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Westrick, Carter earn all-MWL honors

In Midwestern League baseball, there may not have been a better story this season than that of the Ashland Grizzlies.

After winning only one game last year, the Nick Hall-led Grizzlies rose to third place in the challenging MWL this season and finished with a 16-10 overall record.

For their efforts, the Grizzlies landed two players on the all-MWL first team in junior pitcher Eli Westrick and sophomore outfielder Nathan Carter, it was announced this week after voting by the league’s coaches.

Westrick finished 9-1 with one save and a 1.87 ERA. In 632/3 innings, Westrick struck out 56. He also batted .272 with 24 runs and nine RBIs.

Carter hit .269 with 15 runs and 17 RBIs to share team-high honors with Nick Buccino and Rowan Amann.

Amann, Buccino and designated hitter Traber Burns were second-team picks.

Ashland was eliminated in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs last week.

Eagle Point also placed two players on the MWL baseball first team in junior infielder Kolbi Blevins and sophomore outfielder Darin Marsh.

Blevins led the Eagles with a .378 batting average, striking out only three times during the entire season. Blevins finished with 17 runs and 18 RBIs, totaling two home runs, two triples and eight doubles.

Marsh was a close second to his teammate with a .377 batting average, notching 15 runs and 12 RBIs with seven doubles and a .476 on-base percentage.

Thurston senior standout Decker Stedman was named MWL baseball player of the year, while Churchill senior Beau Burnett was MWL pitcher of the year and Dennis Minium of Thurston earned coach of the year honors.

In softball, Ashland freshman infielder Gabby Heiken earned second-team all-MWL honors after hitting a team-leading .509 and tying for the team lead with 3 home runs with Ella Hart, an honorable mention pick.

The Grizzlies, in their first season back on the varsity level since 2016, finished 8-14 overall and 4-10 in the MWL.

Eagle Point junior Riley Shopp, a steady influence for the Eagles since taking the field as a freshman, was recognized for her all-around efforts by being named the MWL softball player of the year.

For her efforts in guiding Crater to an undefeated league championship, junior Hannah Joseph was named the MWL pitcher of the year after seeing a tremendous growth in productivity inside the circle from a year ago.

The left-handed hitting Shopp batted an eye-popping .606 this past season with 38 runs and 53 RBIs for Eagle Point, which finished runner-up to Crater. Shopp totaled 13 home runs with 17 doubles, one triple and only three strikeouts on the season.

For good measure, Shopp also went 14-9 with a 3.06 ERA inside the circle for the Eagles with 119 strikeouts in 1281/3 innings.

Pitching as the lead arm in a three-player rotation at Crater, the right-handed Joseph posted a 10-1 record and a 2.13 ERA. In 721/3 innings, she stuck out 69.

Joseph was also one of Crater’s top hitters, sporting a .380 average to go with 28 runs and 26 RBIs with three home runs and seven doubles.

The Comets placed three players on the all-MWL first team, with junior second baseman Presley Robison and senior center fielder Kaila Lee joining Joseph.

Crater’s Chris Arnold was named MWL softball coach of the year after leading the Comets to the Class 5A state quarterfinals and a 22-6 overall record.

Robison boasted a .506 batting average in the leadoff spot with 42 runs, 14 RBIs and 12 stolen bases, while Lee batted .366 from the No. 2 spot with 37 runs and 19 RBIs.

Also earning first-team recognition for Eagle Point were junior Areona Conte and sophomore Bailee Worrell. Conte batted .413 with 19 runs and 22 RBIs, while Worrell hit .404 with 13 runs and 18 RBIs.

ALL-MWL BASEBALL

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Decker Stedman, Sr., Thurston.

PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Beau Burnett, Sr., Churchill.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Dennis Minium, Thurston.

First Team

PITCHER: Beau Burnett, Sr., Churchill; Eli Westrick, Jr., Ashland; Kevin Pierson, Jr., Willamette.

CATCHER: Isaiah Burke, So., Thurston.

FIRST BASE: Decker Stedman, Sr., Thurston.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Richard Estrella, Sr., Churchill.

INFIELD: Jayden Frank, Sr., North Bend; Jake Riley, Jr., Thurston; Kolbi Blevins, Jr., Eagle Point.

