More questions than answers with all-state lists.
By: Brian Fees | Towanda Daily Review | July 19, 2017
By: Brian Fees | Towanda Daily Review | July 19, 2017
Anyone that has followed high school baseball and softball this year saw some of the big performances.
There was Savanah Doney of North Penn-Liberty and Alyssa Yungwirth of Wellsboro in Pennsylvania softball.
There was Cody Jennings of Athens and Nate Sweet of Sayre in Pennsylvania baseball.
How about Tioga's Parker Hendershot and Notre Dame's Courteney Crater? Kipp Hillson of North Penn-Mansfield and Brady Roney of Waverly? Zoe Mennig of Waverly and Annie Williams of Northeast Bradford?
To be certain it was a special year for area baseball and softball teams. Three District 4 baseball titles. Two District 4 softball crowns and another Section 4 Championship. Six titles between area teams and seven teams earning spots in the state playoffs.
For all that success you wouldn't know it looking at the all-state lists in Pennsylvania and New York.
None of the players listed above earned All-State honors this year. That list includes the All-Region Player, pitcher, offensive player and defensive player of the year for both baseball and softball. It also includes the most versatile on the All-Region baseball list and it's a list that includes many athletes who are returning all state and had better seasons this year.
The softball all-state team in Pennsylvania is a hot topic these days. Up until this year there was a list that was nominated and voted upon by coaches and sports writers throughout the state of Pennsylvania. It was a list that recognized kids from all corners of the state.
However, this year things changed. The PBSCA, the Pennsylvania Softball Coaches Association, decided they were going to do the only all-state list in the state and that's where everything went wrong.
The PBSCA has an affiliation with District 6 and that's how you ended up with a list that was basically a District 6 all-star team, with some other players added in.
One NTL softball players did earn all-state honors, ok, well maybe three. Williamson's Kendra Colegrove is on the list. North Penn-Liberty's Brooke Harvey and Athens' Emma Adams both appear to be on the list, but there are some questions, more on that later. All are fully deserving players, who earned all-state honors last year as well.
The issue is that there were so many great players left out.
Doney hit .545 this year with 31 runs scored, 28 RBI and 17 extra base hits. She also went 17-6 on the mound with a 1.49 ERA and 124 strikeouts all for a team that was a district finalist and a state qualifier.
Yungwirth entered her junior year as a two-time all-state player, and all she did was post another dominant season on the mound, while enjoying a career year as a hitter.
Williams was a senior for NEB this year, and had made all-state each of her first three years in high school. This year she had another strong year, and led the Panthers to the District 4 title and the state quarterfinals.
Yet, none of the three made all-state. And, neither did a number of other great players like Athens' Aubrey Allen; Gabby Slater of NEB; Brooke Ward of Canton; Kyleigh Ward of Wyalusing; and many other deserving players.
And, it wasn't just the NTL that got shortchanged.
District 4 had the two NTL girls and three girls from Shamokin on the list, and that's all the district got.
In Class A state runner-up Williams Valley had no all-state players. Final four teams Meyersdale and DubBois CC also were left out.
In AA forget about any of the final four teams earning any recognition as Minersville, who dominated the state tournament, winning 15-0 in the state semis, Chartiers Houston, Bristol and South Side all had no all-state players.
AAA state champ South Park? Runner-up Pine Grove? Any of the Final Four teams? Nothing on the list.
AAAA champs Mt. Pleasant and runner-up Tunkhannock? Any of the Final Four teams in AAAA, you guessed it, they were left out.
AAAAA champion Donegal and runner-up Cedar Cliff? Of Course not. 6A champion Hempfield was represented, however they were the only Final Four team in the class to have anyone on the list.
For those counting at home that's 24 teams that made the state semifinals and a grand total of three of those schools had anyone make all-state.
But, don't worry, some schools were represented just fine.
Of the 11 spots on the list for Class A and AA combined West Greene had four players on the list.
