When Crater ace Brittany Reeves sat down to make her goals for the season, it went exactly like this: win the Southern Sky Conference title, win a third straight Class 5A state title, earn conference and state pitcher of the year awards.
Check. Check. Check and, after Wednesday's release of statewide voting, check.
"I had a lot of motivation to get back this year," said Reeves, who exits the Comet program as one of its most decorated players. "I was really excited for this season."
Helping add to her excitement was the inclusion of freshman right fielder Renee Murphy on the all-state first team, as well as recognition given to teammates Kayla Hopkinson (second-team infielder), Sarah Haga (honorable mention catcher) and Dennae Grant (honorable mention outfielder).
"They deserved every bit of it," said Reeves, 18. "Not only are they great athletes, but they're all great in the classroom and just great people, in general. I'm very thankful to have them on my team."
Eagle Point senior infielder Jamie Paxton was a third-team selection and junior teammate Karlie Stephens was an honorable mention utility player.
Crater's Chris Arnold was named 5A coach of the year for the second time in three seasons, while Glencoe third baseman Dacia Hale was chosen player of the year.
Reeves was quick to heap credit on Arnold for his work in guiding the Comets to three straight state championships.
"He understands the game so much and he's not afraid to revert to different styles of playing," said Reeves. "Instead of just going out there and hitting the ball he might go small ball to get on a pitcher and make the defense work a little more or something like that. He really understands mentally that a team has to have a good chemistry to be a winning team."
In an interesting twist of fate, having the pitching rubber moved back 3 feet as part of an experiment in Oregon may have been the best thing to happen for Reeves. Already a dominant power pitcher, the 5-foot-9 senior had to develop more pitches to keep batters off balance at 43 feet.
"I never really used to use a lot of pitches with movement because I was a lot faster than most of the batters were used to," said Reeves, who has signed to play at Western Oregon. "But when we moved back to 43 feet, it helped me to have to get my changeup and more pitches with movement. It definitely made me work to become a better pitcher. I definitely feel more ready for college."
Whether it was a fastball or changeup or her newly developed roll drop, hitters had trouble handling anything Reeves offered up. She set a single-season record at Crater with 192 strikeouts in 182 innings, sporting a 2.04 ERA overall.
"She really worked on improving herself this year and she knew her team would benefit from that," said Arnold. "The growth this year was very impressive for Brittany."
Reeves allowed only 36 walks all season and also was a force at the plate with a .329 batting average, 19 RBIs and a team-leading three home runs.
Along with becoming a more complete player, Reeves showed tremendous growth in maintaining her focus regardless of the situation.
"I think what separated me this year was probably my emotional game," she said. "It's really gone up. I'm a lot smarter with each batter and it makes it a lot harder for batters to hit off me when I don't let emotions affect what I'm doing."
Murphy hit a whopping .528 in SSC play and .388 overall in her first varsity season. She led the Comets in most categories with four triples, seven doubles and 25 RBIs overall. Murphy's slugging percentage was .778 in league play and she scored 14 runs overall.
"I knew she was a very talented athlete but I didn't realize she'd be able to have that much impact on the conference in her first year," said Arnold.
Hopkinson, a junior first baseman, led Crater with 41 hits this past season, hitting .414 overall with 27 runs and 26 RBIs.
The sophomore Haga scored 21 runs with 17 RBIs and came on strong after a slow start at the plate to hit .368 in conference and .285 overall.
Grant, another sophomore, hit .390 in SSC play and .291 overall in the leadoff spot for the Comets. The center fielder scored 26 runs on the season.
Season statistics for Paxton and Stephens were unavailable as of press time.
Class 5A All-State Softball
PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Dacia Hale, Glencoe.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR — Brittany Reeves, Crater.
COACH OF THE YEAR — Chris Arnold, Crater.
PITCHER — Brittany Reeves, Sr., Crater; Sloan Anderson, Jr., Glencoe; Rylee Parke, jr.; The Dalles Wahtonka.
CATCHER — Megan Harvey, Sr., North Eugene; Meghan Dendinger, Sr., Glencoe.
INFIELD — Shauna Trussell, Sr., Cleveland; Sadie Lopez, Sr., Hillsboro; Dacia Hale, Sr., Glencoe; Stephanie Breshears, Sr., Pendleton; Haley Hibbs, Fr., Silverton.
OUTFIELD — Tayler Ficek, So., North Eugene; Alex Posey, Jr., Dallas; Renee Murphy, Fr., Crater; Alyssa Gillespie, So., Glencoe.
DH/UTILITY — Ali Edwards, Sr., Mazama.
PITCHER — Abbey Tollefsen, Sr., Hillsboro; Alex Hillmick, Jr., Pendleton; Chris Hatley, So., Silverton.
CATCHER — Ashley Worthey, Jr., Century; Jean Stevens, Jr., West Albany.
INFIELD — Jessica Plummer, Sr., Churchill; Shannon Morgan, Sr., North Eugene; Jordan Kreiger, So., Glencoe; Sami Jones, Sr., Silverton; Kayla Hopkinson, Jr., Crater.
OUTFIELD — Kelsey Wheatley, Sr., Thurston; Heather Meeuwsen, So., Liberty; Danielle Harcourt, Jr., St. Helens; Lacey Dixon, Sr., West Albany.
DH/UTILITY — Kelli Demianew, Jr., Pendleton.
PITCHER — Jordan Goschie, Sr., Churchill; Leah Butters, So., Cleveland; Danielle Legee, Jr., Lebanon.
CATCHER — Sarah Breninger, Jr., Cleveland; Darcy Fields, So., Crescent Valley.
INFIELD — Marranda Santiago, Jr., Marshall; Darian Grigsby, Jr., Mazama; Kayleen Gary, So., West Albany; Jenn Sweet, Sr., Summit; Jamie Paxton, Sr., Eagle Point.
OUTFIELD — Joanie Pioli, So., Cleveland; Courtney Martin, Jr., West Albany; K.T. Clark, So., The Dalles Wahtonka; Tia Smith, Sr., Pendleton.
DH/UTILITY — Alyssa Davis, Fr., Glencoe.
PITCHER — Montana McNealy, So., Century; Kristin Warner, Sr., West Albany; Emily Enders, Sr., Marshall; Carly Larson, Jr., North Eugene.
CATCHER — Sarah Haga, So., Crater; Jazzmine Alcala, Fr., Marshall; Kaitlyn Anderson, So., Churchill; Hilary Broadus, Jr., Dallas.
INFIELD — Steffane Oles, Sr., Pendleton; Kara Katchia, Sr., Madras; Brianna George, Sr., Marshfield; Ashley Puls, Sr., Churchill; Brittany Hendrickson, So., Thurston; Sammi Waite, Jr., Crescent Valley; Stephanie Meeuwsen, Fr., Liberty; Kaitlyn Pinner, So., Mazama; Stephanie Crow, Sr., West Albany.
OUTFIELD — Rise Campbell, Jr., Marshfield; Megan Meador, Jr., Marshfield; LeAnn Valenta, Fr., Mazama; Cheyenne Thorne, So., Marshall; Dennae Grant, So., Crater; Jamie Bradshaw, Sr., Sherwood.
DH/UTILITY — Karlie Stephens, Jr., Eagle Point; Brittney Young, Sr., Marshfield; Laura Lesowske, Fr., Cleveland.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail email@example.com