Noblesville's Maddie Moore.
Noblesville's Maddie Moore.
It's a rare thing at the high school level - to name a freshman to a player of the year award. But Carmel softball star Stormy Kotzelnick left us no choice this year. After a truly remarkable statistical season, the Times of Noblesville has named Kotzelnick as the 2017 Hamilton County Player of the Year.

Kotzelnick's numbers were staggering for a player of her experience level. She finished her first high school season as the county leader in a number of offensive categories including: batting average (.600), runs scored (39), hits (45) and home runs (11). She also finished second in RBIs (34) and third in stolen bases (17).

Carmel Head Coach Emily Good often reminds her team that, "the game doesn't know age." This adage is certainly true when it comes to the freshman phenom Kotzelnick.

"Stormy plays well beyond her years," Good said. "Offensively, she has a presence and mental approach unlike any I have seen. Her on-field instinct and off the field drive and commitment to improve is something you don't see often, especially in a freshman."

Good isn't the only one to notice Kotzelnick's rare gifts. Colleges began courting Kotzelnick when she was a 12-year-old seventh grader. At age 13, she made a verbal commitment to play at the University of Washington after she graduates in 2020. She was the first player in the country from her class to declare a college selection.

As far as coaches go, Hamilton Southeastern's Dave Cook stood out this spring. The Times has named Cook as the 2017 Hamilton County Coach of the Year after leading the Royals to an 18-9 mark, sectional and regional championships and an appearance in the Class 4A final four. HSE's season ended on Saturday, one game short of the state final, with a 3-0 loss to Crown Point.

Other Top Players:

Although her numbers were dominant, Kotzelnick still had a lot of tough competition for the county's top honor:

Maddie Moore, Noblesville, Sr. - This Butler commit did it all for the Millers in 2017. She finished the year with a 0.465 batting average, 29 runs scored, 40 hits, 17 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. The senior hasn't struck out since she was a sophomore and had a 38-game hitting streak from her freshman to junior year.

"Maddie Moore is one of the purest softball athletes I have ever coached or seen," Noblesville Head Coach Deke Bullard told The Times. "Her ability to make hard plays look routine and difficult plays look hard is incredible."

Sarah Miller, Guerin Catholic, Sr. - Miller was a leader for the Golden Eagles at both the plate and on the mound this season. The Mt. St. Joseph commit recorded team highs in batting average (.480), hits (36) and home runs (5). Also, she tallied more RBIs than anyone in the county with 35. Miller pitched 100 innings in 2017, winning four games and striking out 129 batters.

Alyssa Chavez, Fishers, Sr. - This Tiger catcher set an offensive standard at the still young Fishers High School during her four years. Chavez set career school records for hits (113), runs (90), doubles (25) and triples (10). Her senior year numbers were excellent as well. She finished with a .438 batting average, 32 hits, 25 RBIs and six home runs. Her defense behind the plate was outstanding as well. She had a 1.000 fielding percentage with no errors on 62 chances. Chavez will play softball at St. Louis University in the fall while pursuing a degree in sports marketing.

Kelsey Powers, Westfield, Jr. - This Shamrock junior has the perfect last name for her playing style. Powers was the definition of a power hitter in 2017. She finished with a .387 batting average, 24 hits, 33 RBIs (third in the county) and 10 home runs (second in the county).

"There were teams throughout the year that pitched around Kelsey in order to limit the damage," Westfield Head Coach Brian Revercomb said. "That's the ultimate sign of respect to a batter in my opinion."

Cassie Vargas, Sheridan, Jr. - Vargas led the Blackhawks this season with 33 hits, 33 RBI's along with an impressive batting average of .446. She also led the team in home runs with six in 21 games.