Julia Crenshaw always has wanted to leave things better than she found them.
Crenshaw said that’s just a part of her nature and she hopes to keep doing that throughout her adult life as a part of her potential career path.
“I feel like being a firefighter would be really cool,” Crenshaw said. “It would be that or something in agriculture because my dad owns a farm. I am really excited by the idea of helping others, though. I’ve always been amazed by people who put their lives on the line for others. Saving people’s lives and having an impact in that way would be a special thing to do.”
Crenshaw definitely made things better for the Fort Zumwalt West softball team during a special season this fall. She is the Post-Dispatch All-Metro fall softball player of the year.
As Zumwalt West (18-5) made its way to the Class 5 state quarterfinals for the first time in program history, Crenshaw smashed the ball to the tune of a .619 batting average, 10 home runs — which tied for the area lead — 35 RBI, eight doubles, four triples and a 1.349 slugging percentage.
The shortstop also owned a .932 fielding percentage with 30 putouts and 39 assists.
Crenshaw lauded teammates like junior pitcher Lydia Feiste and senior catcher Kate Thurman for helping Zumwalt West’s history-making season.
“I think it starts with everyone else on the field,” Crenshaw said. “I can’t be successful without Lydia’s pitching, or without Kate behind the plate, or without the girls to my left and to my right. We all just held together the entire season and just made it work. It’s really cool to see and really cool to be a part of it.”
While the season ended for Crenshaw and the Jags in the Class 5 quarterfinals in a 3-2 loss to eventual undefeated champion Rock Bridge, she found comfort in giving the Bruins one of their toughest tests.
Crenshaw’s home run in the first inning even gave Zumwalt West a short-lived lead.
“Next year, I think they’ll carry the experience off that and they’ll be really good,” Crenshaw said. “The experience from that game, even though it was a loss, will really help them.”
Zumwalt West coach Ryan Oetting said Crenshaw’s performance had become something of an expectation.
In her four-year career, Crenshaw had 14 home runs and 97 RBI.
“Everything she did was pretty unbelievable,” Oetting said. “Her plate discipline and the ability to drive the softball were a unique combination. The thing to think about is that we played eight games less this year than we normally would have because we missed out on two tournaments. Just imagine what her numbers could have been this year alone had we played those.”
Crenshaw had a hit in all but one game this season and only struck out once.
Solving pitchers was just like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, she said.
“I think the deeper into the game I go, the easier it is to realize what the pitcher is throwing,” Crenshaw said. “I start to get a better hold on locations and what speeds and spins they have. I’d just put it all together and get some hits.”
Eric Gough, Zumwalt West’s baseball coach and Crenshaw’s AP statistics teacher, said the senior works hard to put things together and make the classroom a better place while putting her athletic prowess on full display.
“Julia is a very interactive student,” Gough said. “She consistently is asking questions that drive classroom discussions. I love having her in class because she is willing to speak up, make mistakes, and learn from them. She is a very smart kid and has a great work ethic in the classroom. Julia is fun because she can give and take a little grief from me, always with a smile.”
Among the light-hearted moments between the pair is the usual discussion about their respective sports.
Gough said Crenshaw’s grasp of her game would have made it easy to translate to his game.
“Julia has a high athletic IQ,” Gough said. “When we chat softball, she displays a deep understanding of the game and what it takes to be successful individually and as a team. She comes from an athletic family and gets the game. Had Julia grown up playing baseball instead of softball, I think she would have made for a good varsity baseball player.”
While Crenshaw’s next stop is already in pretty good hands under coach Larissa Anderson at Missouri, Crenshaw said she likes the challenge of staying close to home and helping lead the Tigers in the Southeastern Conference.
“It’s crazy to be able to represent the home state,” Crenshaw said. “When I signed, I had so many people thank me for staying home. It means a lot to be a part of keeping the home state talent home.”
