Black Tornado lands six on SWC first team
North Medford and Roseburg shared the No. 1 ranking in Class 6A baseball throughout the season, so it was only fitting that the Southwest Conference co-champions shared the spotlight in the coaches' recent all-conference voting.
The Black Tornado and Indians each received six first-team selections, including all five pitcher slots on the 19-player list.
Roseburg swept the top honors with the player of the year (junior outfielder Mitch Huff), pitcher of the year (senior Dakota Cavens) and coach of the year (Troy Thompson).
"It's a great recognition for our kids and our program," said Thompson, whose team finished runner-up to McNary for the state championship. "We were very fortunate this year. We had a very good year and it was nice to see the kids rewarded for that because it is a very good conference we're in and there are some very good baseball players in it."
Heading the list for North Medford were junior pitchers Matt Maurer and Bradey Shipley, who were joined by Roseburg's Cavens, Matt Thomson and Brandon Jackson on the first-team list of hurlers. Shipley was 5-1 in conference play with a 3.18 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 33 innings, while Maurer was 3-1 with a 2.47 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 34 innings.
"That's an honor considering our league and the great pitchers Roseburg has," North Medford coach Brett Wolfe said of the first-team nods for Maurer and Shipley. "And really this is Bradey's first year pitching for us, so for him to make strides and be able to pitch the way he did at this level is outstanding."
Also earning first-team honors for the Black Tornado were Chris Bradshaw (senior second baseman), Colin Sowers (junior catcher), Cody James (junior first baseman) and Hayden Wolfe (senior center fielder).
South Medford senior shortstop Bo Walker also earned first-team recognition, along with Grants Pass juniors Brandon Drury (infield) and Brock Dean (outfield).
Bradshaw hit an eye-popping .520 in conference play for North one season after largely playing a reserve role for the Tornado as a backup infielder. He drove in 14 runs in league play and scored 21 times to go with an .800 slugging percentage.
"He just blossomed this year," said coach Wolfe. "In my opinion he was our most valuable player. I couldn't be more ecstatic to have Chris elected to that first team, especially as a role model for others to see that you just don't give up. If you persevere, good things happen. He's a prime example of that."
James hit .394 in league play with 19 runs, 11 RBIs and 20 walks compared to only two strikeouts, while Sowers hit .375 with a team-high 16 RBIs against SWC foes. Sowers was also a key figure defensively, calling the pitches for North and continually keeping teams honest on the basepaths.
Hayden Wolfe provided another key defensive element for the Black Tornado, capping his second straight season without an error while also hitting .294 with 18 runs scored in the leadoff spot. Wolfe also served as North's No. 3 pitcher, sporting a 4-0 record and 3.25 ERA in his first season on the mound for the Tornado.
"All those awards are typical of someone that puts the work in along the way and combines that with natural athletic ability," coach Wolfe said of the first-team acclaim.
Walker's senior season included an 18-game hitting streak and a team-best .389 batting average in SWC play. His nine RBIs also tied for top honors for the Panthers in league.
"In all my years of coaching I've been around a lot of kids who really put in the time and effort and Bo certainly ranks near the top," said South Medford coach Tom Britton. "He's one of those blue-collar guys. He came prepared to play every day, not just for games but in practice, too. He was just a model of consistency and the catalyst of our team."
P — Dakota Cavens, Roseburg Sr.
P — Matt Thomson, Roseburg Sr.
P — Bradey Shipley, North Medford Jr.
P — Matt Maurer, North Medford Jr.
P — Brandon Jackson, Roseburg Jr.
C — Wyatt Davis, Sheldon Sr.
C — Colin Sowers, North Medford Jr.
IF — Chris Bradshaw, North Medford Sr.
IF — Brandon Drury, Grants Pass Jr.
IF — John Farrington, Roseburg Jr.
IF — Bo Walker, South Medford Sr.
1B — Cody James, North Medford Jr.
1B — Zack Manley, Sheldon Sr.
OF — Mitch Huff, Roseburg Jr.
OF — Hayden Wolfe, North Medford Sr.
OF — Brock Dean, Grants Pass Jr.
OF — Ben Higgins, Sheldon Sr.
OF — Josh Davis, Roseburg Sr.
UT — Mark Fauria, Sheldon Sr.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Mitch Huff, Roseburg.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR — Dakota Cavens, Roseburg.
COACH OF THE YEAR — Troy Thompson, Roseburg.
P — Zach Kayser, Sheldon Jr.
P — Brad Hudson, South Eugene Sr.
P — Max Britton, South Medford Sr.
C — Vince Ampi, Roseburg Jr.
IF — Garret Horning, Sheldon Jr.
IF — Ryan Miller, Grants Pass Sr.
IF — Derek Priestley, Roseburg Jr.
IF — Mark Cokenour, North Medford Sr.
1B — Isaac Rolie, South Medford Sr.
OF — Cameron Newell, Roseburg Jr.
OF — Josh Havird, South Medford So.
OF — Gus Craig, South Eugene So.
OF — Jordan Lundgren, South Medford Sr.
OF — Ryan Land, Sheldon Fr.
UT — Tyler Spencer, Grants Pass Jr.
Peter Kingman, Sr., P, South Eugene; Chris Becker, Sr., IF, South Eugene; Jake Neel, Sr., IF, South Eugene; Tyler Bullock, Sr., IF, Roseburg.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org