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Cornwell, Yovan lead first team all-Metro baseball honors

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Westview catcher Tyler Stofiel was a defensive force for the Wildcats behind the dish this season. The junior picked up first-team all-Metro honors.

On Metro’s list of all-league baseball stars sits a combination of veteran players bound for the next level and a group of spry standouts who promise to carry the league’s talent torch the next couple of seasons.

Leading off Metro’s all-star lineup is Player of the Year Beaverton junior shortstop Casey Cornwell, who hit .351 with nine stolen bases and 12 walks. The sure-handed Cornwell was one of the driving forces behind the Beavers’ surprising co-Metro championship this spring, guiding Beaverton to an 11-5 league record before losing to Tigard in the first round of the 6A playoffs. The right-hander was also Beaverton’s Tuesday starter with the third lowest ERA in Metro (1.39) while tying for fifth in Metro with strikeouts (48).

Beaverton head coach Derek Nekoba was named Metro Coach of the year after helping take the Beavers to the top of Metro and splitting the conference’s crown with Westview. The Beavers got hot at the tail end of the year, winning seven of their final eight games, including a sweep of Jesuit in the final series of the season.

“We just kept coming out with energy,” said Cornwell of Beaverton’s end to the season. “That’s what we had the last couple of games, and that’s why we came out on top. That was the first time we’ve beat (Jesuit) in three years, and to sweep them was even better.”

Westview’s Kenyon Yovan made waves in early April when he committed to the University of Oregon, but the sophomore right-hander more than lived up to the hype, with a miniscule 0.89 ERA while leading Metro in innings pitched (56) and strikeouts (73). Yovan was picked as Metro’s Pitcher of the Year, leaning on a nasty repertoire of pitches, headlined by a bursting fastball that made quick work of the league’s best hitters.

For such a young pitcher, Yovan had a commanding mound presence and competitive fire that filtrated throughout the Wildcat roster and filled his teammates with confidence. When Yovan was on the mound, Westview had a great chance at victory as evidenced by the hurler’s no-hitter against Thurston in the first round of the 6A playoffs that advanced the Wildcats to the second round for the first time in two years.

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Southridge pitching ace Parker Stidham was one of Metros top hurlers as a junior, earning all-league first team honors.

Joining Cornwell on Metro’s first-team all-league infield is Aloha senior Nate Christophersen, Westview sophomore Keita Fabrega, Jesuit’s Evan Haberle, Westview junior Parker Kelly and Southridge senior David Knudsen.

Knudsen was one of the Skyhawks’ leading hitters in the clean-up spot and a sound defender at first base.

Fabrega was a JV call-up by Wildcat head coach Steve Antich. He flourished in the clutch coming through with go-ahead RBIs against Sunset during the regular season and Thurston in the postseason.

His left-handed bat was a required boost to the Wildcat batting order and made it nearly impossible for Antich to keep out of the lineup.

Kelly — who verbally committed to UO in March — and Christophersen were excellent defenders, who also held down the hearts of each lineup for their respective programs. Haberle was arguably Metro’s most feared batter, a left-handed contact hitter who could power the ball to all fields, especially left, where the University of Santa Clara signee regularly deposited singles, doubles and triples for the Crusaders.

And, with hard-throwing pitchers like Christian Martinek forcing Metro opponents to bunt to get on base, Haberle was often busy at third base, but the right-handed thrower made the tough plays look routine, captaining an inexperienced infield.

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Jesuit's Christian Martinek was one of the four pitchers selected to the all-Metro first-team.

Set the tone

Haberle’s fellow left-handed hitting teammate Marco Albanese was a first-team nod in the outfield, as was Chris Arpan who was a terror at the top of Jesuit’s lineup until the sophomore went down with a season-ending shoulder injury.

First-team outfielder Kyle Cox often set the tone at the top of Westview’s lineup, and was one of the senior leaders for a youthful Wildcat roster.

Southridge senior Andrew Walker enjoyed a breakout season at the dish, emerging as an on-base threat protecting Knudsen and Parker Stidham in the order. Stidham (pitcher) and Walker (outfield) were both all-league choices.

Beaverton sophomore Ryan Hill and Westview junior Tyler Stofiel each picked up first-team nods at catcher. Stofiel was perhaps Metro’s most improved player, transforming into an accurate, fire-throwing threat behind the dish, who could peg the conference’s fastest runners with one flick of his right arm.

And, Stofiel handled a hard-hurling horde of Wildcat pitchers, including Yovan, Kelly and Teagan Lind with great poise and composure.

Hill had one of the best on base percentages in Metro and managed what many considered the league’s deepest and most dangerous pitching staff.

Beaverton senior Justin Wakem split the catching duties with Hill and was also a standout around the infield when his sophomore teammate was working behind the dish. Wakem — after battling shoulder problems last season — was one of four first-team, all-Metro picks for Beaverton.

Beaver junior right-hander Nolan Lafollette and his Juan Marichal-like leg kick, along with Martinek (an Oregon State commit), Stidham and Yovan made up Metro’s blue ribbon pitching picks.

Sunset — the only team without a first-team, all-Metro selection — comprised a majority of Metro’s second-team picks. Apollo seniors Chad Maheu (outfield) and Kasey Porter (pitcher), sophomores Scott Wright (pitcher) and Justin Silvey (infield) were each second-team nods. Senior pitcher Jake Neeson was honorable-mention Metro.

Southridge senior pitcher Brannon Rains, senior infielder Grant Giraldi and juniors Colton Roshak and Matt Orcutt were second-team, all-Metro for the Skyhawks. Beaverton outfielders Sam Eppler and Sam Noyer as well as Jesuit’s Colton French and Taylor Nelson were also second-team, all-Metro.

Aloha senior pitcher Richard Belog joined Neeson on the honorable-mention squad.



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