Sunset softball, Aloha's Churchill head all-Metro selections
The winds of change swept through the Metro League softball scene this spring, exiting the Hillsboro-based softball programs and bringing about a new league champion.
Sunset, a team quietly on the come up the past two seasons under head coach Montana McNealy and a crew of patient, talented players, was the first non-Westview/Jesuit school to take Metro in almost a decade. The Apollos did so with a pitcher in Grace Kimball who mastered the conference and an offense full of power hitters with plus contact such as shortstop Abby Wingo, outfielder Kendra Knapp and third baseman Mikaela Byrnes. The shakeup atop the Metro hierarchy was an enlivening reshuffling for a conference that wasn't stale by any means but became predictable the past five years or so.
Sunset proved its merit, sweeping Jesuit and Westview and reaching the Class 6A semifinals as the state's second-ranked seed. Any skeptics were quieted as Sunset went from unranked in the preseason to the 6A's final four.
The storybook season yielded its share of postseason appreciation as well. Kimball was named Metro Pitcher of the Year as well as first-team all-Metro and first-team all-state. Kimball was the only Metro entrant to be pegged first-team all-state. McNealy won her second consecutive Metro Coach of the Year award. Wingo, first baseman Kate Fogle, and catcher Lainey Wier were all first-team all-league selections with Wingo and Wier each earning second-team all-state honors.
Aloha senior shortstop Emily Churchill won her second straight Metro Player of the Year award, only this time she didn't have to split it with two rivals. She won it outright, hitting home runs against Metro's established elites, playing web gem-worthy defense and providing leadership. Churchill propelled the Warriors back to the postseason for the first time in her career and garnered second-team all-state distinction. Fellow senior Michelle Winfield was also first-team all-Metro for Aloha.
Westview certainly didn't come away empty-handed despite not winning a least a share of the conference crown for the first time since 2012. Senior second baseman Taylor Alto, junior catcher Neveah Bergner, junior outfielder Madeline Curaming and sophomore pitcher Julia Jordan were named first-team all-Metro with Curaming getting third-team all-state honors and Alto, Bergner and Jordan being named honorable mention all-state.
Jesuit senior shortstop Sammie Petitt was first-team all-Metro for the second straight season and earned second team all-state honors. She was joined by Jesuit freshman infielder Georgia Corey, the first freshman since Wingo did it her freshman her, to earn first-team all-Metro honors who was also second-team all-state.
Mountainside junior outfielders Desi Busch and Madison Goodale both were first-team all-Metro and will go down as the first first-teamers in program history. Busch and Aloha's Winfield were also honorable mention all-state. Beaverton sophomore outfielder Kanani Lambert was a bright spot in a rough rebuilding year for the Beavers and rounded out the all-Metro first team.
Byrnes and Knapp headed the all-Metro second team along with Mountainside freshman catcher Addison Kachnik, junior first baseman Cassidy Kachnik and junior pitcher Kacie Schmidt. Aloha senior third baseman Leina Belog rejoined her team at the start of league play and immediately infused positive energy and power hitting to the club. Belog and junior pitcher Kendra Hutchinson, who transferred from Westview, were each second-team all-Metro. Jesuit sophomores Madi Mayhew (outfielder) and Ellie McClaskey (designated player) and senior third baseman Maya Williams also made the all-Metro second team. Westview sophomore shortstop Emma Antich and Beaverton senior outfielder Angelina Baseleon rounded out the second-team all-Metro honors.
Only four players were picked honorable mention all-Metro: Aloha junior catcher Gabby Fritz, Jesuit freshman catcher Hannah Brink, Westview freshman catcher Zoe Zimmer and Mountainside junior shortstop Madison Cochell.
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