SANTA FE – Having an older sister who helped the school’s softball team win a state championship is unquestionably a tough act to follow.

Although she didn’t complete that ultimate task this year, Santa Fe pitcher Shelbi Sunseri — the The Daily News’ Player of the Year — is certainly off to a promising start.

Plus, as just a freshman, Sunseri will get three more cracks at bringing a state title home to Santa Fe, just like big sister, Ciara.

“Definitely winning state is a goal of mine,” Shelbi said.

While the two sisters share the same No. 17 jersey, they contributed to the Lady Indians in vastly different ways.

Ciara was a big-hitting first baseman, who hit a tiebreaking three-run double in the 2011 state championship game.

Shelbi has become Santa Fe’s ace pitcher, and in her freshman season dazzled from inside the circle as she compiled a 21-7 record in 30 appearances. She had an ERA of just 1.41 with 269 strikeouts.

Shelbi was no slouch inside the batter’s box, either, with the team’s fourth-best batting average at .336. She led the Lady Indians in RBIs with 25 and tied for the team lead with three home runs.

The unwavering support of her teammates, Shelbi said, played a major role in giving her the confidence to step up as a leader in her first year of high school softball.

“Having the team behind me and knowing they had confidence in me and knowing that whatever happened, they had my back,” she said.

Shelbi said she also drew strength from her faith in a higher power. Before the first pitch of every inning, she would say her favorite Bible verse — Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” — as she leaned over to draw a cross in the sand inside her pitching circle.

“It just reminds me that I can do all things through God, no matter what situation I was in,” she said.

Lady Indians head coach Trish Leidy said that, in addition to her physical gifts as a pitcher, Shelbi leads the team by showing great poise as she goes to work inside the circle.

“She being on the mound and showing confidence out there is big,” Leidy said. “She has to trust her teammates as much as her teammates have to trust her. She shows great confidence out there, and her teammates behind her show great confidence in her, as well.”

After ending the season as District 24-4A champions, the Lady Indians won playoff series against Lamar Consolidated, Tomball Memorial and then-No. 5 state-ranked Angleton before having their season ended by eventual state semifinalists — and, at the time, the undefeated state’s No. 1-ranked 4A team — Barbers Hill in the regional semifinals.

Shelbi pitched every inning of all eight of Santa Fe’s playoff games. She played in all 35 games for the Lady Indians and pitched in all but five of them during their 25-10 campaign.

All-County Softball

Player of the Year: Shelbi Sunseri, freshman, Santa Fe

Offensive Player of the Year: Amber Pufal, senior, Clear Falls

Defensive Player of the Year: Madison Wadyka, senior, Clear Creek

Coach of the Year: Trish Leidy, Santa Fe

First Team

P: Shelbi Sunseri, freshman, Santa Fe

C: Haley Chavez, sophomore, Santa Fe

1B: Tori Hatten, junior, Clear Falls

2B: Madison Wadyka, senior, Clear Creek

3B: Amber Pufal, senior, Clear Falls

SS: Taylor Troutt, senior, Clear Falls

OF: Kaylee Barnes, senior Friendswood

OF: Riley Bullen, senior, Clear Creek

OF: Madison Ulmer, senior, Clear Falls

DP: Kayla Tisdale, freshman, Santa Fe

Second Team

P: Courtney Weber, sophomore, Friendswood

C: Dani Elder, freshman, Clear Springs

1B: Brittany Woods, senior, Friendswood

2B: Sidney Gomez, senior, Texas City

3B: Mycahla Howard, junior, Santa Fe

SS: Angelica Gonzalez, senior, Dickinson

OF: Rachel Bobo, senior, Clear Falls

OF: Madison Michna, senior, Clear Falls

OF: Erin Palmer, senior, Santa Fe

DP: Katy Sawyer, junior, Clear Creek

Honorable mention

P: Cali Dolfi, freshman, Ball High

C: Allie Rich, freshman, Clear Falls

1B: McKenna Zinke, sophomore, Clear Springs

2B: Courtney Clark, sophomore, Santa Fe

SS: Doris Smith, sophomore, Ball High

3B: Treslyn Ortiz, sophomore, Texas City

OF: Madison Demers, freshman, Clear Falls

OF: Kayla Fielder, freshman, Clear Springs

OF: Alicia Owens, senior, Santa Fe

DP: Kaitlyn Pace, sophomore, Clear Springs

All-District teams

District 24-5A

MVP: Whitney Walton, Brazoswood

Newcomer of the Year: Dani Elder, Clear Springs

Coach of the Year: Laura Oltman, Brazoswood

First Team

P: Madison Philips, Brazoswood

C: Allie Rich, Clear Falls

1B: Tori Hatten, Clear Falls

2B: Madison Wadyka, Clear Creek

3B: Amber Pufal, Clear Falls

SS: Taylor Troutt, Clear Falls

OF: Kelby Lanier, Brazoswood; Gennel Ortiz, Brazoswood; Madison Ulmer, Clear Falls; Madison Michna, Clear Falls; Riley Bullen, Clear Creek

