Mueller finishes dream season, career: Lady T-birds’ first baseman earns First-Team All-Division III, Section V Player of the Year accolades
BULLHEAD CITY — Former Lady T-birds first baseman Lillie Mueller earned the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division III First-Team and Section V Player of the Year honors following the 2016 softball season.
“It feels good knowing that it’s recognized,” Mueller said. “I put a lot of work outside of practice and stuff, so it’s nice that it paid off.”
Her hard work paid off, indeed.
Mueller batted .547, hit eight homers, knocked in 35 runs, scored 35 and doubled six times in 64 at-bats in 81 plate appearances in 26 games during her senior season to earn such recognition.
The four-year Mohave High School Lady T-birds letterman completed her first season playing volleyball at Davis & Elkins (Elkins, W.V.) College, where she is a freshman studying physical therapy while playing NCAA Division II volleyball.
“Lillie is pretty intense with any sport that she plays,” Mohave head coach Shannon Patterson said. “So, as far as her body language goes, you can tell when she has her frustrations because her mannerisms would be the same whether in volleyball or softball.
“She gives 110 percent to everything she does and she’s passionate about everything she does whether it’s volleyball or softball or even when she played soccer.”
Patterson added: “She’s just a great athlete; I loved watching her play volleyball. I went to every single volleyball game, even Havasu and River Valley. I would travel, too, to watch the rest of the team.
“She’s a great person, a great kid and she’s extremely intelligent and she’s going to go far, she’s going to do great things. I’m happy for her and proud for her no matter what sport she plays at college because she’s at the next level.”
Mueller said the Mohave team had a rewarding season during her senior campaign.
The T-birds’ record was 18-4 overall and 9-3 in the Section V.
Mohave defeated Fairfax High School in the first round of the playoffs, before falling to the eventual state champion Longhorns of Payson High School 3-1 in the second round.
“I couldn’t have had a better senior season,” said Mueller, who also earned Section V Player of the Year honors after the T-birds were eliminated in the second round of the volleyball playoffs. “Both of my sports teams went further than they had in the four years I’d been there. That’s pretty nice.”
T-birds left fielder Jordan Lakes batted .350, hit six homers, knocked in 29 runs, scored 28, with one double and one triple in 80 at-bats in 93 plate appearances during her sophomore season to earn an AIA Division V Honorable Mention nod.
DIVISION III, SECTION V FIRST TEAM
Alicia Rhodes earned first-team all-secton honors by batting .385, with one triple, six doubles, 22 runs scored, 16 RBI in 75 plate appearances and 65 at-bats during her sophomore season.
“She was a designated hitter for us,” Patterson said. “And as far as our section, she had the highest batting average and most RBI of anyone in our section.
“She was hitting over .400. For someone who is a lefty who has speed, she is extremely smart on the bases.”
“It was really nice,” said Rhodes about earning all-section honors. “I still have a torn ACL and I have to wear a brace every game.
“Even though I couldn’t cut certain ways and do certain things, it was really cool that I made DP (designated player) all-section.”
Rhodes complimented Mueller for her postseason awards.
“I love Lillie,” Rhodes said. “She
“She’s such a great athlete and a good softball player. She really deserved it.”
Shortstop Maricella Gonzales batted .432, hit two triples, six doubles, scored 42 runs, knocked in 19 in 95 plate appearances and 81 at-bats during her senior campaign to earn first-team all-section honors.
All-purpose player Daezha Goodloe batted .380, hit one triple, three doubles, scored 20 runs and knocked in 21 in 79 plate appearances in 61 at-bats during her freshman season to earn an all-section section-team nod.
Goodloe also was 9-6 in the circle. The right-handed hurler gave up 79 runs — 51 earned — while giving up 115 hits in 922/3 innings. She struck out 56 and walked 22 with a 3.81 ERA.
Kalani Reehill was 9-7 in the circle during her sophmore season to earn first-team all-section accolades.
The right-handed pitcher gave up 76 runs — 46 earned — while giving up 102 hits in 811/3 innings.
She struck out 69 and walked 18 with a 3.96 ERA.
Reehill said her award was for outfield, not pitcher, because she suffered a broken right index finger, which limited her pitching duties for almost half the season.
Reehill hit .302, hit two homers, one triple, three doubles, scored 18 runs and knocked in 21 in 67 plate appearances in 63 at-bats during her sophomore season, which helped her earn second-team all-secton honors.
“I was really proud of myself,” Reehill said. “Even though I made first team my freshman year, my sophomore year was an accomplishment because I was out so long with my broken finger.
“So, I was really surprised and felt really humbled.”
Reehill also recognized Mueller for her effort.
“She’s just a great team player,” Reehill said. “She’s just a great athlete and we all really expected it. And we’re all really super proud of her because she honestly deserves it.
“She works harder than anyone than I know. And now in college, she works even harder.”