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Cloquet Pine Journal 2022 All-Area Softball Team

The first-ever Cloquet Pine Journal All-Area Softball Team includes players from five different schools in Carlton County.

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CLOQUET — Nearly half of the inaugural 2022 Cloquet Pine Journal All-Area Softball Team is comprised of seniors with five, while four juniors and a pair of freshmen round out a talented mix of players in Carlton County.

Headlining the list of seniors is 2022 Player of the Year Dana Jones of Cloquet. She's joined by Natalie Mikrot (Moose Lake-Willow River), Amber Carlblom (Esko), Mendota Castonguay (Barnum) and Lacie O'Leary (Barnum).

Carlton-Wrenshall pitcher Abby Mitchell, Roena Diver of Cloquet, Esko's Avery Kuklinski and Sarah Christy of Moose Lake-Willow River make up the list of junior selections.

Moose Lake-Willow River freshmen Sandra Ribich and Hallie Klavu are the youngest members of the squad.

Dana Jones
Cloquet
Sr. • OF

Cloquet’s Dana Jones (4) tries to run down a fly ball in the first inning
Cloquet’s Dana Jones (4) tries to run down a fly ball in the first inning of the game at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Monday, April 11.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

- Led Cloquet in batting average (.455), runs scored (23), hits (36), stolen bases (19), extra-base hits (12) and on-base plus slugging (1.21).

- Five-year varsity member of the Lumberjacks who's only been thrown out once in her career on steal attempts.

- Class AA first team all-state, all-Lake Superior Conference first team selection.

- "There’s not many as fast as Dana Jones….She’s a gazelle out there," Cloquet coach Tyler Korby said. "It was a joy to coach her for the time I did."

Amber Carlblom
Esko
Sr. • P/Utility

Pitcher winds up
Esko pitcher Amber Carlblom winds up for a pitch during a game against Two Harbors, Thursday, April 21, at the Esko Athletic Complex.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

- Go-to pitcher for the Eskomos compiled a record of 10-3 with 79 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.81.

- Led the team in batting average (.500), hits (33), RBIs (22) and extra-base hits (13).

- Polar League all-conference

Mendota Castonguay
Barnum
Sr. • P/2B

Barnum's Mendota Castonguay swings the bat during the Thursday, May 23, 2019, Section 7A playoff game vs. Mountain Iron-Buhl.
Barnum's Mendota Castonguay swings the bat during a 2019 Section 7A playoff game vs. Mountain Iron-Buhl.
Dave Harwig / File / Cloquet Pine Journal

- Finished second among Barnum hitters in batting average (.455) and tied for first in doubles with five. Also drew the most walks (17) and led the team in on-base percentage (.619).

- Pitched 63.1 innings for the Bombers and finished with a record of 6-5 with 74 strikeouts and a 4.20 ERA.

- Polar League all-conference

- "When you win a lot of games, it starts with your pitcher, and she has given us a chance to win every time she has taken the rubber," Barnum coach Dustin Collello said of Castonguay.

Sarah Christy
Moose Lake-Willow River
Jr. • P/OF

Pitcher winds up
Moose Lake-Willow River's Sarah Christy winds up for a pitch during the Section 7A championship game against Cherry on Thursday, June 2, at Braun Park.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

- The ace of the Rebels’ pitching staff, Christy compiled a 14-3 record in the circle with a 0.90 ERA and 160 strikeouts in 124 innings pitched.

- Led the club at the plate with a .516 batting average complete with 49 hits, 39 runs and 11 doubles.

- Class A second team all-state, Class A all-tournament and Polar League all-conference

- MLWR head coach Kelly Goeb on Christy's impact: "She was a hard working leader for us all year that did well on the big stage."

Roena Diver
Cloquet
Jr. • SS

Superior’s Emma Raye (27) slides safely into second base as Cloquet’s Roena Diver (1) makes a play on the ball
Superior’s Emma Raye (27) slides safely into second base as Cloquet’s Roena Diver (1) makes a play on the ball in the first inning of the game at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex in Superior on Monday, April 11.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

- Second on the team in batting average (.450); led the 'Jacks in base hits (21), sacrifice flies (8) and RBIs (19).