Utility: Rachel Bobo, Clear Falls

DH: Katy Sawyer, Clear Creek; Kaitlyn Pace, Clear Springs

At large: Sarah DeCarolis, Brazoswood; Alex Held, Clear Lake

Second Team

P: Kennedi Fisher, Brazoswood

C: Kalyn Ramber, Clear Creek

1B: McKenna Zinke, Clear Springs

2B: Payton Vanderford, Clear Lake; Jaclyn Molenaar, Clear Brook

3B: Brittney Wingate, Clear Creek

SS: Angelica Gonzales, Dickinson

OF: Monica Asuncion, Clear Brook; Kayla Fielder, Clear Springs; Maddison Demers, Clear Falls; Vanessa Gonzalez, Clear Creek

Utility: Kimber Cortemelia, Brazoswood

DH: Kaitlyn Tawater, Clear Lake

At large: Laura Napoli, Clear Brook; Bethany Partlow, Brazoswood

Honorable mention

Kristan Deitz, Dickinson

Destiny Melendez, Dickinson

Misty Muniz, Clear Falls

Brooke Wilhite, Clear Falls

Ayanna Meyers, Clear Lake

Maddie Wolken, Clear Lake

Allie Gier, Brazoswood

Alissa Chavez, Clear Brook

Carlie Cumpton, Clear Springs

Andrea Hern, Clear Springs

Brittany Crowley, Clear Creek

Kaitlyn Bertot, Clear Creek

District 24-4A

MVP: Shelbi Sunseri, Santa Fe

Newcomer of the Year: Cali Dolfi, Ball High

Offensive Player of the Year: Rylee Rodriguez, Dawson

Defensive Player of the year: Jill Guse, Dawson

Utility Player of the Year: Heaven Benavidez, Dawson

Coach of the Year: Trish Leidy, Santa Fe

First Team

P: Kelsey Stewart, Goose Creek Memorial; Courtney Weber, Friendswood

C: Haley Chavez, Santa Fe; Ashley Langston, Dawson

Infield: Sierra Miller, Baytown Lee; Erin Pequeno, Goose Creek Memorial; Brittany Woods, Friendswood; Sidney Gomez, Texas City; Treslyn Ortiz, Texas City; Mycahla Howard, Santa Fe

OF: Erin Palmer, Santa Fe; Kaylee Barnes, Friendswood; Jami Garcia, Goose Greek Memorial; Kursten Jaime, Baytown Lee; Niki Turner, Dawson

DP: Kayla Tisdale, Santa Fe

Second Team

P: Keely Thompson, Texas City; Megan Stone, Dawson

C: Doris Smith, Ball High; Breyn Pulcher, Goose Creek Memorial

Infield: Courtney Clark, Santa Fe; Angela Fancett, Friendswood; Rose Sullivan, Dawson; Kjirstyn Murphy, Goose Creek Memorial; Baylee Malone, Dawson

OF: Shelbi Doherty, Santa Fe; Hallie Phillips, Santa Fe; Olivia Jackson, Friendswood; Taylor Stricklin, Goose Creek Memorial; Kyrie Muehe, Ball High

Alicia Owens, Santa Fe

Honorable mention

Rebecca Hernandez, Baytown Lee

Ashlen Cantu, Baytown Lee

Savannah Hartman, Friendswood

Madison Hughes, Friendswood

Angela Scott, Ball High

Rosa Hernandez, Ball High

Maddie Herrera, Goose Creek Memorial

Lacey Smith, Santa Fe

Cayla Bjerke, Texas City

Miranda Sheridan, Texas City

Janet Cuellar, Galena Park

Alexis Torres, Galena Park

Alexis Valdez, Galena Park

Contact Sports Editor James LaCombe at 409-683-5242 or

(2) comments

Robert Buckner

This is a great article. Congratulations Miss Sunseri!


A&M needs to get that girl before The Longhorns can zero in on her! That's all I know!

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