Kori Wancheck nearly won the Herald’s All-Area Softball Player of the Year award in 2013 after a dominant season for the Northwestern Trojans.
With an improved team behind her, Wancheck was a no-brainer for the award this year. The USC Upstate commitment threw an early-season no-hitter against South Pointe, and struck out 10-plus batters in 15 of her team’s 23 games, including the season’s first 13 in a row. In all, Wancheck, an All-State junior, sent 248 batters moping their way back to consoling teammates, struck out.
Lancaster players are among the many teams that can vouch for the feeling. Wancheck fanned a combined 23 batters in a pair of wins over the Bruins.
“My gosh, we couldn’t even get a bat on it,” said Lancaster coach Kim Perry. “She’s what a coach would look for – great attitude, great leadership ability.”
Northwestern softball coach Bryan Smith is the 2014 All-Area Coach of the Year after guiding his Trojans to a 20-3 record and the first region softball championship in school history. He credited Wancheck’s surge in pitching production to a honing of her killer instinct in the pitching circle.
“Just putting people away when she had them on the ropes, which is something she had struggled with in the past.” Smith said Wancheck really began to find “that maturity to finish off a hitter when you’ve got them where you want them.”
The Trojans’ hurler wasn’t just a one-trick show-horse either. Wancheck hit .388 for the Trojans, bashing four home runs and knocking in 22 runs, and she set the tone for her team verbally and performance-wise, exactly what a coach wants to see from their best player.
“Kori just lives, eats and breathes softball,” said Smith. “She’s a leader for the team by her work ethic, by her words, she encourages them, and then she leads them by being one of the best players in the state.”
Smith’s team graduates just two players and Wancheck isn’t one of them; the Trojans return two All-Region sophomores, Daina Chase and Rachel Marion, who made All-State, and an All-Region freshman, Wancheck’s younger sister Cassie. Kori Wancheck’s numbers jumped from her sophomore to junior seasons, and unfortunately for local softball teams, they’ll probably surge again next spring.
“That is great news for us, and hopefully bad news for everyone else,” said Smith.
Carolyn Thompson, Nation Ford; Daina Chase, Northwestern; Brooke Love, Lewisville; Kayla Price, Indian Land; Daniella Wilson, Indian Land; Evan Sherer, South Pointe; Elizabeth Gaston, Lancaster; Taylor Rayborn, Fort Mill; Danielle Gibson, Fort Mill; Missy Mavrogian, Fort Mill; Brooke Andrews, York; Rachel Petty, York.