Courtesy of Keystone High SchoolSTARKVILLE, Miss. – Keystone High School (LaGrange, OH) head coach Jim Piazza, and assistant coaches Keith Buckley, Ann Green, Natalie Camp, Susie Moore, Kim Kokski, Brittney (Robinson) Hodkey and Jessica Burt have been named as the 2012 NFCA High School National Coaching Staff of the Year, the Association announced on Wednesday.
Keystone went a perfect 32-0 this past season en route to the program's third Ohio Division II State Championship. The top-ranked Wildcats fell behind 2-0 early in the game, but rallied for a bat-around five-run sixth inning to defeat No. 4 Greenville 7-2.
Helping lead the Wildcats on the field this season was senior pitcher Kenzie Conrad. She posted a 25-0 record in the circle along with a 0.74 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 142 innings pitched. A 2012 NFCA First team All-American and Ohio Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, Conrad also batted .485 with 11 home runs, 44 RBI and a 1.031 slugging percentage.
For their accomplishments this season, Piazza and staff also earned the North Region Coaching Staff of the Year award.
Other regional winners this season were:
East Region – Clarence HS (Clarence, N.Y.)
Head Coach: Todd Banaszak
Assistant Coach: Kelly Rusin and Megan McDonnell
Clarence won their first Class AA State Championship with a 3-1 victory over Cicero-North Syracuse in the title game. The Red Devils, who went 23-1 overall and 7-1 in league, earned the school's first team state title in any sport. Had Tori Nappo (OF) named to the NFCA East Region first team, and Katie Bulls (P) and Alyssa Dewes (C) named to the NFCA East Region second team.
South Region – Chamberlain HS (Tampa, Fla.)
Head Coach: Bob Diez
Chamberlain won the Class 7A State Championship, defeating Bartow 9-8 in title game with a 2 run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 7th (with a 1 and 2 count). The Chiefs went 27-7 on the year, and finished ranked ninth in final USA Today/NFCA HS Top 25 poll. Had Bianka Bell (SS) selected to 2012 NFCA All-American first team and Elizabeth Leonard named as an at-large selection to 2012 NFCA All-American third team.
South Central Region – Olathe East HS (Olathe, Kan.)
Head Coach: Jeffrey Hulse
Assistant Coach: Teddi Ewing
Won the program's seventh Class 6A State Championship by beating Olathe South 5-2. The Hawks Went 24-1, 19-1 in league, and finished ranked 13th in final USA Today/NFCA HS Top 25 poll. Had Kiki Stokes (OF) selected to 2012 NFCA All-American first team. Pitcher Allison Stewart was named the 2012 Kansas Gatorade Softball Player of the Year.
West Region – Walla Walla HS (Walla Walla, Wash.)
Head Coach: Jerry Humphreys
Assistant Coaches: Arch McHie, Jessica Rusch, Carol Peterson, Kate Keyes
The Blue Devils went 21-1, scoring 38 runs in its first three tournament games before falling to Woodinville High School in the Class 4A State Championship game. Finished ranked 24th in final USA Today/NFCA HS Top 25 poll. Had TraeAnn Payne (OF) selected to 2012 NFCA West Region first team and Alyson Ambler (P), Jordi Strom (2B), and at-large selections Andrea Hamada and Libbie Jimenez, named to 2012 NFCA West Region second team.