Murray’s Kate Patton became a five-time all-state softball honoree this week.
The five-year Lady Mustang pitcher, also an offensive force at the top of coach Danny Jensen’s lineup, is a repeat selection on the Iowa Girls Coaches Association Class 1A first team.
Two Murray teammates — junior third baseman Deena Snyder and sophomore shortstop McKenzie McIntosh — were named to the second and third teams, respectively.
Two other Lady Mustangs, junior Chellsea Jones and sophomore McKenzie Case — received all-state honorable mention along with Lenox junior catcher Aurora Arevalo.
Patton gained all-state honorable mention her eighth-grade and freshman seasons, before making second team as a sophomore and first team the past two years.
Despite sharing varsity pitching duties her junior season with Danielle McIntosh, now at Southwestern Community College, Patton finished her career with 74 career wins (74-54), including a streak of 24 consecutive wins from the latter portion of the 2013 season and the first 12 games this year. She has 825 career strikeouts.
Patton had all of the decisions in Murray’s 24-3 season this summer.
The speedster, headed to Central College as a sprinter on the track team, ignited Murray’s offense in her leadoff role. The career .393 hitter batted .422 this season with a team-high 46 runs. She was perfect in 21 stolen base attempts, finishing with 105 career steals and nearly 200 runs.
“Kate was one of the best you’ll ever see on getting from first to third on bunts,” Jensen said. “All you needed was a groundball or flyball to get her home. She also hit five home runs out of the park.”
As a pitcher this year Patton had a 1.61 ERA while going 24-3, with 165 strikeouts and 31 walks in 148 innings pitched. Opponents batted .200 against her.
“The big difference for her this year was her control,” Jensen said. “Her strikeout-to-walk ratio was up to 6:1. She really got that part of her game fixed. Her ERA was really good. She pitched all but one inning for us. She had a tripleheader at Leon. But her best day might have been at the Orient-Macksburg tournament. It was extremely hot all day, and she beat Nodaway Valley and Lenox going 17 innings (13 innings in an 11-6 win over Lenox in the title game). She gets outs and avoids big innings.”
Snyder was an offensive force for the Lady Mustangs, hitting .488 this year with two home runs, eight doubles and 28 RBI.
“She flirted with .500 all year,” Jensen said. “She sprayed the ball everywhere. She had a magical hitting year for us, but she also made only five errors all season at third base. We’re expecting big things from her next year.”
McIntosh led the Bluegrass Conference in RBI (31) while batting .443 with a .534 slugging percentage and .505 on-base percentage.
“She had one of the best sophomore seasons we’ve had in recent years,” Jensen said. “She’s a line drive hitter and played a steady shortstop with a strong arm. She had only 10 errors all season at a tough position to play.”
Jones batted .361 with 11 doubles and 26 RBI in earning honorable mention for the Lady Mustangs. Case hit .297 with 19 RBI. Lenox’s Arevalo batted an even .400 with five home runs and 31 RBI for the 16-10 Tigers.
(Complete all-state rosters will appear in Friday’s News Advertiser.)