ALL-METRO FALL SOFTBALL FIRST TEAM
2020 All-Metro fall softball first team
Player of the year: Julia Crenshaw, senior, Fort Zumwalt West
University of Missouri signee helped lead the Jaguars to 18-5 season and Class 5 quarterfinal appearance, the program's first. A shortstop, Crenshaw hit .618, tied for an area-best 10 home runs had 35 RBI and a 1.349 slugging percentage. Had eight doubles, four triples, stole 14 bases, 18 walks, struck out only once. In four seasons, struck out only 12 times in nearly 400 plate appearances.
Pitcher of the year: Maddie Buske, senior, Webster Groves
Led Statesmen to Class 4 championship, the first softball state title in school history. Owned 12-1 pitching record with a 1.51 earned run average in 83 1/3 innings. Buske struck out 115 and walked just 13 batters all season.
P: Maddie Carney, sophomore, Marquette
As Marquette advanced to Class 5 semifinals, Carney was dominant to the tune of a 10-1 pitching record with a 1.54 earned run average and 97 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings. Opposing hitters managed just a .219 average and a .215 slugging percentage against Carney.
C: Jessie Blaine, senior, St. Dominic
The Auburn signee transferred in from San Clemente, Calif., for her senior season. Led Crusaders in hitting at .529 with a 1.171 slugging percentage. Had nine home runs, 37 RBI, 14 doubles, two triples. In the field, contributed 111 outs, 18 via assists.
C: Hannah Jansen, senior, Webster Groves
Signed with Florida International. Helped Statesmen win Class 4 state title, which was program’s first. Her .603 average, 1.058 slugging percentage, 14 doubles, four triples and 42 RBI all led the team. Also hit three home runs. On defense, amassed 137 putouts and eight assists without committing an error.
IF: Chloe Rhine, junior, Summit
Helped Summit advance to Class 4 state semifinals, program’s best postseason showing since 2006 state title. Second on team in hitting at .491, added a .623 slugging percentage, seven doubles and 17 RBI. Additionally, she was among team leaders for the Falcons with three stolen bases.
IF: Ella Strickland, senior, Oakville
Slugged 1.106, had nine home runs and 22 RBI, all of which led the 9-5 Tigers in COVID-shortened season. She also hit .426 and added three doubles and a triple. The 12 walks drawn by Strickland were also the high mark for any Tiger this season.
IF: Kayla Ulrich, sophomore, Sullivan
A catcher last season, moved positions and sparked Eagles to 21 wins and Class 3 state championship, the program’s first. She led Eagles in slugging at .925 while hitting .462 with 15 doubles, four triples, seven home runs and 36 RBI. Defensively, had 63 outs, 43 assists, committed only five errors.
OF: Bailey Broemmer, junior, Timberland
One of the most feared power hitters in the area. Her 10 home runs tied for area lead. She also drove in 37 while hitting .385 and slugging .791. Added five doubles and one triple. In the field, she accounted for 36 outs and 17 assists while committing just four errors.
OF: Bre Hollowell, senior, St. Charles
Signed with Central Methodist and was a consistent bright spot for Pirates. Hit for .532 average with a .871 slugging percentage. Added eight doubles, two triples, three home runs and 13 RBI. She also was near team lead with four stolen bases.
UT: Mya Bethany, senior, Rosati-Kain
Signed with Lindenwood. Helped Kougars post 8-1 record and reach district final. Bethany was 7-0 in the circle with 106 strikeouts and a .15 earned run average in 45 1/3 innings. She also had a .739 batting average, 1.217 slugging percentage, six doubles, one triple, one home run, eight RBI.
UT: Lydia Feiste, junior, Fort Zumwalt West
Feiste was 17-3 in the circle with a 2.83 earned run average and 159 strikeouts in 133 2/3 innings. At the plate, Feiste collected a .360 batting average with four doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 32 RBI. Helped Jaguars reach state quarterfinals for the first time.
UT: Hanna Johanning, senior, Sullivan
Signed with Florida International. Led Eagles to the Class 3 state championship, the program’s first. Johanning hit .456 with a .889 slugging percentage, nine doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 38 RBI. As a pitcher, Johanning was 10-4 with 2.70 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 88 innings.
