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Storms, Newell earn all-district honors



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Leah Newell (left) was a senior leader at catcher this season (above) was the Bay ace.

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July 03, 2012 | 11:56 AM
WILLIAMS BAY — The postseason awards continue to pile up for area athletes.

After a solid spring season which featured a playoff win and a 14-6 record, two Williams Bay stars were the only area softball players named all-district.

Leah Newell, a 2012 Bay graduate, and senior Sam Storms were named to the South Central All-District squad. Newell was named an honorable mention catcher, and Storms was named honorable mention utility. Storms earned all-district honors last year as well.

Only four Bulldogs in school history have been named all-district. It was the first time two Bulldogs made all-district since Emily Deitz and Caroline Starck in 2007, a year in which the Bay won the state title.

"It's a big honor," said Bay coach Jeff Kuespert. "There aren't a ton of D4 players who make all-district. I'm really proud of both of them. It's an elite group of players."

After breaking her foot during the basketball season and not receiving medical clearance until the first day of softball season, Newell showed no ill effects from her injury. She hit .500 with 19 RBIs and was named team MVP. Newell added 29 hits, 18 runs, nine doubles and a home run.

Newell and Storms, the Bay's ace pitcher, formed a dynamic battery. Storms posted a 12-6 overall record, with 160 strikeouts and only 45 walks in 123 innings.

At the plate, Storms led the team with a .517 batting average. She totaled 26 RBIs and 31 hits.

Newell said her hitting improved from last year, and she had more confidence on the field. She said her chemistry with Storms was impeccable.

"Sam and I were able to be successful together because she has a lot of knowledge of the game and she was willing to share it with me so I could be the best that I could out on the field," Newell said. "Sam and I worked well together, which made catching really enjoyable."

"Leah and I are polar opposites," Storms said. "I think that we worked well together because she listened to everything I had to say. Leah and I get along very well, which helped our chemistry."

Newell, who will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall, admitted to having some ups and downs this past year.

"It was really hard at first because I was very active (before injury)," Newell said. "But as soon as I was allowed to walk without the boot, I was on the treadmill walking to build up my endurance. Once I got cleared to run again, I started going for short jogs after practice. There were a few times at practice when I was told that I should only do part of the sprinting so that I didn't hurt myself, which was hard because I really wanted to be doing everything."

As for Storms, who has led the Bulldogs in pitching the past three seasons, she said she felt honored to be named all-district.

"I think I had an excellent season this past spring," Storms said. "I set a lot of goals for myself and I feel like I accomplished a lot of them. I was very pleased with my performance individually. I think I did all I could to get my team as far as possible."

Storms, who plays for the 18U Sparks in the summer, is looking forward to her senior season.

"I definitely think the team has so much potential and room for improvement," she said. "We are losing two starters, so it's all up to the returning players and incoming freshmen. My goal for the Bulldogs my senior season is to make it farther in the playoffs. And have fun."

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