Peat, Young highlight WHS all-league honors
Seniors named co-players of the year
By Jeremy Evans
Tribune staff writer
It wasn’t the banner year the Whittell High School softball and baseball teams had expected. But despite losing records for both teams, the Warriors were still well represented on the all-league teams and also had two athletes grab the highest possible honor.
Seniors Brian Peat and Jeff Young led a group of seven WHS athletes by being named the Northern 2A Co-Players of the Year. Peat, a catcher who batted .500 in league games and had a team-high 12 RBI, was also named the league’s player of the year last season.
Young hit .529 with two home runs, nine RBI and 10 stolen bases. He was also the league’s most dominant pitcher, recording a no-hitter against Silver Stage and leading the Warriors to a win over previously undefeated Lovelock.
“Peat and Young were literally, with little help, co-players of the league on a fourth-place team,” said coach Don Amaral, who’s had a member of his team named player of the year four of the past eight seasons. “That doesn’t happen too often. They were both studs.”
Both Peat and Young were also selected to the 2A all-state first team. Carter Amaral, who hit above .500, was a second-team all-league selection, while senior Chris Craig was an honorable mention all-league pick for the Warriors, who finished 10-14 and qualified for the Northern 2A regional tournament.
The Whittell softball team went through a transition year after longtime coach Lindsay Wines resigned following the 2005 season. But first-year coach Izzy Luna led the Warriors to a 5-14 record, a berth in the regional tournament and developed some previously inexperienced players.
Even though Whittell lost its first two games at regionals, the league’s coaches still recognized the Warriors’ talent. Sophomore Abby Kingman and junior Megan Esquivel were named to the first team, while Joan Browne and Austyn Harrington were second-team selections.
Kingman, who was also named to the 2A all-state second team, hit .551 and with 20 runs scored. Last year, Kingman became the first freshman softball player in school history to be named to the league’s first team.
Esquivel led the Warriors with a .552 average, hit two home runs and was tied for third on the team with 19 runs scored. Browne, a junior, also scored 19 runs and hit .469. Harrington, a sophomore, batted .425 and was the team’s top pitcher.
“Abby and Megan … they just picked up from where they left off last year,” Luna said. “They made some adjustments on their defense and offense and it really paid off for them. Joan did a really good job because we put her at third base, where she wasn’t used to playing, and she felt comfortable there. And Austyn accepted the role of being our No. 1 pitcher.”
Manuela Keller, an exchange student from Switzerland playing softball for the first time, was an honorable mention selection after hitting .411 and scoring 12 runs. Besides Keller, all four other all-league honorees will return next season.
“She (Keller) had never even seen a softball before so it was amazing she was able to pick up the sport so fast,” Luna said. “They all had a good season, worked hard the whole year and I am happy most of them are coming back.”
Battle Mountain’s Aranxta Kovis was named the state and league player of the year. Battle Mountain coach David Itza, who led the Longhorns to the 2A state title, was also named the league and state coach of the year.