Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
North Medford pitcher Maryssa Becker has been named the Oregon Gatorade softball player of the year, adding to a long list of highlights for the junior standout this spring.
Becker, who went 26-0 this season for the Class 6A state champion Black Tornado, was given the award for her athletic and academic success. The honor also recognizes exemplary character.
She is now a finalist for the national softball player of the year award, which will be announced in June.
The Louisville-bound Becker finished the season with a 0.43 ERA and 313 strikeouts in 178 innings for North (29-1), which beat South Salem 3-0 in the state title game on June 2. In the championship contest, she fanned 15 and only allowed fours hits with no walks.
This spring, she recorded three no-hitters.
"As a coach, you're only as good as the players around you," North Medford head coach Mike Mayben said. "(Becker) helped make the coaching staff better and the kids around her better. She is a very poised, confident kid and you just couldn't have a better teammate."
At the plate, the two-time Southern Oregon Hybrid pitcher of the year batted .475 with seven home runs, 15 doubles, 47 RBIs and a .832 slugging percentage.
"Maryssa Becker has had a great season," South Medford head coach Miranda Gillaspie-Smith said. "Not only does she compete on the mound, but she holds her own at the plate. Not very often do you see a player with that type of power on both sides of the game."
In the classroom, Becker maintained a 3.94 GPA, was a member of the National Junior Honor Society and volunteered locally as an elementary school mentor and youth softball instructor.
"When we sent out for the Gatorade (award), Maryssa had to ask for letters of recommendation," Mayben explained. "Within three hours, six people sent in a letter of recommendation form. That says a lot about her character.
"She takes a pretty heavy course load and a lot of honors classes and college prep classes. She's always challenging herself."
The Gatorade player of the year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states for every major sport. Well-known athletes who have received state Gatorade awards include Derek Jeter, Mark Sanchez, Candace Parker and Abby Wambach.
Glencoe's Alyssa Gillespie won the Oregon softball award last spring.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org