Maiben earns first-term all-state nod
With all-league voting often dominated by the top two or three teams in any conference, it can be hard for standout players to get noticed when their teams get stuck at the bottom of the standings.
That wasn't an issue for Newberg's Derek Maiben, who not only drew first team All-Three Rivers League honors as a pitcher and shortstop, but was named to the 6A All-State first team to boot.
Tiger coach Tyler Matlock said he heard all season long from opposing league coaches about how hard it was to get Maiben out and he was heartened when they followed through with all-league voting.
"He doesn't let balls go by him that should be hit," Matlock said. "He doesn't swing at bad pitches. He's the most disciplined hitter in the league, especially in the leadoff position where he will make you throw him a strike. If you make a mistake, he's going to make you pay for it immediately."
Maiben posted a stellar .980 fielding percentage as the team's primary shortstop and also pitched for Newberg, but really made his mark at the plate.
He finished the season with a .474 batting average with just two strikeouts to go along with 15 stolen bases. During the league season, Maiben batted an even .500.
"I felt like every time at the plate I had a chance because I've been there for three years and just getting used to the pitching, I think I have the upper hand," Maiben said. "I've practiced a lot, so I have a lot of confidence in my hitting.'
Matlock said that Maiben placed a large burden on himself when his twin brother, outfielder Jacob, suffered an injury in the first game of the season and ultimately missed about half of the season.
"He tried to put everything on his back and even with him pressing, he was still so dominant at the plate and such a hard out," Matlock said. "He decided it was his duty to play for both of them and you could see he was giving more effort than he's ever given. That's not saying that he didn't give effort, but you saw another gear from him and it was just incredible to watch that development."
Matlock said that Derek Maiben had already raised the level of his game significantly in the offseason, making the extra push he put forth after his brother's injury that much more impressive.
"When our cages got completed, he was in there every minute he got a chance," Matlock said. "He was at every fall workout, every fall practice, and it showed up on the field this spring."
After recovering from injury, Jacob Maiben played in 10 league games, hitting .481 in 27 at-bats and still earned second-team honors.
"The guy covers two thirds of the outfield in every field we play at," Matlock said. "He has phenomenal speed and tracks down balls that nobody has any business getting to. There have been times when the ball has just been hammered off the bat and is in the gap, I'm yelling 'Cut two' or "Cut three" and, all of a sudden, Jacob is trotting back with the ball."
Matlock also praised Jacob Maiben for being the team's spark and for showing great character after coming up lame while running to second base in the season-opening game at McMinnville. Matlock said he easily could have legged out a triple if not for the injury, but more impressive was how he crawled the rest of the way to beat the throw to second base.
"That's who he is. He's the ultimate competitor. Having those two compete with each other makes everything so much better," Matlock said.
Also earning all-league accolades were sophomore catcher Jordan Beaudry and junior infielder Cameron Laroche, both who received honorable mention.
The Maibens will spend their summer playing for the Dallas Dirtbags American Legion team in preparation for collegiate careers at Western Oregon University.
Derek Maiben is also one of four Three Rivers League players who will participate in the annual Oregon All-Star Series June 23-24 at Goss Stadium in Corvallis. Maiben will be an infielder for the North squad, joining Lake Oswego's Sam Haney and Sherwood duo Riley Aggson and Hayden Gilbert.
"I'm excited for it," Derek Maiben said. "It's a pretty big thing and I'm excited to be part of a baseball event like that."