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SBLive's 2023 Washington high school softball all-state team: Jackson's Yanina Sherwood is player of year

Junior ace pitcher led Timberwolves to dominant Class 4A title run; North Kitsap's Clay Blackwood is state coach of year

Here is SBLive’s 2023 spring all-state team for Washington high school softball. The statewide team spans all WIAA classifications and was compiled by senior reporter Todd Milles.

Read: 20 position players to watch in 2023 WIAA softball postseason

Read: 20 pitchers to watch in 2023 WIAA softball postseason

Players were selected based on spring high school performance, coach recommendations, all-league awards and overall team success, especially in the postseason.

Player of the year: Yanina Sherwood, Jackson, jr.

Yanina Sherwood, Jackson softball, class of 2024

Returned relaxed and determined from a slightly-down sophomore season, added a third off-speed pitch - and evolved into the type of all-state workhorse pitcher that carries programs to championships. The UNLV commit did it at all three levels - 4A Wesco, District 1/2 and the grand-daddy Class 4A title over Glacier Peak. After No. 2 pitcher Allie Thomsen came down with an offseason injury, the Timberwolves were left with no real backup. Sherwood volunteered to pitch every inning.

"She wanted to face that challenge, and I give her all the credit. The work she put in the last 10 months was incredible," Jackson coach Kyle Peacocke said.

Pitched a classification-best 164 innings, striking out 255 batters - and finished the spring with a 24-1 record and 0.55 earned-run average. Also hit .381 with five home runs in the middle of the Timberwolves' lineup.

Coach of the year: Clay Blackwood, North Kitsap

Clay Blackwood, North Kitsap softball coach

A 1990 North Kitsap graduate, Blackwood loves the school for which he coaches. "We are a North Kitsap family," he said. "Viking pride here." After washing out at Olympic College as a baseball player, he began working at a floral shop where his boss sponsored a youth softball team in Poulsbo. He jumped at the chance to help out, was an all-star manager at age 21 - and has been involved in the sport ever since. After coaching volleyball and softball at various college stops, Blackwood returned for a second stint at North Kitsap in 2020 to coach an up-and-coming team that included his daughter, Reyna. And he won over this group with his endlessly-positive outlook, leading the Vikings not only to a first Class 2A title, but an undefeated championship run (25-0).

4A player of the year: Tia Milloy, Redmond, jr.

Tia Milloy, Redmond softball, class of 2022. Taken at 4A D1/D2 district tournament in Everett

Catalyst on young returning Class 4A championship squad, this Oklahoma commit also battled injuries. When all-4A KingCo hitter was in lineup, she was her usual uniquely-dangerous self (.629 batting average, 10 extra-base hits in 35 at-bats).

3A player of the year: Alli Kimball, Peninsula, sr.

2023 Washington softball: Class 3A tournament in Lacey, Peninsula vs. Gig Harbor in quarterfinals

Also cashed in on terrific trifecta, leading Seahawks to 3A SSC, District 3/4 and WIAA titles this spring. WWU signee (20-2, 1.07 ERA, 250 strikeouts in 143.1 IP; .552 BA) capped it off with a win in circle, and game-winning home run against Snohomish.

2A player of the year: McKenzie Phillips, North Kitsap, sr.

McKenzie Phillips, North Kitsap softball, class of 2023

Every championship squad needs an anchor - and this senior catcher for the Vikings was it in all aspects. Batted .522 with 23 extra-base hits (including nine HR), including late two-run blast that sewed up team's' title-game win over Ridgefield.

1A player of the year: Riley Timmons, Montesano, jr.

auburn riverside softball invite jackson peninsula montesano march20233

The 1A Evergreen's top two-way threat, she hit a walkoff home run to net Bulldogs a district title, then dominated in the circle (2.19 ERA, 146 strikeouts in 104 IP) as the program won the WIAA title over Royal. Committed to University of Providence.

2B player of the year: Karlee VonMoos, Adna, sr.

Karlee VonMoos, Adna softball, class of 2023

Multiple-sport standout completed outstanding career with another WIAA softball title this spring for Pirates. Ceded some pitching workload (6-2, 3.27 ERA) to Ava Simms, but was still a middle-of-lineup terror (.630 BA, 10 HR, 46 RBI).

1B player of the year: Hannah Butcher, Liberty Christian, jr.

Hannah Butcher, Liberty Christian softball, class of 2024

Patriots were on dominate-to-state mission as repeat Class 1B champions - and Butcher was at forefront of it all. She was table-setter at plate (.429 BA, 10 XBH, 50 runs, 16 SB) and shutdown in circle (12-0, 1.03 ERA, 144 strikeouts in 61.0 IP).


Kyla Cross, Bonney Lake softball, class of 2023

Kyla Cross, Bonney Lake outfielder

Catcher: Ally Hetzel, Mount Si, soph.

Team had an up-and-down year - but this 4A KingCo offensive MVP (.515 BA, 11 HR, 36 RBI in 23 games) did not.

Catcher: Raquelle Justice, Walla Walla, sr.

On and off field, Utah Valley signee set shining example, and was three-time all-4A/3A MCC first teamer (.501 BA, 18 XBH, 14 SB).

Corner infielder: Scarlette Chapman, Kamiak, jr.

Knights had most balanced lineup in 4A Wesco, and this all-league first baseman was its toughest out (.674 BA, 15 doubles, 50 RBI).

