SHIPPENVILLE, Pa. – Three teams that made strong impacts on the District 9 baseball scene in 2017 are where the D9Sports.com District 9 Baseball Award winners for the year come from.
District 9 Class 1A champion Oswayo Valley, which won its second D9 title in three years, as the D9Sports.com Baseball MVP – Garren Black – and the D9Sports.com Baseball Offensive Player of the Year – Garret Babcock.
Clarion, the District 9 Class 1A runner-up who then made it to the PIAA Class 1A title game before falling 2-0 to Meyersdale, features the Pitcher of the Year in Reed Anthony and the Manager of the Year in Rob Jewett, while Brookville, the District 9 Class 2A champion and a PIAA semifinalist, features the Rookie of the Year in Aaron Park.
2017 D9SPORTS.COM DISTRICT 9 BASEBALL AWARDS
MVP: Garren Black, Oswayo Valley, Junior
Black, a junior, had a phenomenal year both on the mound and at the plate for the Green Wave, who advanced to the D9 1A title game for the third straight year winning it for the second time during that span – they were also the 2015 champions – with a 4-1, eight-inning win over Clarion. Oswayo Valley then went on to the PIAA quarterfinals where it lost to Greensburg Central Catholic.
One of the top pitchers in the district, Black was 10-1 with a 0.83 ERA. In 59 innings of work, the lefty struck out 79.
Black was almost as good at the plate hitting .413 with seven doubles, a triple, 20 RBIs and six stolen bases.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Reed Anthony, Clarion, Senior
Anthony was incredible all season finishing 11-1 with a 0.40 ERA. In 70 ⅓ innings on the mound, the crafty lefty allowed just 11 runs, four earned, while giving up 38 hits and 23 walks for a WHIP of 0.87. He also struck out 76, and opponents hit .153 against him.
At his best during the PIAA playoffs, Anthony pitched in three of Clarion’s four PIAA games – he wasn’t eligible to pitch in the title game – throwing 17 innings without allowing a run. He struck out 18, walked only two and gave up eight hits during the PIAA postseason. His best game came against Greensburg Central Catholic in the PIAA semifinals when he went six scoreless innings giving up three hits and a walk while striking out seven in helping the Bobcats defeat the WPIAL runner-up Centurions, 1-0, on a walk-off error in the bottom of the seventh off a ball he hit. That came just four days after he threw a three-hit shutout against Elk County Catholic in the quarterfinals.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Garret Babcock, Oswayo Valley, Senior
Babcock was another big reason Oswayo Valley won the District 9 Class 1A title while advancing to the PIAA quarterfinals.
He hit .422 with 10 doubles, four triples, a home run and 26 RBIs while stealing 15 of 17 bases.
Babcock also walked 17 times and was hit by a pitch while producing an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.286.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Aaron Park, Brookville, Freshman
Park earns his second Rookie of Year award this season after also garnering the award during basketball season.
The freshman righty quickly matured into one of the top players in District 9 hitting .413 with four doubles, a triple and 19 RBIs for the District 9 Class 2A champion Raiders, who advanced to the PIAA semifinals despite having only two seniors and a junior on the roster. He was also one of two aces for Brookville going 8-3 on the mound with a 1.53 ERA. In 59 ⅔ innings of work, he struck out 45.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Rob Jewett, Clarion
Jewett guided the Bobcats to a 21-4 record on the year recording a school record for wins. Clarion finished second in District 9 Class 1A suffering a tough, 4-1, eight-inning loss to Oswayo Valley in the title game. But the Bobcats rebounded by winning three consecutive PIAA playoff games defeating Berlin Brothersvalley, 4-3, Elk County Catholic, 3-0, and Greensburg Central Catholic, 1-0, to earn a berth in the PIAA Class 1A title game for the first time in school history.
While Clarion, the first Clarion County team to reach a PIAA title game in a ball sport since Keystone football in 1989, didn’t win the title falling 2-0 to Meyersdale, they did become just the eighth District 9 baseball team to reach the finals.