At the plate, or behind it, Helena High's Amber Countryman was a star during the 2021 softball season for the Bengals.
And that stellar play on both offense and defense earned her Player of the Year honors in the Independent Record's coverage area.
The senior set eight Helena High records this past season including for hits, batting average, home runs, runs, RBI, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. She hit.567 for the season with 11 home runs and helped HHS earn its way back to the Class AA state tournament.
Helena finished the season 13-13 and for her part, Countryman earned Western AA Defensive Player of the Year honors, which made her a no-brainer as the Player of the Year locally.
It was a big year for home runs, especially for the Bengals, who also had Brooke Richardson reach double-digits with 10 on her way to earning All-State honors.
The other All-State honoree in the area was Capital freshman Anna Cockhill, who tied a Bruins record with a .500 batting average, while also playing stellar at shortstop. She led Capital in seven offensive categories this season.
Cockhill was one of three Capital freshmen, along with Taylor Sayers and Kathryn Emmert to earn a spot on the All-Area team for the 2021 season.
The full team is listed below:
2021 IR All-Area Softball
Nyeala Herndon, Capital, sophomore
Second team All-Conference; 7-4 W-L, 4.60 earned run average, 65 innings, 58 strikeouts, 58 hits, 49 walks; Offense - .342 average, led team with 6 home runs (tie); also 25 hits, 23 RBIs, .400 OBP
Kathryn Emmert, Capital, freshman
Honorable mention All-Conference; 4-4 W-L, 3.24 ERA, 54 innings, 39 strikeouts, 68 hits, 9 walks; Offense - .310 average, 26 hits, 7 stolen bases, .408 OBP
Amber Countryman, Helena, senior
All-State; Set 8 school records - .567 batting average, 51 hits, 11 home runs, 36 runs batted in, 15 doubles, 37 runs, .562 on base percentage, 1.041 slugging percentage; Also led HHS with 10 stolen bases
Brooke Richardson, Helena, sophomore
All-State; .373 average, No. 2 on HHS with 10 home runs, 33 RBIs, .849 slugging; also 28 runs, 5 doubles, .453 OBP
Reegan Walsh, Helena, senior
Second team All-Conference; .356 average; No. 2 on HHS with 9 doubles, 33 runs; also 32 hits, 5 homers, .437 OBP
Anna Cockhill, Capital, freshman
All-State; Led CHS in seven offensive categories - school record .500 batting average (tie), and 34 runs, 10 doubles, 4 triples, 10 stolen bases, . 558 OBP, .728 slugging percentage; No. 2 with 46 hits, 26 RBIs
Alyssa Koenig, Helena, senior
No. 2 on HHS with .400 average, .478 OBP; also 23 hits, 3 homers, 19 RBIs
Ashlyn Lamping, Helena, junior
Second team All-Conference; .346 average, 6 doubles, 17 RBIs, .418 OBP
McKenzie Siegors, Capital, senior
.333 average; led CHS with 6 home runs (tie); also 23 hits, 23 runs, .452 OBP, .667 SLG
Lexi McNew, Capital, senior
.308 average; No.2 on CHS with 24 runs (tie); also 20 hits, .392 OBP
Brooke Ark, Helena, senior
Honorable mention All-Conference shortstop; .396 average; Led HHS with 3 triples; No. 2 with 34 hits, 9 steals, .703 SLG; also .436 OBP
Taylor Sayers, Capital, freshman
Second team All-Conference catcher; Led CHS with 3 school records .500 batting average (tie), 48 hits, 36 RBIs; No. 2 with 7 doubles, 2 triples, .515 OBP
Jenna Priddy, Capital, senior
Honorable mention All-Conference second base; .301 average, 22 hits, 6 doubles, 24 RBIs, .409 OBP