Sammie Stefan is already an All-Ohio selection, Keystone’s all-time and single-season home run record-holder and a University of Maryland recruit.
Now Stefan, who will be a senior, can lay claim to being the best third baseman in the country.
Stefan was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association High School All-American first team Friday. She is the only third baseman and one of only two Ohio players among the 16 who comprised the first team.
“It’s an amazing thing to be recognized with this honor,” Stefan said. “It’s more than just an individual thing, it says a lot about our program. I wouldn’t have even been considered for All-American if it wasn’t for the tradition of Keystone softball.”
Keystone senior shortstop Summer Constable was named to the third team for the second straight year. Stefan was a second-team selection in 2015.
Stefan is the sixth first-team All-American in the history of the Keystone program, the first since Kenzie Conrad in 2011-12. It’s the sixth time since 2006 Keystone has had two players named to the team in the same year.
“The honors we receive say a lot about how hard we work,” Stefan said in a telephone interview from Columbus, where she is playing in a tournament with her summer team. “Not only do we work hard during the season but it’s all year around. Even in the summer when we can’t all play together we’re working hard in travel and working with our hitting coaches.”
That hard work paid off for Stefan in her junior year, when she led the Wildcats with a .591 average while setting school records in home runs (13) and RBIs (60). She had an on-base percentage of .637.
“It’s a great thing, it’s really pretty impressive to be among the top players in the country,” Keystone coach Jim Piazza said. “Sammie has put a lot of time into her game and she is so coachable. It has been great to see her progress from year to year.”
Stefan has a career batting average of .526, with 25 home runs and 151 RBIs in 272 at-bats. She has stolen 29 bases in 30 career attempts.
“There is a wow factor when Sammie steps on the field,” Piazza said. “Her combination of size, athleticism, power and speed is something unique. You can watch her play and know she is an elite player.”
Stefan is already thinking about what she can do in her final season of high school softball.
“My senior year I want to focus on making the team better and passing on everything I have learned over four years to the younger girls so they can carry on the tradition,” Stefan said. “The awards and honors are all very nice but it won’t mean anything if we can’t win a state championship next year.”
Constable, a Purdue recruit, hit .582 with 11 home runs and 56 runs scored in her senior year to finish her career with a .544 average, 155 runs scored and 83 stolen bases. She had at least 50 hits, five doubles and five triples in each of her three years in a Keystone uniform.
While teammates at Keystone, Stefan and Constable played on teams that went a combined 81-14, won three Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division titles, three district and two regional championships and advanced to the Division II state title game last month, where the Wildcats lost to Hebron Lakewood 7-4.
The only other Ohio player to garner All-American honors was Sammi Miller, a first-team outfielder from Lewistown Indian Lake High School.