Lincoln County softball coach Pat Kelley lost five players to graduation from his 2014 state championship team, and had only one senior coming back to defend his team’s title this season.
The good news: it was Aspen Wilkin.
Wilkin, a four-year varsity player, won 17 games in the pitcher’s circle and was one of the league’s top hitters this season for the Lynx. For her efforts, she was named the Division III Southern League Most Valuable Player by league coaches.
“I don’t think we would’ve won state (without her),” Kelley said. “That pitching was key. You just have the confidence. We had a lot of young kids, and we were experimenting and putting a lot of girls in different positions. But we knew, all the time, we had her control and pitching.”
Wilkin, who finished 17-6 with 146 strikeouts and 32 walks, also had a .505 batting average with 13 home runs and 31 RBIs to lead the youthful Lynx, who had eight underclassmen on their roster.
“Aspen loved to hit,” Kelley said. “She probably loved to hit more than she liked to pitch. She took a lot of pride in it. We’ll definitely miss her. She was a leader and our captain. The kids looked up to her. She was great with the young girls.”
Lincoln County’s Cameron Lloyd, Chesnee Harding, Easton Tingey and Kia Phillips led the All-Southern League first team, along with White Pine’s Ashlyn Huntington, Debra Kingston, Jane Murdock and Teal Hussey.
Needles’ Brenna Chavez, Melanie Leslie-Merchain and Paige Lewis also were on the first team, alongside Mountain View’s Elle Germany, Rose Adkins and Savannah Alley.
White Pine’s Shania Hall was selected Pitcher of the Year, and Lake Mead’s Josey White won Rookie of the Year.
The Meadows’ Craig Campbell took home Coach of the Year honors.
In baseball, The Meadows’ Alex Agrawal and Lincoln County’s McClain O’Connor were selected co-Most Valuable Players.
O’Connor finished with a .632 batting average with two home runs and 50 RBIs. He also went 4-1 with a 1.77 earned run average in 39 2/3 innings for the Lynx.
Needles placed four players on the All-Southern League first team: Trenton Poe-Evans, William Dunn, Kobee McCorkle and Benny Robinson.
Lincoln County’s Derek Shumway, Mike Wood and Preston Robbins also made the first team, along with Mountain View’s Chase Ottofy, Josh Stanton and Ian Locke; The Meadows’ Jacob Gleason and Adam Martinez; and White Pine’s Kade Britton.