AMHERST — Two high school All-Americans are sharing the Lorain County Miss Softball Award for 2009.
It goes to Tess Sito, who pitched and batted Elyria to the Division I state championship this season, and Kara Dill, whose hitting and pitching propelled Keystone to still another Division II district crown and regional final.
Both are first-team All-Ohio choices, Dill for the fourth consecutive year. She is the first Lorain County softball player to earn that distinction and is believed to be first in the state to make first-team All-Ohio four straight seasons. Sito has also received all-state recognition four straight years.
This is the first time two players have received the award since Tammy Yount of Elyria and Laura Dragan of North Ridgeville shared it in 1996. Two players were also named in 1992 and 1994.
In addition, the Lorain County Softball Coaches Association has selected Wellington’s Cassie Gleisner as Special Mention Miss Softball. Gleisner’s pitching and batting led the Lady Dukes into a Division III regional tournament for the second straight year. This is only the second time since the award has been given that a player received “special mention.” The first was Keystone’s Katie Bell in 2005.
The honors were conferred Wednesday night at Sliman’s Diamond prior to the annual Lorain County Seniors Softball All-Star Game, sponsored by the coaches association.
Dill and Sito received plaques from Gregory Finton of the State Coca-Cola Bottling Co., based in Elyria, which sponsors the award. The county’s senior all-stars were honored before the game with plaques donated by The Chronicle-Telegram.
“It’s good that we have two people in the county good enough to win this award,” said Sito, who on Saturday fired an 11-strikeout two-hitter as the Pioneers defeated Hudson,
10-1, for the state championship. “It’s cool. It’s like all my hard work has paid off. The team award (state title) was awesome and this is awesome as an individual award.”
The Wildcats’ Dill said she felt similarly.
“This is definitely an honor, especially to win it with someone like Tess,” she said. “You look back at all the other players who have won this award and to be considered one of the best is just weird to think about. You always watched those players when you were younger and now you’re here.”
Gleisner was shocked to learn she had received special mention.
“I’m really excited because I had no idea,” she said. “I don’t know, I’m speechless. It is a very big confidence booster, I guess.”
All three will attend Division I universities on softball scholarships. Sito will play at Cleveland State University, Dill at the University of Kentucky and Gleisner at the University of Akron.
Sito, the Pioneers’ No. 1 pitcher, was called the best pitcher in Ohio by ESPN RISE magazine in April. She finished 26-3 this season with a 0.23 ERA and 331 strikeouts in 181 innings. She pitched three no-hitters, three one-hitters and a championship-game two-hitter in seven tournament games.
In addition, she was the team’s top batter with a .495 average on 52 hits in 105 at-bats. She hit nine doubles, seven triples and five home runs, and put up 19 RBIs as the team’s leadoff batter. She batted .470 for her four-year career, including 15 homers and 107 RBIs. She was 75-9 as a pitcher, with 814 strikeouts and a 0.79 ERA.
Sito holds the school career and single-season records for strikeouts by a pitcher (814 and 331), and for hits (193 and 52) and runs (143 and 47).
Dill was among the top handful of area hitters this season with a .545 average on 55 hits in 101 at-bats, including 13 doubles, seven triples and three homers. She stole 22 bases. She batted .547 for her career, which included 32 doubles, 23 triples, four homers and 89 stolen bases. She scored 154 runs.
Dill also had a notable pitching career. She posted an 18-4 four-year record with three saves. She fanned 227 in 1492/3 innings and surrendered just 15 earned runs. She allowed 48 hits over four seasons.
Dill broke the school single-season hits record with 58 as a freshman on the Wildcats’ 2006 Division II state championship team. She finished her career with a school-record 218, shattering the record of 168 set by Jamie Cendrosky, who graduated in 1995.
Gleisner was Wellington’s No. 1 hurler this year. She posted a
17-3 record with 180 strikeouts in 123 innings, allowed only 11 earned runs and put up a 0.63 ERA, one of the best in the area. She has been among the area’s top hitters since she was a freshman. She batted .422 this season with 11 doubles, two triples and two homers, and put up 23 RBIs. She also scored 33 times.
Dill is the eighth Keystone player and Sito the fourth from Elyria to win Miss Softball. Gleisner is the first from Wellington either to win the award or receive special mention.
Louisville Slugger and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association selected Sito a second-team All-American and Dill honorable mention as juniors.
Bob Daniels | The Chronicle-Telegram
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Miss Softball Winners
2009—Tess Sito, Elyria, and Kara Dill, Keystone (special mention, Cassie Gleisner, Wellington)
2008—Jillian Van Wagnen, Admiral King
2007—Sarah Stromack, Keystone
2006—Kristie Malinkey, Keystone
2005—Alex Boros, Elyria (special mention, Katie Bell, Keystone)
2004—Christina Swierz, Amherst
2003—Brittney Robinson, Keystone
2002—Jess Jesko, Firelands
2001—Megan Meyer, Vermilion
2000—Lacey Reichert, Amherst
1999—Amie Leffew, Keystone
1998—Rachel Beran, Firelands
1997—Kim Evans, Keystone
1996—Laura Dragan, North Ridgeville, and Tammy Yount, Elyria
1995—Jamie Cendrosky, Keystone
1994—Amy Johnson and Sarah Martin, Keystone
1993—Ashley Anderson, Elyria
1992—Heather Zehel, Amherst, and Cassie Wilmoth, Firelands