Weekly Feature



2018-06-13 / Sports

Orchard Park’s Stewart is Player of the Year

by TAYLOR NIGRELLI
Reporter


Orchard Park’s Madison Stewart makes the out at first in a game against Horseheads in the Gerry Gentner “Just Show Up” Memorial Softball Tournament in April. Stewart’s play at first and at the plate earned her All-Bee Player of the Year honors for 2018. 
Photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Orchard Park’s Madison Stewart makes the out at first in a game against Horseheads in the Gerry Gentner “Just Show Up” Memorial Softball Tournament in April. Stewart’s play at first and at the plate earned her All-Bee Player of the Year honors for 2018. Photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Madison Stewart’s four years on the Orchard Park girls varsity softball team have been eventful. The Lady Quakers won a state championship in her freshman season of 2015, were the state runners-up in 2016, made it to the sectional title game last year and were ECIC Division I winners this year.

“It’s been awesome,” Stewart said. “I love my coaches, and the girls are very hard-working. All three seniors this year were Division I commits and just had so much heart for the game. Everyone cared a lot, which made it a lot more fun.”

Stewart was an All-Bee selection last year and a two-time All-Western New York honoree. This year, she further stepped up her game and finished the season with a .351 batting average, 20 hits, 20 RBIs, two home runs and a .614 slugging percentage. She was also dominant in the field, with a fielding percentage of .983 and just two errors all year.

For that, she was voted the All-Bee Softball Player of the Year by the coaches from the Bee’s coverage area.

“She had high expectations coming into this season and just wanted to do very well,” Orchard Park coach Brittany Schermerhorn said. “She is a very hard worker. If she doesn’t get a hit one game, she’ll go to the batting cages. She’ll go out before the game, before practice, after practice. She is always working to get better. She is never satisfied.”

Stewart has been a three-year starter for the Lady Quakers. By her senior year, she was a leader on the team, someone the other girls looked up to and who set the tempo for the team.

“She’s one of the girls that everyone looked up to,” Schermerhorn said. “If she was psyched up for a game, everyone else was too. You could just see the heart she has in the game. She struggled a little bit in the beginning of the season. She just keeps working and tries to get out of it and goes to the batting cages. She worked a lot on her mental part of the game this year.”

Stewart consistently raised her game in the postseason. For example, this year she went 3-3 in a 3-0 win over Lockport in the Class AA quarters. In 2016, she hit her first high school out-of-the-park home run in a comeback win in the Far West

Regionals.

“We were down for the first four innings of the game, and then we had one inning where we broke out and hit like eight runs in. That was my favorite game for high school,” Stewart said.

Stewart was also a strong player in the field.

Her natural position is catcher, but she played first base most of the time. But that didn’t stop her from being a consistently solid fielder.

“She’ll do anything to stop that ball from getting past her,” Schermerhorn said. “That’s part of the catcher in her. Her ability to do a full split at first base has saved a lot of plays for us. Even the girls in the infield have thanked her so many times for coming up with the ball and saving a bad throw that should have been an error. Just like making those plays gets everyone psyched up to stay in the game.”

In addition to having a strong season, Stewart organized the program’s inaugural “Suicide Prevention Awareness Game” against Williamsville

North in early May. The event raised more than

$760 for the Mental Health Association of Erie

County.

Stewart has been with the Orchard Park softball program since seventh grade, when she started playing on the modified team. She moved up to the JV team in eighth grade and then to the varsity team the next season. She’ll leave a hole when she leaves for St. Bonaventure University, where she will play catcher for the Division I program.

“I just want to say how much of an impact she’s made on the Orchard Park program and how much of a leader she’s been,” Schermerhorn said. “She’s going to be missed next year.”

email: tnigrelli @beenews.com

Return to top


Clarence Special Events 2018
Click for schedule