OUTFIELD: Jake Simmons, Sr., North Bend; Josh Moser, Sr., Thurston; Nate Carter, So., Ashland; Darin Marsh, So., Eagle Point.

UTILITY: Carson Lydon, So., Churchill; Cade Crist, Jr., Thurston.

Second Team

PITCHER: Blake Hollingsworth, Sr., Crater; Mane Freeman, Sr., North Bend; Jason Proudfit, So., North Eugene.

CATCHER: Connor Jones, Sr., Churchill.

FIRST BASE: Peyton Bracy, Sr., Willamette.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Traber Burns, Sr., Ashland.

INFIELD: Trever Davis, Jr., Crater; Nick Buccino, Jr., Ashland; CJ Townsend, Sr., Churchill.

OUTFIELD: Prestin White, Sr., Churchill; Aiden Wallace, Jr., North Eugene; Payton Anhorn, So., Crater.

UTILITY: Rowan Amann, Jr., Ashland.

Honorable Mention

CATCHER: Ike Gilliland, Sr., Crater.

FIRST BASE: Evan McLennan, Sr., Ashland.

INFIELD: Cameron Parks, Jr., North Eugene; Alex Deller, Jr., Thurston; Jack Weiskind, Sr., Churchill.

OUTFIELD: Nate Duke, Jr., North Eugene; Dawson Muggy, So., Thurston; Issac MacCallister, Sr., Springfield.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Ty Kistner, Sr., Thurston.

ALL-MWL SOFTBALL

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Riley Shopp, Jr., Eagle Point.

PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Hannah Joseph, Jr., Crater.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Chris Arnold, Crater.

First Team

PITCHER: Hannah Joseph, Jr., Crater; Harmony Stevens, Sr., Thurston.

CATCHER: Samatha Boring, Sr., Thurston; Maddie Finnegan, Jr., North Bend.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Olivia Jegtvig, Jr., Thurston.

INFIELD: Presley Robison, Jr., Crater; Hope Burke, So., Thurston; Bailee Worrell, So., Eagle Point; Kait Randle, Jr., North Bend; Jaeleen Coddington, Sr., Churchill.

OUTFIELD: Kaila Lee, Sr., Crater; Savana Decker, Jr., Thurston; McKenzie Westphal, So., Churchill; Areona Conte, Jr., Eagle Point.

UTILITY: Riley Shopp, Jr., Eagle Point.

Second Team

PITCHER: Megan Wagner, Sr., Crater; Jamie Cappello, Jr., Crater; Skylor Stout, Jr., Churchill.

CATCHER: Jessica Sanderson, Sr., Crater; Jasmine Ortega, Sr., Willamette.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Emilee Nielsen, Fr., Eagle Point.

INFIELD: Kira Stone, Sr., Churchill; Gabby Heiken, Fr., Ashland; Leticia Dunsmore, Jr., Willamette; Jordan Peterson, Sr., Crater; Allyson Keefauver, Sr., Thurston.

OUTFIELD: Cailee Hallett, So., Thurston; Hannah Robison, Sr., North Bend; Trinity Collins, Jr., Willamette; Kaci Carder, Sr., Crater.

UTILITY: Ashlyn Bitikofer, So., Willamette.

Honorable Mention

CATCHER: Coleen Thompson, Jr., Eagle Point; Kallin Hakes, Jr., Ashland.

INFIELD: Leila Dopp, Jr., Thurston; Zoie Schaefer, So., Churchill; Marissa Eilenberger, Sr., Crater; Ashley Oppelt, Sr., Eagle Point; Ella Hart, Jr., Ashland; Gwen Hogewoning, Jr., North Bend.

OUTFIELD: Alexus Misick-Besio, Jr., Churchill; Keira Young, So., North Bend; Chloe Hurst, Sr., Eagle Point; Emmalee Stevens, Sr., Eagle Point; Cadence Aguilar, Fr., Springfield.

UTILITY: Brooklyn Rogers, Jr., North Eugene.

Ashland High RHP Eli Westrick pitching in relief against South Medford High at North Mountain Park on Thursday.(PHOTO BY: LARRY STAUTH JR)