Ask any coach and they’ll say Hitchcock gets the nod

J. Patrick Eaken

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind on this one. Eastwood senior pitcher Ashley Hitchcock repeats as the Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Pitcher of the Year.
        This year’s voting was unanimous from 10 area coaches and three media members, and her numbers are well beyond any other pitcher in the Eastern Maumee Bay region.
        No other pitcher got a vote, and that may be the first time that has happened with any All-Press voting in any sport.
        That means she got votes from not only Northern Buckeye Conference coaches, but also from Sandusky Bay Conference (River and Bay divisions), Three Rivers Athletic Conference, Toledo Area Athletic Conference, and Toledo City League coaches.
Early in the season, Hitchcock got her 1,000th career strikeout, and in one week, she had perfect games against Northern Buckeye Conference foes Rossford and three days later against Elmwood.
Her senior campaign, the NBC Pitcher of the Year and three-time All-Ohioan, went 27-1 while allowing 61 hits and 20 runs, including just 15 earned runs, in 171 innings.
        “Ashley has a great work ethic,” Eastwood coach Joe Wyant said. “She would get up at 6 in the morning to get extra pitching and hitting in before school and did it again after practice or a game.
        “‘Ash’ pitches 11 months a year. Ash had a great year with 27 wins, 369 strikeouts and an 0.61 ERA that topped a great four-year career with 102 wins, six losses, and 1,337 strikeouts. Ashley also was 56-0 in the NBC in her career,” Wyant continued.
        “I feel she is the best pitcher the NBC has ever had and it going to take a great pitcher to ever beat her school records at Eastwood. With her work ethic I feel Ashley will do well at Rutgers the next four years.”
Eastwood won the Northern Buckeye Conference title for this fourth straight season. The current seniors have helped the Eagles win 56 NBC games without a loss, while Eastwood has won 59 straight over the past five seasons.
“That will probably never be beaten,” Wyant told The Press. Wyant was second in voting for All-Press Coach of the Year after winning the honor a year ago.
The Eagles’ other four-year starters are third baseman Carleigh Coffield, second baseman Hannah Owens and first baseman Alissa Ray. Eastwood’s other seniors are catcher Maddi Reckert, a three-year starter who missed last season after shoulder surgery, left fielder Carmen Bejarano and center fielder Ana Smith.
Five seniors are first team All-Press selections and nine Eagles are getting some kind of recognition, plus Eastwood swept the top player awards as Coffield, a two-year captain, was voted Offensive Player of the Year.
Coffield, the NBC Offensive POY, ended her senior campaign batting .441 (41 for 93) with 36 runs, eight home runs and nine stolen bases.
        “Carleigh had a very good senior season,” Wyant said. “The second half of the year Carleigh was a .600 hitter and ended up with 41 RBIs. Carleigh was a four-year starter at third base and batted in the cleanup spot. She ended her career with 28 home runs and 143 RBIs.”
        Finishing in second for All-Press Offensive POY voting was Clay senior center fielder Tiffany Stevens, the TRAC Player of the Year and a second team All-Ohio selection.
        Also getting votes was Genoa senior third baseman Amanda Tucholski and Gibsonburg senior pitcher Jasmine McNett. Eastwood, Clay (22-7, 12-2) and Gibsonburg (15-7) were all regional qualifiers and either won outright or shared their respective conference titles.

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