Of the 11 spots on the Class AAA-AAAA list combined Shamokin, Kutztown and Bellefonte combined for seven of those spots.
But, it was Class AAAAA-AAAAAA that really took the cake. 13 total spots, including one honorable mention, and West Allegheny had five of the spots on the list. Hempfield and Chamberstburg each added two more to make nine of the spots on the all-state list between three schools.
With five all-state players in 13 spots on the team you would think West Allegheny dominated the state tournament. You'd think wrong as they didn't even make it to states.
Back to the question on two of the NTL players making all-state. There is an Emma Adams listed on all-state. However, she is listed as an outfielder in Class A-AA. Just a couple problems. Adams doesn't play outfield for Athens, and Athens isn't in A or AA. But, there also doesn't appear to be another Emma Adams among the top players in the state, so it's assumed that it's the Athens standout who is on the list.
For Harvey, there is a Brooke Harvey listed for Northwest on the all-state team. Again, one little issue, there doesn't appear to be a Brooke Harvey on the Northwest softball team this year. There is however a Brooke Harvey playing for North Penn-Liberty, so again we can only assume that a school is listed wrong on the list.
The list definitely leaves a lot of questions. Are Adams and Harvey on the list? Where are all the other top players from the NTL and District 4, along with all the other top teams in the state?
The list isn't fair to the girls who didn't make the all-state team, but it's also not fair to girls like Colegrove, Adams and Harvey.
The three deserve all-state recognition. They deserve to earn this honor, and by doing an incomplete list isn't fair to any of the girls. They don't deserve to wonder if it's their name on the all-state list, the three deserve to be listed on a proper all-state list, like Colegrove and Adams were last year, and enjoy the honor they deserved.
As bad as the all-state softball list is in Pennsylvania, it's better than baseball which hasn't done a proper list in years.
For years the all-state list for baseball was done by the coaches association and only included schools that were members. That left an all-state list that completely ignored more than half the state no matter how good the players were.
Having players completely left out just because their schools weren't members of some organization has never made any sense at all.
Compared to Pennsylvania this year the New York lists were great. Still, there are some major problems.
Somehow there was an all-state baseball list and Tioga's Parker Hendershot was nowhere to be found.
The Tioga senior only hit .645 this year, the ninth best batting average in the history of New York State. He also had eight triples, 10th best all-time in state history.
Hendershot is a multi-time all-state selection, and this year USA Today picked him first team for their all-New York team, which included the best players in the state any class size.
But, when it came to the coaches' association all-state list, no Hendershot. There were two Thomas Edison players on all-state in Class C, two Trumansburg players, a player from Harpursville and one from Unatego, and still no Hendershot.
How can a player who had one of the ten best seasons batting average wise in the state's history, who is committed to play baseball at Division I Penn State next year not be an all-state player? How can six other Section IV players, four of them in the IAC be named and not Hendershot? How can Class C name nearly 70 players and a kid that the USA Today picked as one of the 20 best in the state among all classes not be on there?
A big part of the problem is how the all-state teams in New York are picked. New York does things like Pennsylvania used to, letting sports writers nominate and vote on players, which is fair enough. The problem is that it's only sports writers in New York voting, which hurts schools like Tioga, Waverly and Notre Dame that are on the border. Tioga and Waverly have multiple papers covering them, but both papers are in Pennsylvania. And, so while a team like Trumansburg may have multiple New York papers voting for them, Tioga really has no one with a voice supporting them.
The New York softball all-state team was the most fair of all the area teams, but still there are problems.
For the third year in a row the Notre Dame softball team won a Section IV title. And, they got recognized with four all-state players. However, Crater, who was the All-Region Offensive Player of the Year wasn't one of them.
The baffling this is that she was named to the All-Region list, which includes kids from throughout the Northeast Region of the United States, but she wasn't able to earn a spot on the all-state list.
Next year will be a new year. There will be more great performances and some more players deserving of all-state honors.
Hopefully with the new year will come some better all-state lists that truly recognize all the great talent in the states.