Conference 24 Player of the Year Eden Durnil highlights a list of four Carroll County softball players to earn All-Conference honors after a successful 2014 season.
Durnil is joined by teammates Gracie Lindsey and Gracie Davidson on the All-Conference 24 First Team, while Carroll’s Kayla Walker earned second-team all-conference honors. Durnil also was selected to the All-4-A North Region first team, while Davidson earned second-team all-region honors.
Carroll County head coach Rick Nester announced the all-conference selections June 11 at the team’s year-end softball banquet. A senior shortstop and pitcher, Durnil received the team’s Best Offensive Player Award. At the end of the banquet, Nester announced Durnil’s honor as Conference 24 Player of the Year.
“This is our first year in this conference and this is only the second time it has happened at this school.” Nester said, referring to Carroll’s Eustacia Smith’s Conference 24 Volleyball Player of the Year selection earlier this season. “It was a lopsided vote. There were three players nominated. Jefferson Forest had one, Bassett had one, and those three coaches didn’t vote. It was a lopsided vote for Player of the Year.”
A four-year starter, Durnil led the Cavaliers in most offensive stats as she helped lead the team to a 14-10 record and a second-place finish in the River Ridge District. Carroll also made an appearance in the 4-A North Regional Tournament after a victory over Jefferson Forest in the Conference 24 Semifinals.
Durnil led the Cavaliers with a .430 batting average, 27 runs scored, 37 hits, five home runs, a .505 on-base percentage and a .709 slugging percentage. She was second on the team in RBIs (19) and doubles (7) and drew 13 walks against just four strikeouts.
“That’s a pretty good ratio,” Nester said. “A lot of teams we played multiple times wouldn’t give her anything to hit the second time we faced them. They wouldn’t give her anything over the plate. She was a four-year starter on varsity for us and she’s pitched and played shortstop. It seemed like when she pitched, we didn’t get runs for her. She was a captain and a team leader. It will be tough to replace these three seniors.”
Just a sophomore, Davidson earned first-team all-conference and second-team all-region accolades as a pitcher. Davidson compiled an 11-6 record on the mound with a team-leading earned run average of 3.15. She allowed 45 earned runs in 100 innings of work, striking out 77 batters while walking just 31. She also finished with eight complete games and two shutouts.
Davidson was honored June 11 with the team award for Best Pitcher, but she also made a huge contribution at the plate, leading the team with 25 RBIs and eight doubles. She also tallied 28 hits and 17 runs while batting .364.
“Gracie was our main pitcher and pitched all the big games. She ended up hurting her back toward the end of the year. That was part of the reason she had some control issues against Louisa,” Nester said, referring to the Region 4-A North quarterfinal. “I think she was hurt worse than she let on. She didn’t want to come out of the game and I respect that tremendously. She also had a big season for us at the plate.”
A senior, Lindsey earned the team award for Best Defensive Player along with first-team all-conference honors as a catcher. Lindsey finished her career with an almost unheard of accomplishment, two consecutive seasons without an error behind the plate.
“There was one game where she got three runners out, two she threw out at second base and another she picked off at third,” Nester said. “She did an excellent job behind the plate keeping runners off base, and when they did get on base of keeping them out of scoring position. Teams didn’t run much on her.”
Lindsey was also one of Carroll’s biggest weapons offensively. She finished her senior year with a .349 batting average, 30 hits, 13 RBIs, three doubles, one home run and 10 runs.
Another senior, Cavalier first baseman Kayla Walker also picked up plenty of hardware. Aside from her second-team all-conference selection, Nester raved about the improvements Walker made from her junior season as he gave her the team award for Most Improved.
“This is my second year of coaching girls, but I don’t think I’ve ever had another athlete work as hard to get better. She worked so hard from last year to this year. She was always at the Carroll Wellness Center and in the weight room working to get better,” Nester said. “That girl, from the end of last year, she played outfield all year long, then came in at first base and only made two errors in the regular season.”
As a senior, Walker finished with a .983 fielding percentage. She also hit for a .344 average with 22 hits, 10 RBIs and 12 runs scored.
“She stepped up for us offensively and defensively,” Nester said.
And while she didn’t receive all-conference recognition, Carroll’s Hannah Dalton was also honored at the team banquet with the Coach’s Award from Nester.
“This young lady did a tremendous job. Her attitude was phenomenal. If anything needed to be done, she did it,” Nester said. “I never saw a down moment from her at any time. She never got down no matter what and always had a great attitude. That attitude rubbed off on her teammates. She put in a lot of work you don’t see on the field that helped us out a lot.”