Brooke Burke, Maddie Harris honored at softball awards event

Two pivotal graduating seniors received all-league distinctions, plus kind words of farewell from head Sweet Home High School softball coach Karyn Hartsook, during a July 8 team awards banquet.

Shortstop Bailee Hartsook was named to the 4A-3 Oregon West Conference First Team infield while pitcher Savannah Hutchins received second-team honors.

Both were four-year letter-winners and starters, and were inducted into the Sweet Home High School Athletic Hall of Fame on June 6 at the Community Chapel.

“They both brought a lot of joy of softball to the community of Sweet Home and to my heart, too,” Hartsook said, “You’re both really kind. You love your teammates and your community.

“The best part about you two is that you’re fierce, and how extremely competitive you are. Watching you evolve as athletes has been a pure pleasure.

“Every time you girls had the opportunity to put your team in a better position to win, you were doing whatever you could to make it happen. That just is a testament to who you are as people.”

Of her daughter, Bailee, Hartsook said, “I appreciate her versatility as an athlete,” noting that she played shortstop primarily, but could also play outfield or first base. The coach also called her “an exceptional base runner.”

Hartsook said of Hutchins, “She’s probably one of the best 4A pitchers in the state of Oregon. And I’ll say that forever.”

Other Huskies received all-league honors as well.

Rising junior Brooke Burke, who played third base, was named to the Second Team infield.

“She probably had our second most consistent on-base percentage,” Hartsook said.

Burke also received Most Inspirational honors.

“She always came to practice with a smile,” Hartsook said. “She was inspiring to me. Sometimes, when you’re coaching and working and all of these other things, you can bring negative stuff to practice. The kids make that go away for me.”

Incoming senior Chloe Fairchild received honorable mention as a catcher.

“Fairchild loves softball, but what people don’t realize is that Chloe is a really nice kid,” Hartsook said.

“She’s a great softball player, but I just want everybody to know what a better person she is. I’m really proud of her for a lot of things.”

Rising senior Maddie Harris also received an honorable mention, as a utility player. She handled various positions for the team this season, including center field, first base and pitcher.

“She’s pretty selfless,” Hartsook said, noting Harris’s adaptability in assuming different roles. On offense, she added, Harris is “one heck of a base runner. She’s aggressive, and she’s a fierce competitor. She doesn’t like to lose. She also pushes other people to be better. During practices, she would make us better as a team.”

She was also the recipient of the Coach’s Award.

“She’s like a little coach,” Hartsook said, mentioning that Harris sent text messages to the team and helped with the squad’s instagram page.

The Huskies, 9-5 overall and 7-5 in league, finished fourth in conference play.