ALL-METRO FALL SOFTBALL SECOND TEAM
2020 All-Metro fall softball second team
P: Taylor Brown, freshman, Washington
Brown played a significant role in the Blue Jays turnaround to 19 wins this season. She owned a strong 11-2 mark in the circle as she held a miniscule .98 earned run average and 140 strikeouts over 78 2/3 innings. Struck out 140 batters, all the while surrendering just a .211 average to opposing hitters.
C: Catryn Cattoor, senior, Jefferson
Cattoor returns to the All-Metro list after a stellar final season of high school softball. She led the Blue Jays with a .633 average and 1.333 slugging percentage. In 71 plate appearances, amassed nine doubles, six triples, seven home runs and 30 RBI. Fleet-footed catcher also led the team as she stole 18 bases. Will play at Washington University.
C: Tori Hatton, junior, Troy
Hatton returns to the list this season after a grand season in which she tied for the area lead with 10 home runs while driving in 49. She hit .494 and added a .889 slugging percentage and two doubles. In the field, Hatton committed just one error while accounting for 129 putouts and nine assists for the Trojans as the team won 19 games.
IF: Kelly Collins, senior, Webster Groves
As the Statesmen made history in winning the Class 4 state championship and 16 games along the way, Collins proved to be a true team leader. Her .543 batting average and .614 slugging percentages were amongst the best on the team. She also managed to accumulate three doubles, a triple and 16 RBI. She shined in the field, making 25 putouts and adding 15 assists without an error.
IF: Hailey Roberts, senior, Warrenton
As the Warrenton offense scored 8.4 runs per game in winning 17 games this season, Roberts did a lot to make the offense go. She led the team with a .481 average and .914 slugging percentage. She also was tops on the team with 10 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 40 RBI. Roberts also led the Warriors with 14 multi-RBI games.
IF: Sarah Roth, senior, Northwest-Cedar Hill
On the way to 18 wins this season, Roth did plenty to spark the Lions’ offense. She tied for the team lead in hitting at .500 while she added a team-high .792 slugging percentage. Additionally, Roth pitched in 16 doubles, three triples, three home runs and 17 RBI. Roth was also amongst team leaders this season with eight stolen bases.
IF: Madyson Stahl, senior, Sullivan
Signed with Jefferson College. Stahl might have saved her best for last in providing the Eagles with a double and a triple in the Class 3 state championship game as the team soared to its first title. Throughout the year, Stahl hit .417 with two doubles, six triples and 20 RBI. She also stole 11 bases for Sullivan. In the field, she was among team leaders with 34 assists as she helped account for 108 outs while owning a .915 fielding percentage.
OF: Tatum Gerwitz, senior, Fort Zumwalt West
Signed with Southeast Missouri. As the Jaguars rolled to 18 wins this season and a berth in the Class 5 state quarterfinals for the first time, Gerwitz played an important role. She was second on the team in hitting at .427 and she also added a .500 slugging percentage. She also managed to provide four doubles, a triple and 12 RBI for West. Where she really shined was in leading the team with 29 stolen bases.
OF: Ilencia Lightbody, senior, Timberland
Lightbody led the Wolves in hitting this season with a .476 batting average. Her .845 slugging percentage was also the best on the team. She displayed speed as well as power as her 12 stolen bases were near the team lead. Lightbody also pitched in six doubles, eight triples, three home runs and 27 RBI as the Wolves overcame a slow start to finish 14-13.
UT: AJ Agers, senior, St. Pius X
Missouri S&T basketball signee. Agers did a little bit of everything for a Lancers team which won 14 games this season. She not only hit .696 and slugged 1.217 with 12 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 23 RBI but she also added a 10-4 record with a .93 earned run average and 145 strikeouts over the course of 83 innings pitched for St. Pius.
UT: Katy Mawer, sophomore, Fort Zumwalt South
As the Bulldogs won 14 games and made it to the Class 4 state quarterfinals for the first time since 2009, Mawer made immense contributions. Shuffling between catcher and the outfield, she made several key plays while contributing mightily at the plate. She led the team in hitting at .459 and added seven doubles, three home runs and 18 RBI. Between the two defensive positions, she had just two errors and a .983 fielding percentage.