- Second team all-Lake Superior Conference

- "She's a spark plug out there at shortstop," Korby said. "She's a pretty feisty kid (and) she's a competitor, no doubt about it."

Hallie Klavu
Moose Lake-Willow River
Fr. • CF/C

Runner reaches first safely
Moose Lake-Willow River's Hallie Klavu reaches base safely during a Section 7A game against Carlton-Wrenshall held Tuesday, May 31, at Braun Park.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

- Belted 46 hits with four triples, 12 doubles, 20 RBIs, 38 runs and a batting average of .478 as the Rebels' leadoff hitter.

- Class A all-state honorable mention, Polar League all-conference

- Goeb said Klavu's impact extends beyond the batter's box. "(She made) one of the most heads up plays defensively getting an unassisted force out at second base coming in on a one-hop liner to centerfield to preserve a win against Randolph in the semifinal."

Avery Kuklinski
Esko
Jr. • RF

Outfielder leaps to make a catch
Esko's Avery Kuklinski leaps to make a catch during a Section 7AA quarterfinals game against Eveleth-Gilbert on Thursday, May 26, at Braun Park.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

- Leadoff hitter topped the Eskomos in walks (19), runs (26) and on-base percentage (.611) while finishing second in batting average (.472).

- Class AA second team all-state

Natalie Mikrot
Moose Lake-Willow River
Sr. • C

Player connects for a hit
Moose Lake-Willow River's Natalie Mikrot connects for a base hit during the Section 7A championship against Cherry on Thursday, June 2, at Braun Park.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

- Thwarted 50% of steal attempts over the past four seasons with a powerful arm behind the plate.

- Recorded a .358 batting average for the season while compiling 38 hits, 32 runs, 14 extra-base hits and 28 RBIs.

- Polar League all-conference

- "(She's been a) starter since seventh grade (and) is as good of a defensive catcher as there is," Goeb said.

Abby Mitchell
Carlton-Wrenshall
So. • P

Pitcher throws the ball
Carlton/Wrenshall's Abby Mitchell delivers a pitch during a Section 7A tournament game against Moose Lake-Willow River at Braun Park on Tuesday, May 31.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

- Hurled four no-hitters and one perfect game in 19 starts (12-7) in the circle for the Raptors. Mitchell finished with a strikeout to walk ratio of 5.51 with 215 strikeouts to only 39 walks.

- Posted the club's second-highest batting average (.408) to go along with team-highs in plate appearances (63), hits (20), home runs (1), RBIs (13) and walks (12)

- Class A all-state honorable mention

- "Abby always shows up ready to play. It doesn’t matter what the day is. She loves softball," Carlton-Wrenshall co-head coach Brent Pokornowski said.

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Lacie O'Leary
Barnum
Sr. • P/RF

Hitter connects for home run
Barnum's Lacie O'Leary hits a home run to left field during a Tuesday, April 27, 2021 road game against Moose Lake-Willow River.
Contributed / Lacie O'Leary

- Led the team in batting average (.462), hits (24), OPS (1.371), home runs (4) and RBIs (23).

- Polar League all-conference

- "She is physically gifted with natural strength and a cannon for an arm. She plays the game hard all the time and is another great example for our younger girls on how to play the game," Collelo said.

Sandra Ribich
Moose Lake-Willow River
Fr. • 1B

Moose Lake’s Sandra Ribich (21) makes a catch at first base as Proctor’s Sophie Parendo (4) is called safe
Moose Lake’s Sandra Ribich (21) makes a catch at first base as Proctor’s Sophie Parendo (4) is called safe in the fifth inning of the Rails’ 3-1 victory over the Rebels at Egerdahl Field in Proctor on Monday, May 9.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

- Hit .391 for the season with 36 hits, 12 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs. Ribich finished 3-8 with five RBIs in three state tournament games en route to being named to the Class A all-tournament team.

- Polar League all-conference

- "Clutch No. 3 hitter ... (and) terrific fielding first baseman," Goeb said.

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