Hillsboro's McCrea, Banks' Vandehey head list of all-state softball, baseball honorees
A great season recently got even greater for a large group of local baseball and softball players.
Athletes from Glencoe, Century, Liberty, Hillsboro, and Banks earned all-state honors, including two who were honored as the State Player of the Year.
Heading the list of honorees were Hillsboro High School's Kiara McCrea and Banks' Hayden Vandehey. Vandehey was selected as the 4A Baseball Co-Player of the Year with Newport's Jacob Dobmeier, while McCrea, a sophomore, was selected as the 5A Softball Co-Player of the Year with Hood River Valley's Makenzie Chambers. In addition, Banks' Joe Baumgartner was selected as the 4A Baseball Coach of the Year.
McCrea, in the 5A classification, was fourth in the state in batting average (.571), second in on-base percentage (.656) and second in stolen bases (24). She also tallied 12 doubles, four triples and 36 RBI.
"Kiara is such a great kid and teammate ... it was well-deserved," Hillsboro head coach Sara Harsin said. "She's athletic, dedicated and a very hard worker. Good things happen when you have that kind of combination."
Vandehey was one of three Banks players to be part of three state championships this past school year, quarterbacking the Braves in the fall, playing guard on the basketball team last winter and pitching and playing shortstop this past spring. The senior who will be attending and playing baseball at Oregon Tech this coming fall, threw a complete game in Banks' state championship win over Henley, allowing one earned run on seven hits while striking out three and walking one. Over the course of the season, he batted .437 with 32 RBIs, an on-base-percentage of .524, a slugging percentage of .650 and a 1.175 OPS. He finished with an 8-1 record on the mound, 0.66 ERA and struck out 60 while walking just 24.
"What can you say about Hayden," Banks head coach Joe Baumgartner said after their game state championship game against Henley. "The kid just does everything the right way, and he just never quits out there. He's just a great kid with a lot of talent."
In all, the local contingent consisted of 12 softball and 12 baseball state honorees.
Glencoe's Jensen Becker — who was the Pacific Conference Player of the Year — was the Tide's only first team honoree, while sophomore pitcher Dana Butterfield and senior infielder Morgan DeBord were second-teamers, sophomore catcher Athena Van Dyke was selected third team and junior outfielder Nici Eckhart was honorable mention.
Becker hit .495 with a .527 on-base percentage, four home runs and 38 RBI.
DeBord batted .510 and led the state with 55 stolen bases.
Butterfield was third in the state in both wins (20) and ERA (1.39), and second in strikeouts with 254.
Joining Glencoe athletes on the 6A all-state softball team were Century senior Gavyn Shafer (third team infield) and Liberty sophomore outfielder Natasha Stubbs (honorable mention).
Hillsboro, which like Glencoe lost in the state quarterfinals, put four girls — including McCrea — on the 5A all-state softball team, including first team pitcher McKenzie Staub; second team catcher Natalie Kinney; and second team infielder Sydney Lierman.
Staub was a key component to the Spartans' 27-2 overall record, batting .468 with five home runs and 49 RBI, while finishing second in the state in wins (21), and first in ERA (1.00), WHIP (0.76) and strikeouts (277).
Banks' Hannah McCourt was the Braves' lone honoree, selected as a first team all-state catcher. The senior led the Braves offensively during the regular season, batting .487 with two home runs and 39 RBIs. She also accrued a .523 on-base-percentage, along with a team-leading .863 slugging percentage and 1.385 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
On the baseball side of things, joining Vandehey on the 4A all-state team were senior first baseman Blake Gobel (2nd team); freshman outfielder Colton Hesselman (2nd team); senior outfielder Dakota Bunn (2nd team); and senior pitcher Tyler Lilly (3rd team).
Gobel hit .361 with two home runs and 24 RBIs, while Bunn batted .390 with a .478 on-base-percentage. Hesselman hit .347 with a .900 OPS.
In 5A, Hillsboro was led by senior Kammeron Mecham, who earned a second team selection as a pitcher, while senior Josh O'Neal (Utility), junior Kane Kiaunis (Catcher) and freshman Kyle Meyer (Designated Hitter) were honorable mention.
Century, which won the Pacific Conference, boasted the only 6A selections, beginning and ending with first team pitcher Micky Thompson along with second team infielder Jared Gordon and second team pitcher Ian Lawson.
Thompson, who was the Pacific Conference Pitcher of the Year and will be attending and playing baseball for Washington State University next fall, finished the season with a 7-1 record and 0.88 ERA while striking out 93 and walking 20.
"Micky had a phenomenal season pitching for us this year," Century head coach Mason Wright said. "It's evidence that he works extremely hard on his craft and his numbers speak to that. I'm extremely proud of him and happy for him because all of the accolades he has received throughout his high school career are much-deserved."
Lawson, a junior, finished 6-1 with a 0.80 ERA while striking out 84 and walking 19.
Gordon batted .385 with a .477 on-base percentage, .939 OPS and 21 RBI.
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