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Cougars sweep top softball honors
by Aaron Retherford
May 23, 2011 | 1662 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo - Spanish Springs senior catcher Sydney Darby was named the High Desert League Player of the Year.
Tribune file photo - Spanish Springs senior catcher Sydney Darby was named the High Desert League Player of the Year.
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While the season ended earlier than most expected for the Spanish Springs Cougars softball team, the local squad had already dominated the regular season and earned the respect of fellow High Desert League coaches when it came to all-league voting time.

The Cougars swept the top all-league honors. Senior catcher Sydney Darby joined her battery mate, senior pitcher Danica Arterburn, as the HDL’s Player of the Year and the Pitcher of the Year respectively.

In 34 games this spring, Darby was third on the team in hitting with a .510 batting average. She drove in 48 RBIs, hit four home runs and nine doubles for a .755 slugging percentage.

“Sydney was tremendous this year. She really drives the ball and hit’s the ball with tremendous power,” SSHS softball coach Jeff Davidson said. “Even her outs were hit hard. She had a great year offensively. It was tough to get her out, and she didn’t have that many strikeouts this year.”

Davidson said she was also an great asset to the team behind the plate. Darby’s strong arm was a deterrent for other teams to try to steal, so when teams needed a run in a tight game, they were forced to sacrifice an out to advance a runner. Davidson also said he allowed Darby to call a lot of games because she understood the philosophy of how Davidson wanted his pitchers to work batters.

In the circle, Arterburn racked up a 24-4 record with a 1.39 ERA. She went the distance 15 times with nine shutouts. In 151 innings pitched, Arterburn allowed 107 hits and walked 27, while striking out 208 batters.

“Danica is an all-around player. I consider her a five-tool player,” Davidson said. “She can pitch. She was a great outfielder her other three years for me. She can hit for average. She has good running speed and she can hit for power. She could basically play anywhere you wanted her to play and offensively she was a great asset as well.”

Davidson led the Purple and Silver to an undefeated 16-0 mark in league play and was named the HDL Coach of the Year to sweep the top awards for the Cougs.

Spanish Springs also had three players voted on to the first team: junior outfielder Bella Rovens (team-leading .533 BA and 48 runs), sophomore infielder Brette Lawrence (.412 BA, 25 runs, 24 RBI) and freshman designated player Myrissa Prince (.435 BA, 25 RBI, 21 runs).

Reed, the second-place team from the HDL, had five players voted on to the first-team all-league list. Senior pitcher Destinee Levesque, junior catcher Makaela Moore, junior infielder Andi Lee, junior utility player Shivaun Landeros and sophomore Mary Dettling received the high honors.

Dettling led the team in most offense categories. Her .452 batting average, .517 on-base percentage, .625 slugging percentage, 47 hits, 34 runs, 27 RBI and eight doubles were all tops on the Blue and Gold.

“She’s a fast kid and a very strong kid considering her size. We moved her around a little bit earlier in the season, but ultimately she settled in as the leadoff hitter,” Reed softball coach Jon Wunder said. “In my mind it’s probably one of the hardest positions to be in because you don’t have the luxury of hitting in the four, five or six spot and watching the hitters before you. A lot of times you’re a guinea pig.

“Mary had 47 hits this year and didn’t make an error in the outfield. As a sophomore, she was a leader on the team and I certainly expect big things from her the next couple years.”

Landeros and Levesque were also strong hitters for Reed, both batting .406 on the year. Landeros scored 32 runs and drove in 19, while Levesque had 24 RBI.

Levesque was also the team’s ace, going 16-5 with a 1.45 ERA. She struck out 202 hitters and walked 46 in 145 innings. She tossed 19 complete games and six shutouts.

“Destinee has been on varsity since her freshman year and every year her role has increased,” Wunder said. “She got banged up early on in the year. Fortunately we had Shivaun to help carry part of that load until Destinee was 100 percent. I think competition was a good thing for Destinee. She was more comfortable knowing Shivaun had her back, but it also pushed her to come back stronger. Destinee certainly carried the last half of the season from a pitching standpoint. She contributed tremendously with her bat as well and was a legitimate threat at the plate.”

The second team all-league list was littered with Spanish Springs players. Senior outfielder Julianna Waller (.344 BA, 20 RBI, 19 runs) was joined by freshman infielder Kayla Arterburn (.400 BA, 27 runs, 15 RBI), junior infielder Dani Smith (.421 BA, 28 runs, 24 RBI) and senior pitcher Kaytlin Ripa (5-0, 1.27 ERA).

For the Raiders, the second team consisted of junior infielder Cori Gammon and freshman outfielder Megan Dettling.

Spanish Springs freshman Alyx Penrod and Reed freshman Tyler Sumpter were honorable mentions.

In the 3A, despite not winning a Mount Rose League game other than a pair of forfeits, Sparks had five players honored.

Leading the way was senior Gabby Durante, who was named to the first team all-league list after playing catcher, first base and outfielder.

“She’s also a top 10 NIAA student-athlete this year,” Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. “It’s going to be hard to replace Gabby, her demeanor and her attitude.She was the captain of our team this year. She really had leadership qualities beyond her years. She had confidence and patience with our young pitchers. As a senior, she was a breath of fresh air and I enjoyed watching her mature into a fine young woman.”

On the second team were Michelle Vega and Stephanie Parker.

Marissa Brogdon and Krystal Parker were the Railroaders’ honorable mentions.
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