After another season of outstanding softball, Hanford and Lemoore had plenty of honors to show for in the All-West Yosemite League selections. The two teams combined for a total of 21 selections and captured two of the biggest honors.
No one earned a bigger honor than Lemoore’s Sierra Phelps who was voted co-Most Valuable Player along with Redwood’s Emilie Hernandez. According to MaxPreps, the senior was top five in all major statistical categories this season.
In initial disbelief, Phelps said it took her a couple minutes to process the fact that she won MVP. When she realized it, for the most part, she took a moment to reflect on her efforts.
“It just shows how much hard work and dedication I’ve put into four years and that finally paid off my senior year and I got MVP to show everything,” Phelps said. “I still kind of don’t believe it.”
The San Diego State University signee led the WYL with 17 hits, which translated to a .500 batting average (T-2nd), .550 on-base percentage (6th) and .735 slugging percentage (4th). She struck out only three times in 41 plate appearances and tied for sixth with five extra-base hits (3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR).
Phelps dramatically increased in just about every category in her MVP season, including 118 points in batting average, 74 in OBP and an insane 324 in slugging. Her incredible improvements helped her go from Second Team in 2018 to the pinnacle this season.
“At the end of [last] year that’s kind of when I lost my passion for softball, so I wasn’t really giving it my all,” Phelps said. “I went back into shape my senior year and realized that it’s what I want to keep on doing so I worked hard and pushed myself and that’s where it led me.”
The senior went 0-for-1 with a walk in her first league game against Redwood, but proceeded to have at least one hit in her next nine WYL games and had four multi-hit games, including three games where she had three or more hits.
“My only approach was just be aggressive and hit the meatballs is pretty much what I was aiming for,” Phelps said.
She hit plenty of meatballs throughout her 10 league games and plenty of those came with runners in scoring position. Phelps was third with 12 RBIs, fifth with 12 runs scored and then was a problem on the bases by going 13-for-13 on stolen base attempts — both the amount and attempts were league highs.
Phelps did all this while being asked to switch from the outfield to shortstop halfway through the season and did so seamlessly, while continuing to excel.
The Tigers also had 10 other players make the All-WYL teams. Susannah Campos, Madison Martinez, McKenzie Dutra and Jacqueline Esquer were voted to the First Team. Campos as an infielder, Martinez and Dutra as outfielders, and Esquer as the designated player/utility.
Campos was top 20 in batting average (.417), slugging (.542) and RBIs (7), while Martinez was top 20 in hitting (.419) and runs scored (8). Dutra was top 10 in both hitting (.440) and slugging (.640) and Esquer tied for second by hitting .500 and was fifth by slugging .731.
Kara Tellefsen (outfield) and Shelley Jobe (designated player/utility) made the Second Team. Jobe was top 15 with seven RBIs and Kara was top 40 in OBP and slugging.
Megan Van Allen, Tomi Ford (Sr.), Selina Perez and Kyleigh Allen were selected to Honorable Mention.
The Tigers were 12-10-1 overall and 6-4 in league for third place. They were the six seed in the CIF Central Section Division III bracket. Lemoore defeated 11-seed Santa Maria 10-2 in the first round before losing to three-seed Selma, 6-4, in the quarterfinals.
The Bullpups had their own success on the field going 23-7 overall, winning the WYL championship at 9-1 and ending as runner-up in the CIF Central Section Division II championship. Hanford had 10 players make the All-WYL teams starting with Arrysa Danell.
After making the Second Team last season and showing plenty of promise in the circle as a sophomore, Danell flourished in her junior season and was voted Pitcher of the Year. The five-pitch hurler used her fastball, changeup, curveball, drop ball and rise ball to dominate batters.
With the ball in her hand, Danell led in every major category. She posted a 0.64 ERA — the lowest and only player to post a sub-1.00 ERA — while pitching a league-high 54 1/3 innings.
The right-hander also led with 48 strikeouts, had the most wins with an 8-1 record and pitched a league-high six complete games. Her command was impeccable as she walked only two of the 189 batters she faced.
Ashlyn Vidana and Marrisa Cruz made the First Team as infielders after their outstanding seasons.
Cruz tied for second in both hitting (.500) and hits (16), while being arguably the best shortstop in the league. The junior was second with a .579 OBP, fourth with 13 runs scored and eighth with 11 RBIs.
Vidana was one of the best first basemen with a .448 batting average (7th), scored 11 runs (7th) and had a .500 OBP (12th).
Hanford had five more players make the Second Team with Mia Hernandez as a catcher, Lillianna Garcia and Mia Stewart as infielders, and Emily Juarez and Hannah Costa as outfielders.
Hernandez tied for third in RBIs (12), Juarez tied for fifth in runs scored (12), Costa was 11th in runs scored (10), Garcia was 12th in slugging (.600) and Stewart was 24th in hits (10).
Katie Thomas and Mackenzie Snyder were selected to Honorable Mention.
The WYL coaches vote on the selections and are unable to vote for their own players. A total of
33 players made the All-WYL teams.