Faribault Falcons pitcher McKayla Armbruster was named the Play Ball! 2019 Minnesota Ms. Softball today during a banquet at Target Field in Minneapolis.  The banquet was hosted by Minnesota Minute Men Ltd.  Armbruster was one of seven finalists for the award and the only player from outside the metro area.

Twin Cities Media Personality Mike Max was the Master of Ceremonies and told McKayla she looked stunned when he announced her name.  Armbruster said the list of finalists, "All had terrific careers and were deserving of it.  It's appreciated."  The recent Faribault Falcons graduate led the state in strikeouts her junior and senior seasons. The Faribault Falcons were State Champions last season but did not return to the tournament this year.

Armbruster's career statistics are impressive offensively and pitching.  Let's start with the pitching, where she has every career record:  98 games pitched, started 90 games, 81 complete games, 63 wins, 35 shutouts, 616 and 2/3 innings pitched.  Career ERA 1.31 with 909 strikeouts, 3 perfect games, 6 no hitters.  She is in the state record book for career strikeouts at #7, third on the list since they moved the pitching rubber from 40 feet to 43 feet in 2010.

McKayla has some offensive statistics that are impressive too.  A career .365 hitter with a record 160 hits.  Her 87 RBI and 26 doubles are also career Faribault softball records.  She had a school record 425 at bats with record sacrifices (flies and bunts) 32.  Career record for innings played 819 (played varsity from 7th grade forward), fielding percentage .965 (9 errors in 6 years, 3 last three seasons).  116 career assists.

Among the finalists for the award was the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year Ava Dueck who topped the metro in home runs and was a good enough pitcher to lead her Maple Grove team to their first title earlier this month in the Class AAAA State Tournament.

Other finalists included:  Claire Bakkestuen of Forest Lake, Holly Blaska of Champlin Park, Torri Chute of Stillwater, Olivia Hazelbaker of Farmington and Bryanna Olson of Park.

The Bob Mertz Award winner for the 2019 Softball Coach of the year was Terry Sadler of Warroad.

Former Minnesota Twins player Justin Morneau was the keynote speaker.  Morneau told the finalists they could be leaders as freshmen on their college teams saying even though he was a couple years older than Joe Mauer he looked up to the Minnesota native because he worked hard and was clearly focused.