Comets sweep top MWL softball honors
With three of the top four teams in the Midwestern League softball standings hailing from Southern Oregon, you’d better believe the conference’s coaches took notice when filling out ballots for the all-league awards recently.
Not surprisingly, the Crater softball team was front and center in sweeping the top MWL honors after a near-perfect run through the league schedule.
Senior shortstop Kailee Davis and sophomore pitcher Alexis Perez gained the top recognition for the Comets, with Davis securing the MWL player of the year nod and Perez named MWL pitcher of the year following sensational seasons.
For his efforts, Chris Arnold was named MWL softball coach of the year after guiding Crater to a 15-1 record in league play and 21-7 ledger. It was the second straight conference crown for the Comets, dating back to 2019 due to the COVID-induced cancellations of the 2020 and traditional 2021 campaigns.
Davis helped anchor a balanced offensive attack for Crater, sporting a .381 batting average to go with 17 RBIs and team-highs in runs scored (41) and stolen bases (22).
Perez was similarly pivotal inside the circle for the Comets, posting a 9-3 record and 2.09 ERA with 66 strikeouts and only 17 walks in 70 1/3 innings pitched.
That dynamic duo was supported by a trio of Crater juniors who also earned first-team recognition in catcher Lilli Reid, infielder Taylor Kenworthy and outfielder Alyssa Kilbane.
Kilbane paced the Comets with 30 RBIs to go with 32 runs, 11 stolen bases and a .430 batting average, while Kenworthy hit .457 with 22 runs and 12 RBIs and Reid batted. 339 with 21 runs and 15 RBIs.
Eagle Point, which finished as the MWL softball runner-up, placed a pair of big hitters on the first team in junior Sydney Boren and sophomore Jocelyn Hanan.
Entering the state playoffs, Boren boasted a .614 batting average with 59 RBIs and 42 runs scored for the most prolific offense at the 5A level. She added her 11th home run of the season during Wednesday’s playoff opener and boosted her extra-base hit totals to eight triples and 14 doubles.
Hanan wrapped up the regular season for the Eagles batting .432 with 36 runs and 26 RBIs, and notched her 12th double of the spring during Wednesday’s eight-inning win over West Albany.
Senior Gabby Heiken and sophomore Glory Pistole played crucial roles in helping Ashland advance to the state playoffs for the first time since 2009 and sixth time in school history. Both were recognized with first-team selections for a Grizzly team that posted the second-most wins (16) since 2006.
Heiken, a shortstop, led Ashland in batting average (.547), doubles (12), home runs (6) and RBIs (46). She also scored 34 runs and struck out only twice this season.
Pistole, a utility player, hit .462 with five homers and 10 doubles to go with 35 runs and 35 RBIs for the Grizzlies. She was also a key fixture inside the circle at 9-7 with a 5.58 ERA.
In Midwestern League baseball, Ashland’s Nick Hall was named co-coach of the year after guiding the Grizzlies to a 17-8 record and third-place showing in the MWL.
Helping propel Ashland were a pair of first-team picks in junior pitcher Gabe Brabec and freshman pitcher Evan Rhoden.
Brabec compiled a 7-4 record and 2.44 ERA, striking out 110 with 31 walks in 63 innings pitched. Rhoden provided a steady complement at 5-2 with a 3.33 ERA, posting 77 strikeouts and 25 walks in 48 1/3 innings.
Crater senior Caleb Randolph was the only other Southern Oregon player to earn first-team status, with Randolph batting .435 with 12 runs and six RBIs and a .976 fielding percentage. Randolph also went 3-5 with a 5.63 ERA on the mound for the Comets.
Thurston junior Maddox Molony was named MWL baseball player of the year and Willamette senior Blake Stavros was pitcher of the year, while Thurston’s Dennis Minium shared the coaching nod with Hall.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Maddox Molony, Jr., Thurston.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Blake Stavros, Sr., Willamette.
CO-COACHES OF THE YEAR: Nick Hall, Ashland, and Dennis Minium, Thurston.
