Beavers lead all-Metro League baseball selections
The last Metro League baseball team standing in the postseason didn't actually win the conference crown.
That distinction went to Westview for the fifth straight season, though the Wildcats were upended in the Class 6A quarterfinals after a late inning battle with eventual state champion, Clackamas.
But, Beaverton gladly accepted its dealt postseason hand. With a strong non-league record and a number of significant wins during Metro play, the Beavers finished fourth in the OSAA power rankings, setting up a slate of three straight home playoff games. Peaking at the right time, Beaverton bowled through Cleveland, Roseburg and Lake Oswego in succession with their home park acting as a loud, energy-fused backdrop along the way.
The Beavers' run came to an end in the 6A semifinals to West Linn, but there's little doubt Beaverton fulfilled the vast potential head coach Jamie Langton foreshadowed before the season began. And not winning Metro did little to deter the conference's coaches from showing the Beavers their share of favor when it came to all-league accolades.
With five first-team all-league selections and four more on the second and third teams combined, eight of Beaverton's starting nine players earned all-Metro recognition. Westview junior shortstop Willie Weiss was picked as Metro Player of the Year for his ace-worthy right arm as a pitcher, sharp defensive skills in the field and robust bat in the middle of the Wildcat order. The University of Michigan verbal commit was aptly named first-team all-Metro pitcher and infielder in addition to an expected first-team all-state pick. Westview junior first baseman Ben Braukmann was first-team all-Metro as an infielder as well and made the 6A's all-state second team.
Beaverton's first-team selections are headed by a handful of seniors who were the bedrock of Langton's bunch: centerfielder Kevin Watson Jr., pitcher Callan McRae, second baseman Wyatt Christophersen, right fielder Jake Bunn and first baseman Trace Hokkanen. Watson Jr. anchored the Beaver outfield with his plus speed in center while wielding a potent left-handed bat that could club homers and extra base hits. Watson Jr. was also Beaverton's leader in stolen bases. The Oregon State signee was also first-team all-state.
Christophersen enjoyed a breakout season at second, coming up with big individual outings at the plate when they were needed most including a huge 3-for-4 day at the dish against Weiss early in the Metro campaign. Bunn was a newcomer to the Beaver batting order, but his ability to put the ball in play regularly and supply strong defense in right field was welcomed tremendously. Hokkanen rounded out a Beaverton infield that let little get through the outer perimeter all season. He too was clutch in key situations when the moment called for such, coming up with a pair of important base knocks in Beaverton's win over Westview. McRae was Beaverton's ace in the rotation, a left-handed hurler who pounded the zone with efficiency and force. The Linfield College signee also made the 6A all-state's first team. Hokkanen and Christophersen were both second-team all-state selections. Bunn was honorable mention all-state.
Joining the eight combined Wildcats and Beavers on Metro's all-league first team were Jesuit senior outfielder John Arndorfer, Jesuit freshman pitcher Mick Abel, and Southridge senior infielder Kyle Temme. Temme didn't make honorable mention all-Metro as a junior but flourished under the coaching of new Southridge manager Kyle Chamberlain.
Arndorfer, a vital catalyst on Jesuit's 2016 6A state championship team, took that prior confidence and applied it to this season's young Crusader club that weathered an up-and-down season that ended with a first-round playoff exit. Arndorfer's sweet southpaw swing and sound defensive ability were constant sources of stability in a retooling season. Abel looked like the league's next great ace this spring, exhibiting a textbook repeatable throwing motion, extreme velocity, superseding control and propensity to work at a whirling rate while on the mound. In a conference that's produced excellence in Kenyon Yovan and Brandon Eisert as recently as last season, Abel has that kind of eye-popping potential. After the season, the 6-foot-3 right-hander verbally committed to Oregon State University, three years before he'll graduate high school. Abel was honorable mention all-state and Arndorfer was second-team.
Hokkanen (pitcher), Aloha junior pitcher Matthew Powers, Beaverton senior outfielder Ryan Hekker, Jesuit senior outfielder Ian Cooney, junior infielder Ennis Ferguson, senior catcher Brian Sheerin, Southridge senior catcher Brady Boling, Skyhawk sophomore infielder Cameron Carlson, Sunset junior outfielder Danner Wintle, Sunset senior pitcher Jason Dumont and junior infielder Tyler Sumner made the all-Metro second team. Westview senior utility man Keegan Huey-Woods, senior outfielder Smyth England and junior pitcher Jacob Cox rounded out the all-Metro second-team.
Matthew Powers (pitcher), Aloha senior pitcher Aaron Powers, Beaverton junior infielder Manny Castineira, senior infielder Karac Leyva, Jesuit senior pitcher Trevor Blizzard, senior infielder Kyle Knell, freshman James Porter (pitcher/infielder), Southridge junior pitchers Zach Staley and Will Wheeler, Sunset senior infielder Bryce LaBatte, senior pitcher Dillon May, junior catcher Isaac Lovings, Westview junior infielder Mante Woods and Westview junior Ben Braukmann were selected as honorable mention all-Metro. .