2016 state champs, Wildcats pile up all-league accolades after another great Metro League softbal season

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Jesuit junior pitcher Olivia Strickland was co-Metro Player of the Year this season for the Crusaders.

Business is booming on the Metro League softball scene.

The past three Class 6A state championship games have had at least one Metro entrant, including 2016's all-Metro Jesuit-Glencoe showdown. Westview's reached the state summit twice in three years and could very well climb the mountain again in 2018.

The arms' race between Westview, Jesuit and Glencoe transpired as anticipated this season. The Crusaders beat the Wildcats by a combined 15-0 in two games during the regular, only to see Westview win its fifth straight Metro title. Glencoe got in on the fray, too, taking out the defending 6A state champion Crusaders twice to claim a share of the Metro crown with Westview. And Beaverton, underrated from the beginning of the year, played its best softball down the stretch, which culminated in a 6A quarterfinal appearance against Westview.

Though the long-term future of the Metro is murky because of possible state-wide re-alignment, the Crimson Tide and fellow Hillsboro-based counterpart Century have been welcomed additions to an already bustling conference.

Each school was featured prominently when it came to collecting all-league and 6A all-state accolades. Jesuit led all teams with three first-team all-league selections: junior pitcher Olivia Strickland, junior infielder Reyan Tuck and senior outfielder Hannah Malin. In all, the Crusaders finished with nine all-league players. Strickland was named first-team all-state and Tuck and Malin each were second-team all-state. Strickland and Glencoe junior catcher Ashlynn Bailey were co-Metro Players of the Year while Century head coach Gavyn Shafer was picked as Metro Coach of the Year.

Beaverton senior catcher Emma Brockmann and third baseman Kimaia Gassner represented the Beavers on Metro's first-team. Both were starters from their freshmen seasons on and developed into big-time power threats at the plate and exceptional defenders in the field. Brockmann also was first-team all-state.

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Southridge senior Kiana Kushiyama was named first-team all-Metro League.

For Westview, their starry trio of junior third baseman Kelsey Day, junior first baseman Ananya Koneti and junior outfielder Reece Martin all earned first-team all-Metro honors. Day was a revelation at the hot corner, a year after missing most of her sophomore year due to a back injury. The right-hander hit in the heart of Westview's lineup and supplied all sorts of power production along with catcher Natalie Munson. Martin hit atop the order and lent her speed to Westview at the plate and on the basepaths. Koneti was Westview's vocal leader and another feared hitter who came up with two big hits against Oregon City's Morgan Hornback in the 6A semifinals. Day was named first-team all-state while Martin was second-team all-state and Koneti was third-team.

Sunset sophomore shortstop Abby Wingo garnered first-team all-Metro accolades for the second straight season, leaning on her slick glove and Division One hitting ability to help the Apollos hang tough with the Metro juggernauts. The Seton Hall verbal commit also picked up a third-team all-state selection. Southridge senior outfielder Kiana Kushiyama closed out her Skyhawk career with a first-team all-Metro nod as well. The speedy left-handed hitter helped Southridge reach the first round of the state playoffs for the fourth straight season and was third-team all-state.

Only three of the Metro's 14 first-team selections were seniors, meaning the conference should be in exceptional shape moving forward into next spring.

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Sunset sophomore Abby Wingo was named first-team all-Metro League for the Apollos.

Aloha sophomore Emily Churchill, Beaverton senior first baseman Kaci Krech, and Beaver junior pitcher Cierra Speck were second-team all-Metro picks. Jesuit senior outfielders Katie Corah and Jaclyn Flood and Jesuit first baseman Emma Gordon were second-team all-Metro as were Munson, Westview freshmen Maddie Curaming and Mia Patino. Westview junior shortstop Valeti Fifita was second-team all-Metro as a designated player.

Beaverton senior second baseman Anika Matsumoto and centerfielder Jasmine Reis were each honorable mention for the Beavers. Jesuit junior shortstop Jenny Marnin, sophomore second baseman Sammie Petitt and junior catcher Annalisa Williamson also made honorable mention all-Metro. Southridge freshman Desirae Busch (outfielder) and Madison Goodale (designated player) as well as Skyhawk juniors Hannah Jagow (infielder) and Lindsey Regalado (infielder) were honorable mention all-Metro. Sunset freshmen outfielder Grace Kimball and catcher Kate Fogle, Westview senior outfielder Emma Williams and sophomore pitcher Kendall Gantz rounded out the honorable mention all-Metro squad.

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