By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
Amber Peters wasn't the most outspoken player. She didn't talk trash.
She didn't yell at her teammates to get them in gear. And she never really liked to talk about her own accomplishments.
But, for all the words Peters didn't say this season, she certainly made a lot of noise.
Each time Peters swung the bat, people paid attention.
If they didn't, more often than not, they missed something great.
Forget a triple crown, Belton's senior shortstop went for the quadruple crown leading the area in batting average (.514), home runs (9), RBI (44) and runs (47) and was second in stolen bases (26), hits (56).
"She was responsible for more than a third of the runs we scored," said Belton coach Matt Balckburn. "(Defensively) you could put her anywhere ... She is an athlete."
For her outright dominance of opposing pitchers and for helping Belton reach the Region II-5A semifinals for the first time in school history, Peters is the Daily Herald's All-Area softball MVP.
"I am proud of how far we came and what we accomplished," Peters said. "I couldn't have asked for better teammates and better coaches. Everyone was behind each other the whole way through (the season.)"
Peters' season is even more impressive considering she missed the majority of her junior season to a shoulder injury.
"I had to put it behind me because if I kept dwelling on it I would have gotten nowhere," Peters said. "I tried to look forward and start a new path and it worked I guess."
It worked so well, few pitcher even wanted to face Peters at the plate. The Temple College signee walked an astounding 26 times (to also lead the area) and had a .606 on-base percentage.
Even UCLA commit Paige McDuffee, who led The Woodlands to the state championship pitched around Peters, when the two teams squared off in the region semifinals.
With the game on the line in the seventh inning, McDuffee chose to walk Peters to get to Ashley Bucher, even though Bucher already had two-RBI singles in the last two days.
"I liked it, but I would rather be pitched to, than pitched around," Peters said. "I was really hoping she would pitch to me, so I could get a hit and score a run, but getting on base helps the team too."
That help led Belton to its most successful season ever, winning 28 games before its season came to an end against the nations's top ranked team, The Woodlands.
"(Peters) is going to tough to replace here," Blackburn said. "I think she has set the bar for a player in our program. You want to be excellent. You have to be .514, nine bombs and 47 driven in ... I don't know anyone we played that had someone better than her."
Newcomer of the Year - Sheyenne Hicks, Salado
Just a freshman, Hicks left her mark on District 25-3A and was named the district's Newcomer of the Year as well.
She hit .494, drove in 28 runs and hit eight doubles, putting Salado on the doorsteps of the playoffs.
Hicks tripled, doubled twice and had 4 RBI in an upset over Burnet, and the a game-winning double against playoff-bound Lampasas three days later.
Coach of the Year - Rusty Erwin, Lampasas
The first-year coach took over a Lady Badger squad that was talented and playoff-tested, but went into the season without its ace pitcher.
Erwin jumbled the lineup numerous times and tried whatever he could to get the pieces to fall into place.
Once they did, the Lady Badgers returned to the postseason and rolled all the way to the Region IV-3A semifinals.
Catcher: Camryn Bintz, Salado - Also played third base, hitting .378 for the Lady Eagles to go with two homers, 21 RBI and 27 runs scored.
First Base: Leslie James, Killeen - The 8-4A first-team pick had the area's fourth-highest batting average (.473) and a .635 slugging percentage.
Second Base: Marisa Bogart, Lampasas - The St. Edward's signee had 44 RBI, tied for the most in the area, to go with 16 doubles.
Third Base: Justine Hartwell, Copperas Cove - The 12-5A first-team selection hit .358 and had a .523 on-base percentage in district play.
Shortstop: Hadley Brown, Lampasas - Hit .403 (52 total hits) with eight doubles, four homers. The 25-3A first-team pick drove in 38 runs.
Left Field: Billi Farr, Belton - A 12-5A first-team pick, Farr hit .385 (25 hits) to go with six extra-base hits and a .459 on-base percentage.
Center Field: Tealey Farquhar, Lampasas - The 25-3A Offensive MVP led the area in hits (64) and triples (eight), and scored 43 runs.
Right Field: Callyn Smith, Lampasas -A mid-season substitution, Smith's powerful swing resulted in seven home runs and 26 RBI.
Designated Player: Alyson Bishoff, Belton - The 12-5A first-team selection hit .455 to go with 26 runs scored and a .511 on-base percentage.
Pitcher: Allison Boston, Belton - Named the 12-5A MVP, Boston finished 24-7 with a 1.57 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 195 2/3 innings pitched.
C – Ashley Bucher, Belton
1B – Madison Morris, Lampasas
2B - Kirsten Whiteside, Belton
3B – Riley Latham, Gatesville
SS – Ashlyn Osborne, Harker Heights
LF – Paige Chambers, Gatesville
CF – Megan Chambers, Gatesville
RF – Karlye Stapleton, Shoemaker
DH – Irene Espinoza, Copperas Cove
P – Kady Crow, Lampasas
Angel Verdejo contributed to this report.