Comets dominate all-SSC honors
The first of many awards expected to be heaped on the three-time state champions at Crater were doled out recently, with the Comets earning six first-team honors in the all-Southern Sky Conference voting.
Senior Brittany Reeves highlighted the list as the conference's pitcher of the year after posting a 10-1 record in league play to help lead Crater to the SSC crown. The right-hander struck out 78 in 73 innings and managed a 1.44 ERA in league play.
Reeves combined that pitching dominance with equally effective numbers at the plate. Hitting out of the No. 4 hole, she boasted a .750 slugging percentage against SSC foes and hit .329 overall with a team-high three home runs.
"Brittany continued to develop as a pitcher and a player this year," said Crater coach Chris Arnold, who shared SSC coach-of-the-year honors with Mazama's Todd Nickerson. "It would've been really easy to rest this year but she wanted to continue to improve and take her game to the next level."
Reeves was joined by battery-mate Sarah Haga on the first team. The sophomore catcher hit .368 in conference and allowed only three stolen bases in SSC play. She scored 14 of her 21 runs and had eight of her 17 RBIs against league foes.
"She had great improvement behind the plate," said Arnold. "Sarah Haga already is a great defensive catcher in framing pitches, but she worked hard on throwdowns and pickoffs and her blocking skills improved dramatically in terms of passed balls this season."
Also earning first-team nods for Crater were junior infielders Kayla Hopkinson and Taylor Mackey, sophomore center fielder Dennae Grant and freshman right fielder Renee Murphy.
"It's a testament to all the hard work that goes on with all these athletes," Arnold said of the recognition for his players. "We have some phenomenal athletes, and a lot of these girls are two- and three-sport athletes. It's just a huge tribute to their dedication."
Hopkinson was one of the Comets' most consistent hitters and steady fielders at first base. The No. 2 hitter hit .488 in league with 15 runs and 13 RBIs and boasted a .974 fielding percentage.
Mackey found a home at second base, although Arnold said the junior could've played any number of positions due to her versatility. She hit .344 in conference with 11 RBIs and a .951 fielding percentage.
Grant was the catalyst for Crater in the leadoff spot thanks to a .444 on-base average and .390 batting average. She scored 16 of her 26 runs in league play.
In her first season with the Comets, Murphy took the league by storm with a .778 slugging percentage and .528 batting average in SSC play. She led Crater with 15 of her 25 RBIs in conference to go with seven doubles and four triples overall.
Also earning first-team recognition were Eagle Point senior infielder Jamie Paxton and junior utility player Karlie Stephens and Ashland sophomore outfielder Nicole Lehman.
Mazama's Ali Edwards was named SSC player of the year.
P — Ali Edwards, Mazama Sr.
P — Brittany Reeves, Crater Sr.
C — Sarah Haga, Crater So.
IF — Darian Grigsby, Mazama Jr.
IF — Kayla Hopkinson, Crater Jr.
IF — Taylor Mackey, Crater Jr.
IF — Jamie Paxton, Eagle Point Sr.
IF — Kaitlyn Pinner, Mazama So.
OF — Dennae Grant, Crater So.
OF — Nicole Lehman, Ashland So.
OF — Renee Murphy, Crater Fr.
OF — Leann Valenta, Mazama Fr.
UT — Karlie Stephens, Eagle Point Jr.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Ali Edwards, Mazama.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR — Brittany Reeves, Crater.
COACHES OF THE YEAR — Chris Arnold, Crater, and Todd Nickerson, Mazama.
P — Karlie Stephens, Eagle Point Jr.
C — Cheree Dale, Eagle Point Sr.
C — Lacey Garrett, Mazama Sr.
IF — Amanda Good, Ashland Sr.
IF — Chloe Hanson, Eagle Point So.
IF — Mackensie Re, Eagle Point So.
IF — Tara Ruvalcaba, Crater So.
IF — Sarah Silbowitz, Ashland Sr.
OF — Piper Cantrell, Ashland So.
OF — Samantha DeVaughn, Eagle Point Sr.
OF — Jennie Fernandes, Eagle Point So.
OF — Emily Medina, Crater Jr.
UT — Hayley Ross, Ashland Jr.
Kelsey MacPhee, IF, So., Mazama; Sarah Smith, IF, Sr., Crater; Chloe Hanson, P, So., Eagle Point.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org