Guthrie, Burke named softball MVPs

Benny Westcott

At the Sweet Home softball awards banquet at Husky Field on June 12, seniors Makayla Guthrie and Brooke Burke were named Team MVPs.

In 106 innings of work over 20 games as a pitcher, Guthrie was 1-0 with a 4.29 ERA. She struck out 89 batters for a strikeout rate of .84 per inning.

As shortstop, Burke’s 32 hits, three home runs, 18 RBIs, and .471 batting average all led the team (among Huskies with at least 10 at bats). She also struck out just once in 68 plate appearances.

Head Coach Emily Marchbanks talked about both senior leaders.

Of Guthrie, she said “Being in the pitcher’s mound is probably the most pressure position that there is, because every defensive play starts with you. One mess up and they hit a home run.

For most people, it’s one messup and they get an extra base. In the middle of the season, she started coming in for extra stuff, or we would have entire practices where I would stand behind her and critique every single pitch she did while she was pitching live. And she just took it, because that’s what it takes to be better.

“It’s not easy getting constant criticism, but it’s also what it takes to make yourself better and a valuable member of your team,” Marchbanks continued. “She did a really great job for us this year.”

Guthrie was also named a Second Team All-League Pitcher in the Oregon West Conference.

On Burke, Marchbanks said “Brooke was an offensive force for us this year. We expected a lot out of Brooke this year, especially in a leadership role. And late in the season she fully bloomed into that. There’s only so much you can do by leading with words and what you say, and at some point you have to lead by example. And when we needed somebody to perform, she stepped up and performed, and she did that a lot for us.

“When we were starting to get burnt out, she started to work harder,” Marchbanks continued. “And then other people started to work harder with her. When we would run poles because we had looking strikeouts, she was always the first one done. She never backed off.”

Burke was named a Second Team All-League Infielder in the OWC.

Senior Kelsie Rush, a First Team All-League Outfielder, won the Coach’s Award.

“It’s the award that we give to the kid who just literally always does the right thing, and doesn’t always get recognized by the public, but we think deserves it,” Marchbanks said of the honor. “They’re a leader. They always do what they’re asked. They’re on task. They have a great attitude.”

The coach said, “If I could have 14 Kelsies on my team, I would take them. She is the epitome of what most coaches would call a good teammate.

“When she was in the outfield I always heard her talking to her teammates and picking them up. If they made an error or mistake, she was the first one to tell them you’ve got it next time.

“And if they did something good she was the first one to cheer them on or run over and high-five them.

“When we would do batting drills, every time she was helping her partner find what specific thing they needed to work on and helping watch for them,” Marchbanks continued. “She didn’t just make herself better – she made her teammates better. That is a really awesome quality in someone.”

Freshman Trinity Victor, an Honorable Mention Outfielder in the conference, won Most Inspirational.

“Defensively, Trinity was probably our most consistent outfielder,” Marchbanks said. “She came in and really did a great job as a freshman. And then because of some injuries, she had to move into the infield, and she never once hesitated. And with minimal practice, she performed very well at second base for us.

“I also think that attitude-wise, she probably has our most consistent mentality of just in general being a positive person,” she continued. “She came to every practice and worked really hard.

“We do positives at the end of every practice, and I don’t think there was a single day she didn’t get one from someone else, because she was working really hard or picking her teammate up or being positive when nobody else was.”

Freshman Addy Vannice won Most Improved.

“She is one of the most competitive kids on our team,” Marchbanks said. “She had to work for every minute of playing time that she got this year. I think most of the outfielders will tell you that there was constant pressure on them, and whoever wasn’t performing that day just wasn’t playing. So when she was in the field, it’s because she truly earned it.

“She worked really, really hard for the time that she got, and she ended up playing a lot for us. Even when she wasn’t playing defensively, she was playing offensively for us.

“She always had a goal, even for practice,” Marchbanks continued. “It’s really nice to see someone with a plan trying to get better.”

Junior Riley Watkins was named a Second Team All-League Outfielder in the OWC.

The Huskies finished the season with a 9-14 record. They won a play-in game against Hidden Valley but lost in the first round of the playoffs to eventual state runner-up Henley.