South Medford High's Jacob Melton (9) celebrates with teammate Jaalen Owens (3) after Melton and Robby Carle scored on a single by Clint Cambell, against South Eugene at US Cellular Fields on Saturday.[PHOTO BY: LARRY STAUTH JR]

South’s Melton, Letendre earn top SWC baseball honors

South Medford’s baseball team accomplished a rarity in Southwest Conference history — going undefeated to win the league crown — and, as such, the Panthers were rewarded accordingly in recent voting by the SWC coaches with six first-team nods to go with top honors for seniors Jacob Melton and Brandon Letendre.

“Our kids were very well-represented and that was kind of cool to see,” said South Medford interim head coach Scott Carle. “When you go 18-0 it wasn’t just one or two individuals. It’s great to have the pitcher and player of the year in our conference but it was all the way through the lineup where we had success and that was shown with the recognition they received.”

Melton, a senior center fielder, finished the year with a .513 batting average to go with 51 runs, 28 RBIs and 33 stolen bases. He belted eight home runs, matching his total for strikeouts, to be named SWC player of the year.

“He was a guy that if you walked him it turned into a triple and if you didn’t walk him he could put it over the fence,” said Carle. “He was hard to stop all year and other teams tried to do their best to limit what he did and he still dominated.”

After playing in the South Medford program for his first two years before a one-year stint at St. Mary’s, Letendre returned to the Panthers and was sensational to garner SWC pitcher of the year acclaim. Letendre finished with an 8-1 record for the 22-5 Panthers, sporting a 1.88 ERA overall.

“Coming back from St. Mary’s he pretty much didn’t skip a beat,” said Carle. “He stepped up and he was the guy we could go to, and every time it was his time to start we knew we would get a great outing from him.”

Also earning first-team all-SWC honors for South Medford were junior pitcher Ricky Boortz (7-2, 2.88 ERA), senior catcher Jack Thompson (.278, 24 RBIs), senior second baseman Jaalen Owens (.265, 19 runs, 14 RBIs) and senior left fielder Jaylin Parnell (.373, 13 runs, 21 RBIs).

“They all had the year that we thought we were going to have,” said Carle. “They were leaders on the team, they played solid defense and had very good batting averages all the way through.”

For Grants Pass, junior infielder Payton Calabro and senior outfielder Tyler Rund also earned spots on the first team.

Roseburg’s Troy Thompson and South Eugene’s Danny Sales shared SWC Coach of the Year honors.

North Medford landed four players on the second team in junior pitcher Ryan Sandoval, senior second baseman Brandon King, senior shortstop Quinton Rumrey and senior outfielder Jon-o Gassman.

Earning second-team honors for South Medford were senior third baseman Clint Campbell, sophomore shortstop Zac Ankeny and senior utility player Robby Carle.

All-SWC Baseball

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jacob Melton, Sr., South Medford.

PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Brandon Letendre, Sr., South Medford.

CO-COACHES OF THE YEAR: Troy Thompson, Roseburg, and Danny Sales, South Eugene.

First Team

PITCHER: Brandon Letendre, Sr., South Medford; Zack Mandera, Jr., Roseburg; Ricky Boortz, Jr., South Medford; Kaden Miller, So., South Eugene.

CATCHER: Dylan Hansen, Sr., Sheldon; Jack Thompson, Sr., South Medford.

FIRST BASE: Jonathan Stone, Jr., Roseburg.

INFIELD: Bryce Boettcher, So., South Eugene; Cody Johnson, Sr., Roseburg; Jaalen Owens, Sr., South Medford; Payton Calabro, Jr., Grants Pass.

OUTFIELD: Jacob Melton, Sr., South Medford; Garrett Russell, Sr., Roseburg; Tyler Rund, Sr., Grants Pass; Tristan Vidal, Jr., South Eugene; Jaylin Parnell, Sr., South Medford.

UTILITY: Dawson Prickel, So., Sheldon.

Second Team

PITCHER: Jace Stoffal, So., Roseburg; Ryan Sandoval, Jr., North Medford; Nate Morgan, Sr., Grants Pass.

CATCHER: Terrell Jacks, Sr., Roseburg; Dane Woodcook, Fr., Willamette.

FIRST BASE: Patrick Herbert, Jr., Sheldon.

INFIELD: Brandon King, Sr., North Medford; Clint Campbell, Sr., South Medford; Zac Ankeny, So., South Medford; Quinton Rumrey, Sr., North Medford.

OUTFIELD: Bruce Nealon, Sr., Sheldon; Griffin LaVassaur, Sr., Willamette; Andrew Medley, So., Grants Pass; Jon-o Gassman, Sr., North Medford.

UTILITY: Robby Carle, Sr., South Medford.

Honorable Mention

Bronson Hill, Sr., Sheldon; Aiden Wagers, Sr., Sheldon; Cade King, Jr., Grants Pass; Dylan Edwards, So., South Eugene; Sebastian Molina, Sr., South Medford; Jaron Emerson, Sr., South Medford; Peyton Bracy, Jr., Willamette; Jett Black, So., Roseburg; Trey Nelson, So., South Eugene; Cal Morgan, Jr., Sheldon.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

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