Corner infielder: Kyra Smith, Puyallup, jr.

Bombs away! When this all-4A SPSL third baseman got a hold of pitches, they went far (.495 BA, 14 HR, 50 RBI), especially in playoffs.

Middle infielder: Alexis DeBoer, Bellevue, jr.

Transplant from California showed why she's headed to UW - all 3A KingCo shortstop wrecked all pitching (.683 BA, 14 HR, 44 RBI in 22 games).

Middle infielder: Emma Hansen, Snohomish, sr.

Everything she hit was a laser or moonshot - and the all-3A Wesco shortstop (.500 BA, 13 HR, 38 RBI) led Panthers to Class 3A title game. Headed to Everett CC.

Middle infielder: Camryn McDonald, Othello, sr.

For four seasons, nobody could get this 2A CWAC player of the year out (.750 BA, 10 HR; only struck out once in career). Signed as shortstop to Idaho State.

Middle infielder: Rachel Sysum, Jackson, jr.

Time and time again, all-4A Wesco shortstop came up with game-changing hits. Hit school-record 15 home runs and batted .400.

Middle infielder: Mallory Vancleave, Ridgefield, jr.

Dazzling defender who has a big-time bat from the leadoff spot (.558 BA, six HR), Fresno State commit voted two-time 2A GSHL MVP this spring.

Outfielder: Kyla Cross, Bonney Lake, sr.

Opponents rave about all-3A PCL first teamer's plate coverage - for power and average (.467 BA, 16 HR, 32 XBH, 53 RBI).

Outfielder: Sophia Sams, Richland, soph.

Caught anything in sight, and was offensive catalyst (.512 BA, 18 XBH, 36 RBI) for 4A/3A MCC champions. Also was team's top pitcher (14-2, 2.37 ERA).

Emi Connell, Liberty of Issaquah softball, class of 2025

Emi Connell, Liberty of Issaquah slugger

Designated hitter: Emi Connell, Liberty of Issaquah, soph.

Who was the home-run queen in Washington this spring? It was this all-3A KingCo performer, who smashed 21 long balls with 75 RBI in 29 games.

Utility: Taryn Bennett, Bothell, sr.

Hampton signee made operation go for 4A KingCo champions - both as leadoff hitter (.518 OBP) and high-spin pitcher (10-1, 2.54 ERA, 160 strikeouts in 91.0 IP).

Utility: Faith Jordan, Glacier Peak, sr.

Intense gamer (1.01 ERA, 126 strikeouts in 80 IP; .411 BA, eight HR, 43 RBI) led Grizzlies to first Class 4A title game, and is headed to Fresno State.

Utility: Steffi Young, Roosevelt, sr.

All-3A Metro League two-way leader (15-3, 2.63 ERA; .522 BA, 12 doubles, six HR, 39 RBI) led Roughriders to back-to-back state semifinals.

Kentwood vs. Skyview for Class 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district championship at Kent Service Fields MAIN

Sarah Wright, Kentwood pitcher.

Pitcher: Jessie Gilbert, Ocosta, soph.

Crashed WIAA playoffs as small-school softball's most electric flame-thrower (12-2, 0.81 ERA, 276 strikeouts in 113 IP; also had .603 BA with 10 HR).

Pitcher: Maddie Milhorn, Skyview, soph.

Nobody in state throws harder (low-70s) than Gatorade state player of year winner. 4A GSHL co-MVP was lights-out (17-1, 0.82 ERA, 219 strikeouts in 111.1 IP; hit 16 HR).

Pitcher: Sami Potvin, Olympia, jr.

Underrated 4A SPSL flexed muscle in postseason - and league pitching MVP had to navigate those dangerous lineups (14-5, 1.55 ERA, 255 strikeouts in 135.1 IP).

Pitcher: Julianne Rose, Bothell, jr.

Pure gas - and the 4A KingCo pitcher of the year mowed down hitters (17-3, 1.78 ERA, 188 strikeouts in 106 IP) with high-60s heat.

Pitcher: Sarah Wright, Kentwood, jr.

Still the one pitcher you might want most in a big game. Arizona commit did her thing this spring (16-4, 0.53 ERA, 230 strikeouts in 105 IP) for Conks.

2023 Washington softball: Class 3A tournament in Lacey, Snohomish vs. Mount Spokane

Jessica Waters, Mount Spokane senior

Honorable mention - C: Maddie Knowles, Cedarcrest, sr. CI: Jayden Holdren, Southridge, soph. CI: Jessica Waters, Mount Spokane, sr. MI: Malia Coit, Peninsula, jr. MI: Raygun Klippert, Rogers of Puyallup, jr. MI: Riley Peschek, Gig Harbor, sr. MI: Isabel Quintanilla, Emerald Ridge, sr. MI: Gabi Toney, Inglemoor, jr. OF: Payton Chacon, Richland, sr. OF: Brooklyn Dryden, Deer Park, sr. OF: Maddie Lee, Roosevelt, soph. Uti: Skyla Bristol, Snohomish, sr. Uti: Elyse McMullin, Liberty of Issaquah, sr. Uti: Crimson Rice, Shadle Park, jr. P: Reese Anderson, North Kitsap, soph. P: Emersyn Bakker, Blaine, jr. P: Ella Ferguson, Tumwater, soph. P: Madison Ortega-Sanchez, Royal, sr. P: Rylee Rehbein, Battle Ground, sr.