Seven Liberty players honored with selection to the NWOC all-conference baseball squad

This spring, a year after posting a school-record 17 wins, the Liberty baseball team followed up with a 16-11 season, a fourth-place finish in the tough Northwest Oregon Conference, and a Class 5A play-in round victory on the road against Springfield and a berth in the Class 5A state playoffs.

The Falcons were recognized by placing seven players on the NWOC all-league squad, and one of them — the versatile Kevin Lave — also landed a spot on the 5A all-state second team announced last month.

Lave earned his all-state distinction as a utility player and was one of Liberty’s two first team all-league picks (at both pitcher and utility) along with senior infielder Zack Chitwood.

This season on the pitcher’s mound, Lave went 5-2 and also picked up a save. In 51 innings, he gave up just 41 hits, 25 runs (14 earned) and 18 walks. He struck out 61, posted an earned run average of 1.92 and pitched two shutouts.

The senior, who played at first base and in center field when he was not pitching, also helped his own cause and his team’s in the batter’s box. His .449 batting average, 23 runs scored and 40 hits were tops on the squad, and his 25 RBIs tied for the best mark by a Falcon this year.

Lave plans to continue his baseball career at NCAA Division III Chapman University in California next year.

Chitwood batted .338 this season for Liberty, posting 27 hits — including nine doubles — 18 runs, 17 RBIs and 12 walks.

Just a sophomore, Tyler Parker was a second-team all-league pick in the infield for the Falcons. Parker posted a .359 batting average this season, and he produced 28 hits, second only to Lave on the team in that department. He also recorded 13 runs and eight RBIs.

Dakota Drake (senior, infielder), Austin Krieck (junior, designated hitter), Jason Sandwisch (senior, catcher) and Ryan Kaser (sophomore, pitcher) were tabbed as honorable mention selections.

Drake batted .311 with 23 hits, 16 runs and 25 RBIs. He also went 2-2 and picked up a save on the mound. In 40 innings, he yielded 47 hits, 25 runs (17 earned) and 22 walks while striking out 48, and his ERA was 2.97.

Krieck batted .295 and produced 18 hits, 11 runs and eight RBIs. Sandwisch posted a .247 average at the plate and accounted for 18 hits, nine runs and 12 RBIs. Kaser went 4-3 this spring and posted a 1.96 ERA over 46 1/3 innings. He allowed 31 hits, 23 runs (13 earned) and 24 walks while fanning 68. He also hit .274 at the plate with 17 hits, 10 runs and seven RBIs.

Hilhi leads all local schools with nine selections to the All-Pacific Conference team

The 2013 season was one of the best in years for the Hillsboro baseball team, and the Spartans received ample recognition for their accomplishments in the form of all-league and all-state honors.

Hillsboro finished the season at 16-12 overall, placed third in the Pacific Conference and earned its first state playoff berth since 2009 before losing 11-4 on the road against Jesuit in the first round in May.

Senior slugger Stefanos Panayiotou was well rewarded for his outstanding season. The third baseman was a unanimous first team All-Pacific Conference selection, and he also earned a first team all-state nod. The Chicago State-bound Panayioutou led Hillsboro with a .427 batting average, nine home runs, 35 RBIs, 25 runs and 23 walks. He also posted 32 hits, one short of the team high.

Three seniors, infielder Clayton Vandervelden, pitcher Jack Merrill and catcher Lauden Lusey joined Panayiotou on the all-league first team.

Vandervelden batted .403 this spring, with 29 hits, 15 RBIs, and 16 runs.

Merrill was a star on the mound for the Spartans, pitching 56 1/3 innings on the season. He went 8-1, yielding 57 hits, 28 runs (19 earned) and 11 walks while striking out 45 for a 2.36 earned run average. He also contributed on offense, recording 20 hits, eight RBIs and 16 runs, and posting a .222 batting average.

Lusey batted .388 to go along with 33 hits (tops on the team), 18 RBIs and 16 runs.

Also for the Spartans, junior outfielder Austin Lutheran was a second team all-conference pick, as was classmate Chase Kaplan at pitcher.

Lutheran posted a .355 average at the plate and accounted for 22 hits, 19 runs scored and nine RBIs.

Kaplan went 3-5 and pitched 47 innings this spring. He allowed 47 hits, 35 runs (just 18 of them earned) and 22 walks. Kaplan also struck out 63 — the most of any member of the Spartans pitching staff — and posted an ERA of 2.68.

The versatile Kaplan also earned honorable mention nods at first base and in the outfield. Sophomore outfielder Dylan Frederick, junior outfielder Cody Parmelee and senior pitcher Vinny Gordy also were honorable mention selections.

Century Jaguars

The Jaguars, who went 11-16 overall and finished fifth in the league, placed two players on the all-conference first team in senior outfielder Vance Hamilton and senior first baseman Chaz Stobbs.

Brad Bennett, a senior, was a second team pick at pitcher, and Zach Allen (junior, outfield), Kyle Gilligan (senior, pitcher) and Hunter Hall (senior, designated hitter) earned honorable mention status.

Glencoe Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide finished 8-19 for the year and tied for seventh in the conference. Junior outfielder Joey Haynes earned second team honors, while senior outfielders Kyle Flaig and Randy Swayze, senior pitcher Brady Mullen, senior catcher Jack Coates and senior first baseman Nick Ochoa received honorable mention.

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