ALL-METRO FALL SOFTBALL THIRD TEAM
2020 All-Metro fall softball third team
P: Kathryn McChristy, junior, Warrenton
Western Illinois recruit returns to the list after another solid softball season. She not only led the area with 211 strikeouts but she also amassed a 14-5 record and a 1.37 earned run average for the Warriors over 112 1/3 innings. Opposing teams hit just .163 against her and she walked just 25 as she faced 445 batters over the course of the season.
C: Brooke Loveall, junior, Fox
As the Warriors turned things around with a 14-9 mark record, Loveall played a major role in the team’s success. She led the team in hitting to the tune of .484 while adding five doubles, two triples, five home runs and 27 RBI as she slugged .859. In the field, she owned a .980 fielding percentage with just two errors committed while she collected eight assists.
C: Piper Montgomery, senior, Windsor
Signed with SIU Edwardsville. Montgomery was a main factor for an Owls squad which averaged 8.5 runs per game and ended the year with a 13-11 record. She finished the season tied for the lead in hitting with a .500 average while she pitched in a .878 slugging percentage, 10 doubles, six home runs and 36 RBI. Of her RBI, there were six games in which she drove in three or more runs.
IF: Cadence Dempsey, junior, Fort Zumwalt South
On the Bulldogs’ run to a 14-9 record and a Class 4 state quarterfinal berth, the program’s first since 2009, Dempsey did plenty to power the offense. Her .450 average and seven doubles were among team leaders. The categories in which she was the best included: slugging percentage (.788), triples (one), home runs (six) and RBI (30). She also accounted for 26 putouts and 16 assists.
IF: Sydney Dennis, senior, Eureka
Signed with Southeast Missouri. As the Wildcats jumped to a 10-3 record during the season, Dennis was there every step of the way to help lead the offense. She not only led the team in hitting a .551, she also led the way with a .918 slugging percentage and eight doubles while pitching in two triples, two home runs and 13 RBI. The fleet-footed Dennis also stole eight bases to lead the team.
IF: Morgan Goodrich, junior, Lindbergh
The top hitter by average in the area this season, Goodrich owned a .722 mark over the course of 36 at bats. The seven doubles, two triple and one home run also helped her earn a 1.111 slugging percentage for the Flyers over the course of the shortened season. Goodrich was also able to drive in six runs for Lindbergh.
IF: Riley Siegel, junior, Windsor
Siegel owned a .500 batting average for the Owls this season as the team finished 13-11. She led the team with an eye-popping .903 slugging percentage and pitched in two doubles, nine home runs and 31 RBI. Perhaps most impressive for Siegel this season was a string of five successive games in which she played that she had a home run.
IF: Abby Ulsas, sophomore, Summit
As the Falcons won 11 games and marched to the Class 4 state semifinals for the first time since 2006, Ulsas led the team in hitting at .549 while adding a .784 slugging percentage. Ulsas also led the team with seven doubles while adding a triple, a home run and 17 RBI. In the field, she accounted for 47 outs while committing just three errors.
OF: Allison Hemsath, senior, Francis Howell
One of the bright spots for the Vikings this season came in the offensive production provided by the senior. She led the team in hitting at .591 and slugging at .697. She also contributed five doubles, a triple and seven RBI. Her six stolen bases led the team and she struck out just three times in 71 at bats for Francis Howell.
UT: Jaedin Blankenship, sophomore, Sullivan
As the Eagles soared to a 21-9 finish and the Class 3 state championship, which is the program’s first, Blankenship played an integral role. In splitting time between the pitcher’s circle and first base, Blankenship owned an 11-5 record with 89 strikeouts and a 2.47 earned run average in 82 1/3 innings. She also didn’t commit an error in the field while hitting .356 with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and 26 RBI.
UT: Kennedy Jensen, junior, Francis Howell Central
Jensen did a little bit of everything for a Spartans team that finished with 16 wins. On offense, she hit .427 and led the team with a .773 slugging percentage. She also added five doubles, seven home runs and 31 RBI. In the circle, Jensen was 14-6 with a 2.87 earned run average and 163 strikeouts over 124 1/3 innings. Opponents hit just .216 against her.
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