Fantastic Four repeat as All-Staters – Billau, Keller, Nelson, VanBrandt

Division 4 runner-up Whiteford landed four spots on the First Team All-State softball list, according to the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association.

Aly VanBrandt, Unity Nelson, Berlynn Keller and Ambrelle Billau all repeated as first team All-State selections after leading the Bobcats to 40 wins, and TCC, District and Regional championships. The Bobcats fell in the state championship game, 4-1, to three-time defending state champ Unionville-Sebewaing.

The Bobcats set a host of school individual and team records along the way.

VanBrandt made the team as a shortstop. She broke her own single season record with 73 runs scored while batting a school-record .678. She had a .711 on-base percentage and struck out just once in 135 plate appearances. Her season included 13 doubles, eight triples, two home runs and 44 RBI. She went 2-for-4 in the state finals and hit safely in 13 of 19 at-bats at the rugged Michigan Challenge.

“She works hard every day and wants to improve,” Whiteford head coach Matt VanBrandt said. “She’s a great leader that does everything she can to help her team compete.”

Nelson gave up just eight earned runs all season, going 22-4 with 270 strikeouts in 133 innings pitched.

“She’s a fierce competitor that hates to lose,” VanBrandt said. “She’s one of the hardest workers on the team and an excellent leader as a sophomore.”

Nelson also batted .437.

Keller made the team as a second baseman but was just as effective as a pitcher. She went 17-0 in the circle. She also batted .439 with 12 doubles, five home runs and two triples. She will play at Lourdes University next season.

“She’s a quiet leader on the team, very versatile,” VanBrandt said.

Billau is a third baseman who had a terrific season at the plate, batting .491 with 11 doubles, nine triples and two home runs. She tied for the team lead with 55 RBI and scored 65 runs. She was second in the batting order.

“Played a solid third base for two years and did a great job in the two-spot for us,” VanBrandt said.

Keller and Billau are both seniors and have already been inducted into the Whiteford Athletic Hall of Fame.

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