Senior head coach John Murphy said. "It's only going to help the program and grow the program. I'm doubly proud to see a couple of our kids be recognized on that level. Very proud of the work the girls put in."
The three players honored with all-state selections might've been chosen based on their on-the-field achievements, but their values are described as going far beyond the field.
"They put the work in, they led by example," Fairmont Senior assistant coach Matt Shepherd said. "We had a younger group of girls this year and they were able to acclimate them to high school athletics, since a lot of them hadn't played due to COVID last year. They were instrumental in helping these girls with fundamentals and getting their minds ready."
"Blair is just an outstanding kid, an outstanding player," Swiger said in a prior interview. "She's a good leader, very outspoken to the team as a leader. She just has a great attitude, a positive attitude. She has a desire to be great. She really wants to be a top-notch player, and in my mind she is."
Class AA all-state softball selections
P — Madison Legg, Sissonville, jr.
P — Delaney Haller, Lincoln, so.
P — Delaney Buckland, Independence, so.
P — Maci Boggess, Winfield, so.
IF — Alexa Shoemaker, Keyser, jr.
IF — Kennedy Dean, Winfield, jr.
IF — Olivia Barnett, Shady Spring, jr.
IF — Sara Simon, Philip Barbour, jr.
IF — Madison Angus, Weir, jr.
OF — Cortney Fizer, Herbert Hoover, sr.
OF — Hannah Ferris, Lincoln, sr.
C — Sarah Brown, Oak Glen, so.
C — Kaylen Parks, Independence, sr. (captain)
C — Emma Kyle, Liberty Harrison, jr.
UTIL — Lena Elkins, Nitro, jr.
UTIL — Maddie McKay, Oak Glen, jr.
UTIL — Grayson Buckner, Herbert Hoover, jr.
UTIL — Bella Savilla, Nitro, sr.
P — Paige Maynard, Shady Spring, jr.
P — Tatum Halley, Scott, so.
P — Fran Alvaro, Robert C. Byrd, jr.
P — Charity Wolfe, Keyser, so.
IF — Brooklyn Huffman, Herbert Hoover, so. (captain)
IF — Tayah Fetty, Point Pleasant, jr.
IF — Aly Soblit, Sissonville, sr.
IF — Mallory Rosnick, Weir, jr.
IF — Mikayla Shepherd, Fairmont Senior, jr.
OF — Katie Gaughan, Roane County, sr.
OF — Taylor Noe, Logan, fr.
OF — Destiny Blankenship, Independence, sr.
C — Lilly Grady, Poca, fr.
C — Aubrey Collins, Grafton, sr.
UTIL — Allie Mace, Roane County, sr.
UTIL — Olivia Hylton, Wyoming East, jr.
UTIL — Lizzie Kell, Oak Glen, so.
UTIL — Frederique Maloley, Grafton, jr.
Liz Murphy, Fairmont Senior; Carlie DelSignore, Keyser; Kerigan Moore, Nitro; Alyssa Lilly, Shady Spring; Gabby Smith, Nicholas County; Sydney Brown, Oak Glen; Makayla Zoellers, Oak Glen; Lilley Criss, Philip Barbour; Hailee Poling, Philip Barbour; Hayley Keefer, Point Pleasant; Sierra Cook, Chapmanville; Oliva Munoz, Oak Glen; Jayden Elkins, Scott; Kenzie Hale, Winfield; Ashleigh Mahon, Chapmanville; Blair Nuzum, East Fairmont; Kendall Martin, Independence; Paige Laxton, Wyoming East; Marie Perdew; Frankfort; Kaitlynn Stone, Elkins; Sophia Aperfine, Weir; Faith Gaylor, Winfield; Sydney Bright, Herbert Hoover; Emma Meade, Sissonville; Grace Richardson, Bluefield
Reach Nick Henthorn at (304) 367-254 or by email at email@example.com.