By Wayne Crick
With a 3A WSL title in its hands and a trip to state for its efforts, Delta High School’s softball team was honored with several more awards for the 2020 season. Six players were selected for the 2020 3A WSL All Conference team, three on the First Team and three on the Honorable Mention Team. On top of all that, Delta’s Keely Porter was selected as the 2020 3A WSL Player of the Year and Delta coach Jerry Sandoval was picked by his peers as the 3A WSL Coach of the Year.
The three Delta players selected for the First Team are seniors Porter and Keslie Sandoval and junior Teja Smith. The Panthers started three freshmen this season, and as it turned out, all three were selected for the Honorable Mention Team.
Porter led the 3A WSL, and Class 3A, in home runs with eight in regular season play and finished with 10 after hitting two against Limon in the first round of the state tournament. Porter was also first in slugging percentage (1.086) in the league and seventh in state rankings, second in RBIs in league and ninth in state, second in runs scored (37) and fourth in state, 16th in batting average in league (.483), 17th in stolen bases in league (9) and 18th in on base percentage in league (.571).
Keslie Sandoval wasn’t listed high in many statistical categories for the year but had an impact on how she delivered clutch hits throughout the season. She was 25th in the league’s batting race with a .435.
Smith was a major contributor in several categories in 2020. She was crucial in the lineup and finished as the 3A WSLs leading RBI producer with 36, which ranked her second in Class 3A. Smith was third in runs scored (31) in the league and ninth in state, seventh in the league in batting average (.548) and 30th in state, 11th in slugging percentage (.742) in league, 14th in on base percentage (.594) and 10th in stolen bases (14) in league and 27th in state.
Delta’s freshmen were special in 2020 for the Panthers. Ava Shaball and Juelz Sandoval played the season at third base and shortstop, respectively, for Delta. Both were in the top 25 for batting average in the league with Shaball finishing 12th and hitting .511 and Sandoval finishing 21st and batting .450. Sandoval finished fourth in the league, and 17th, in the RBI race with 24 runs batted in. Sandoval was 14th in runs scored (20) in league with Shaball finishing 16th in on base percentage (.582) in the league.
Tatem Miller, the third Delta freshman to receive Honorable Mention honors, played in the outfield and pitched for the Panthers. She was second in games won as a pitcher (5-0) in the league and finished 5-1 following her loss to Limon in the state playoffs. Miller was second in strikeouts (28) and 37th in state and fourth in ERA (4.40) in league and 22nd in state. In non-pitching statistics, Miller excelled finishing first in runs scored (38) in league and 2nd in state, second in stolen bases (23) in league and 7th in state, fourth in batting average (.565) and 22nd in state, fifth in slugging percentage (.869) in league and 26th in state, 10th in RBIs (19) in league and 36th in state and 13th in on base percentage (.595).
The Panthers received a double dose of awards with Porter receiving Player of the Year honors for the 3A WSL and coach Jerry Sandoval being picked by his peers as the Coach of the Year for 2020.