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North Medford places four on 4A all-state squad

File photoAnderson, Adams, Bruce and Coe earn first-team honors for Tornado

North Medford's Larry Binney has traditionally called the pitches fromthe dugout in his long tenure as Black Tornado softball coach. That is untilcatcher Missy Coe entered the program three years ago.

With the talented junior catcher behind the plate, Binney has concernedhimself with other strategies the past three seasons.

Other coaches statewide also recognized Coe's unique abilities as shewas one of four Black Tornado players selected to the Class 4A all-statefirst team.

North Medford and Beaverton, which tied for the 4A state softball championshipafter a scoreless 13-inning battle June 2 that was called because of darkness,got players from both teams their share of individual recognition on theall-state squad.

For the Southern Oregon Conference Black Tornado (26-4-1), senior thirdbaseman Shelley Bruce and sophomore designated hitter Stephanie Adams wererepeat choices on the all-state team from a year ago. Coe was named an all-staterfor the second time in three years, while junior pitcher Taysha Andersonmoved up from a 1996 second-team choice.

All four are deserving of that honor, said 17-year NorthMedford coach Binney. Yet our team success was not isolated to thoseplayers. We had a lot of strength throughout our lineup and our bench.

Senior pitcher Stephanie Falk of Beaverton and Beavers' coach DennisKeller received player of the year and coach of the year honors.

Crater senior center fielder Molly Schroeder repeated on the first team,while teammate Lindsie Luchau was an honorable mention infield pick.

Becky Gregory, a junior outfielder from Eagle Point, received second-teamhonors.

Coe and Bruce were the most dangerous hitters in the potent Black Tornadobatting order. They were also the team's co-most valuable defensive players.

Not only did Coe lead the team in five offensive categories, the savvyjunior proved just as valuable behind the plate.

Missy did an excellent job calling pitches for Taysha and Tracy(Bealer), said Binney. She's the only one I've let do that.She's a real student of the game. I'm confident in her ability to make theright choices.

She threw out numerous runners and does an incredible job blockingballs in the dirt, added Binney. She takes a lot of pride inthat. She's probably the best defensive catcher in the Northwest.

Coe was the team leader in batting average (.428), runs (35), hits (45),RBIs (37) and triples (7).

Coe got to see a lot of pitches because she hit in front of Shelley(Bruce) and Stephanie (Adams), so people couldn't pitch around her much,said Binney. Missy is capable of hitting the long ball, but she canalso drag bunt or run-and-slap from the left side.

Bruce has been a full-time starter for three years and part of her freshmanseason. The Black Tornado co-captain batted .404 in SOC games with a team-higheight doubles.

Shelley has been a real key to our success the last three years,said Binney. She has an excellent work ethic and sets a good examplein that respect.

Adams didn't see much time in the field as Bruce's backup, but the sophomoreslugger was an impact player at the plate. Of her 35 hits, 14 went for extrabases. Adams led the team with a .652 slugging percentage that includeda team-high four home runs.

Stephanie has incredible power, said Binney. She'sgot a real compact swing and lots of untapped potential.

Anderson had four shutouts in the Black Tornado's five playoff games.The formidable right-hander raised the level of her pitching in the postseason.

Taysha really had something to prove to the rest of the state thatshe deserved to be in that elite company, said Binney. She wasvery determined, more so than I've ever seen in her entire career.

Crater's Schroeder was possibly the best outfielder in the state, garneringmore votes than any other outfielder. She is a complete player with excellentdefensive skills to accompany offensive talents that rely on speed.

Binney describes Schroeder as a Division I caliber player.

Catcher Missy Coe and three other North Medford players were named to the all-state team.