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Valley athletes honored with statewide awards


For their efforts during the 2017 season, a handful of Verde Valley baseball and softball players were recognized by the staff at the Arizona Republic.

Camp Verde High School baseball seniors Wyatt Howe, a Bethany College commit, and Ryan Cain were selected to its All-Conference 2A Honorable Mention list. From the Cowboys softball team, senior infielder Kayla Hackett and freshman pitcher Jacy Finley were picked for the same honor.

Mingus Union High School sophomore Maddie Bejarano was an All-Conference 4A Honorable Mention selection as well.

Ryan Cain celebrates scoring a run against Northland Preparatory Academy on senior day, April 25. Cain was an anchor on defense at third base and shortstop.
Camp Verde Baseball

For Howe it is the latest of a number of accolades he has collected for this season. He was selected First Team All-Conference 2A as well as Co-Central Region Player of the Year and First Team All-Central Region.

Howe batted .462 with 37 hits, including 10 for extra bases, 36 runs scored and 29 RBI. He struck out just five times, drew 14 walks and was second on the team with 23 stolen bases.

While not expected to make an impact from the rubber at the beginning of the season, he finished with the second most innings pitched at 33. One of his most notable outings came in relief, seeing out the senior day victory over Northland Preparatory Academy that secured the Central Region title on April 25.

He gave up four earned runs on 29 hits for a 0.85 ERA with 25 strikeouts against two walks.

Cain was a First Team All-Central Region pick as a position player, starting the year at third base, moving for a time to shortstop before returning to the hot corner. He hit .388 with 31 hits, 34 runs scored and 26 RBI, and was tied for first on the team with 25 stolen bases.

Perhaps the two most important stolen bases also came on senior day, in the ninth inning, when he took second and third and eventually scored the game-tying run.

“It’s pretty awesome, I’m pretty proud of the kids,” said Cowboys head coach Will Davis, who added that performance in the classroom usually factors in the selections as well. “They’re both great students and athletes. It’s very huge to be able to keep grades up that high and put in the effort on the field, too.”

Camp Verde Softball
Freshman pitcher Jacy Finley showed dominance in her first season with the Cowboys, especially during the 2A State Championship tournament.
Hackett finished her prep softball career helping the Cowboys to a 20-9 overall record and a berth to the semifinals of the Arizona Interscholastic Association 2A State Championship. The shortstop hit .568 with 46 hits, 41 runs scored and 31 RBI in addition to four home runs.

She was selected Central Region Player of the Year and First Team All-Central Region as well as Second Team All-Conference 2A.

Finley was the Cowboys’ ace in the circle throughout her entire freshman season, finishing with a 2.43 ERA en route to a 16-7 record. She gave up 90 hits and 41 earned runs while adding 165 strikeouts to 35 walks. She too was First Team All-Central Region and Second Team All-Conference 2A.

Cowboys senior Kayla Hackett was the Central Region Player of the Year.

Her biggest performances came in the state tournament. In the team’s first round, 10-2 win over Arizona College Preparatory Academy, Finley struck out 17 and scattered three hits.

The team’s 6-2 quarterfinal win over Santa Cruz Valley High School saw Finley go three for

 three at the plate, drive in four runs and amass nine strikeouts.

After that game, Camp Verde head coach Henry Smith said, “Jacy is a great pitcher, you know, she’s tough to hit against. She’s a freshman but she plays like a big time gamer.”

Mingus Softball

Bejarano’s offensive statistics were some of the best in Conference 4A across the board; she finished top five in seven different categories.

She had the fifth-highest batting average at .626 and tied for the fifth-most hits with 57—including 17 doubles—which was tied for second.

The infielder was also fifth in runs scored [49], second in slugging [1.153], fifth in on-base percentage [.685] and tied for fourth in stolen bases [28].

These distinctions are decided upon by the sports high school staff at the Arizona Republic and are not related to the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s All-Conference teams, which are voted on by coaches.

Mingus Union High School junior-to-be Maddie Bejarano was one of Conference 4A's best batters in 2017. Bejarano was also a reliable infielder for the Marauders.

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