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Metro's softball powers rake in all-league honors


by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Sunset third baseman Renee Crick and Beaverton's Emily John were each named to Metros All-League teams.

Conventionally, the softball squad that wins Metro commonly amasses the lion’s share of first all-league selections — a postseason perk for a prize-winning season.

As might be expected, Metro-winning Westview totaled five first-teamers, highlighted by Pitcher of the Year Abby Greer. They also had the Coach of the Year in Ronda McKenzie. But, the Wildcats were teamed with four Jesuit players and a handful of Aloha competitors, including Metro Player of the Year Michelle Silva.

Southridge’s Jenna Kelly, Beaverton’s Emily John and Sunset’s Anna ApRoberts were the sole first-team Metro nods not from Westview, Aloha or Jesuit, who finished first, second and third in league, respectively.

The assortment of skill amongst the trio of Metro powers speaks to the league’s burgeoning talent supply, as 10 of the all-leaguers are underclassmen.

There’s a foundation of sprightly young stars to build on for the future — something that might not have been uttered a year ago when seniors dominated the all-league list.

Greer was a revelation in the circle for the Wildcats, stacking strikeouts by the bushel and fanning Metro’s finest hitters with an antagonizing mix of riseballs and off-speed stuff. The righty transformed from being good as a freshman to great as a sophomore with a diligent off-season of strength training and cardio work that helped avoid injury and perform at her best in the postseason.

Westview — who allowed the fewest runs in Metro and played sound defense behind its ace — rode Greer to three playoff wins, including a clutch, 12-punchout performance against Barlow in the 6A quarterfinals to send the Wildcats to the state’s final four. And, with two years to improve, it’s chilling to think how high of a ceiling Greer could touch.

“She’s a kid who’s going to work hard to get better,” said McKenzie of Greer. “I know she’ll be working on another out pitch whether it’s something off-speed or using her change-up more. She’s just going to keep getting better, and that’s a really good thing. She’s feeling confident about her pitches, but still wants to improve.”

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Aloha junior pitcher Courtney Coombs, left, had a standout season for the Warriors in the circle after taking over for graduated senior Kiana Wood. Coombs was one of four pitchers named to the all-Metro first team.

Two-way threat

Accompanying Greer on the first-team is the pitcher’s battery mate and close comrade Katie Whetstine. Silva took POY honors and deservedly so, but few players were as impactful offensively, defensively and leadership-wise as the Wildcat catcher.

Armed with a big bat in Westview’s clean-up spot, Whetstine was a constant source of offensive production, supplying deciding blows and momentum-swinging hits in the biggest of games.

When Aloha and Westview squared off for the second time during the regular season, and the Metro title was still in doubt, the junior had one of her better games, going 3-4 with a trio of extra base hits, including a solo jack off the scoreboard in left.

Whetstine was a star on defense too, gunning down a pair of potential North Medford bag thieves in the 6A semifinals and applying a critical tag on a Barlow base runner during the quarters that saved a run from scoring. Her knowledge of score and situation coupled with a close kinship with Greer and consistent positive chatter behind the plate made Whetstine a true two-way threat for Westview.

Westview senior Christy Garrett set the table for the Wildcats’ heavy hitters, oftentimes getting on with slap bunts or hits to left to start off an inning. The centerfielder picked up her second first-team, all-league nod as did third baseman Makenah Robarts, who held down the hot corner for Greer and disbursed pop behind Whetstine in McKenzie’s batting order.

Junior second baseman Kylie Alto rounded out the Wildcats’ first-team selections. Alto was responsible for the go-ahead, and eventually game-winning RBI versus Barlow, driving in Alexis Patino with a moonshot double to center. Additionally, Alto adhered to Westview’s strong defensive tendencies, scooping out grounders and making sound decisions when Greer wasn’t eating up hitters on the hill.

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Westview sophomore hurler Abby Greer was dominant all season in the circle and picked up Metros Pitcher of the Year Award.

Rounding out the team

The aforementioned Silva won her second straight POY award, helping Aloha finish in Metro’s top two for the fourth straight year. The Willamette University signee was as difficult an out as there was in the conference, frequently drawing avoidances from the league’s better pitchers who shied away from the shortstop’s ability to accumulate extra base hits.

Aloha sophomore outfielder Taylor Clark, sophomore Lexi Wahlstrom, junior Courtney Coombs and senior designated hitter Katie Buchannan flanked Silva’s first-team selections with their own all-league honors.

Clark, Wahlstrom and Coombs each had big shoes to fill following last season, and each did so admirably, infusing Aloha with youth and skill that should resonate for the next two years or so.

Jesuit’s all-league choices were headed by sophomore catcher Emily Preble — a possible cornerstone for future Crusader clubs, according to head coach Jim Speciale — as well as senior infielder Kelsey Downey, senior pitcher Hailey Malin and junior outfielder Alicia Taylor.

Southridge had three players on Metro’s second-team: senior infielder Erin Bonzer, sophomore outfielder Kalee Mabray and sophomore left-handed pitcher Morgan Penn. Casey Wise and Cory Meyer made the second-team for Beaverton. Sunset’s Jade Stewart and junior outfielder Rachel Sather were also second-team nods.

Westview junior Shannon Daly and freshman designated hitter Natalie Munson made the second-team, and senior infielder Christina Uhl was an honorable-mention pick, ensuring eight of the Wildcats’ starters garnered all-league recognition. Aloha sophomore catcher Mackenzie Sibert and senior third baseman Shelby Ratcliffe each were picked to Metro’s second team as was Jesuit second baseman Ali Schultheis. Jesuit junior utility man McKenna Holmes,

Sunset third baseman Renee Crick and Southridge junior shortstop Sophie Herman were picked honorable-mention, all-Metro.