PITCHER: Blake Stavros, Sr., Willamette; Gabe Brabec, Jr., Ashland; Evan Rhoden, Fr., Ashland.
CATCHER: Griffen Bushnell, Sr., Willamette.
FIRST BASE: Ryan Prescott, Jr., Willamette.
INFIELDER: Maddox Molony, Jr., Thurston; Noah Cox, Jr., Willamette; Eli Crist, So., Thurston; Danny Womack, Sr., Churchill.
OUTFIELDER: Caleb Randolph, Sr., Crater; Adam Elliott, So., Thurston; Dillon Butler, Sr., Willamette.
DESIGNATED HITTER: Alex Boring, Sr., Thurston.
UTILITY: Kayden Sandow, Sr., Willamette.
PITCHER: Cade Johannsen, Sr., North Eugene; Lucas Merrill, Sr., North Eugene.
CATCHER: Aaron Vest, Sr., Springfield.
FIRST BASE: Ty Johnson, Sr., Thurston.
INFIELDER: Keller Bloodworth, So., Ashland; Jackson Kemper, Sr., Ashland; Knoll Gederos, Jr., North Bend; Tyler Mikel, So., Churchill; Easton McDonald, Jr., Thurston.
OUTFIELDER: Brandon Tibbils, Sr., Crater; Tripp Repp, Sr., Ashland; Rylan Carson, Jr., Churchill; Nolan Crist, Sr., Thurston.
DESIGNATED HITTER: Caden Koffler, Jr., Willamette.
UTILITY: Connor Molony, Fr., Thurston.
CATCHER: Nate Cook, Sr., North Eugene.
FIRST BASE: Chase Sattler, Sr., Springfield.
INFIELDER: Cody Gallego, So., North Eugene.
OUTFIELDER: Bugsy Jensen, Jr., Churchill.
DESIGNATED HITTER: Sam Oviatt, Sr., Springfield.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kailee Davis, Sr., Crater.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Alexis Perez, So., Crater.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Chris Arnold, Crater.
PITCHER: Alexis Perez, So., Crater; Amy Jankowski, Sr., Churchill.
CATCHER: Lilli Reid, Jr., Crater; Leana Evans, Jr., Willamette.
INFIELDER: Kailee Davis, Sr., Crater; Taylor Kenworthy, Jr., Crater; Sydney Boren, Jr., Eagle Point; Gabby Heiken, Sr., Ashland; Shaylinn Rohde, So., Willamette.
OUTFIELDER: Alyssa Kilbane, Jr., Crater; Jocelyn Hanan, So., Eagle Point; Sadie Decker, Jr., Thurston; Jocelyn Rush, Jr., Willamette.
UTILITY: Glory Pistole, So., Ashland.
PITCHER: Sarah Shore, Jr., North Bend; Kasey Ogan, Fr., Thurston.
CATCHER: Emilee Nielsen, Sr., Eagle Point; Bailey Tovey, So., Thurston.
INFIELDER: Hailey Waldon, Jr., Eagle Point; Shelby Brown, Sr., Ashland; Maddie Sheadel, Jr., Crater; Kaylee Holland, So., Churchill; Gaby Montes, Fr., Thurston.
OUTFIELDER: Sophie Van Wey, Sr., Crater; Jade Lierman, Jr., Eagle Point.
UTILITY: Payton Schwab, So., Crater.
PITCHER: Kyra Smith, Jr., Eagle Point; Allie Spratt, So., North Eugene.
CATCHER: Kate Theobald, Jr., Ashland.
INFIELDER: McKenna Sease, Sr., Crater; Jovianna Marshall, Sr., Eagle Point; Ivy Clason, Fr., Ashland; Kelli Olson, Sr., Willamette; Celia Thompson, Jr., Thurston; Emma Spalding, So., North Bend; Mia Reynon, So., North Bend; Jadynn Ireland, Fr., Willamette; Brooke Arendt, So., Springfield.
OUTFIELDER: Tessa Hobein, So., Ashland.
UTILITY: Kendall Miller, Fr., Thurston; Brooke Peterson, So., Churchill; Katelyn Branson, Sr., Springfield.
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