Simkins named to first team as shortstop, second team as pitcher
FARMINGTON — The 5A first team All-State roster almost could have doubled as the roster for the Aztec softball team during the 2017 season.
When the All-State selections were revealed this afternoon, eight Lady Tigers were listed as first team selections.
Paige Adair (pitcher), Kylie Brown (catcher), Sarrah Jones (first base), CheyAnne Stark (shortstop), Jocelyn Ulrich (third base), Ashlynn Bradley, Autumn Petersen and Juliana Mitchell (all outfielders) received first team honors.
"We did really well and I'm very proud. We have almost our whole team on that thing and that's pretty amazing," Aztec coach Roy Johnson said. "But if you ask me I think our whole team deserves to be on there, including Alaina Sayler at second base. She's a fantastic second baseman. But we did very well and I'm very pleased with it to tell you the truth."
Artesia's Kali Crandall (pitcher) and Valencia's Ashley Young (second base) were the other two players named to the first team.
Simkins was an All-State selection at two positions, making the second team as a pitcher despite pitching only 38 innings all season.
Johnson said he thought Simkins' inclusion on the second team was due in part to a recommendation she received from Piedra Vista coach Kevin Werth during the selections for the 5A/6A North-South All-Star Game.
"When they were doing the All-Star selection, Kevin Werth was representing the 6A schools and they asked if anyone knew anything about CheyAnne. Coach Werth said, 'The only thing I can tell you is there's Paige Adair and then there's CheyAnne Simkins, and they're the two best pitchers in this state,'" Johnson said. "I credit her being on there as part of what she's done for us and a little help from Kevin Werth at PV."
Also earning second team nods were Kirtland Central's Tiana Aspaas and Farmington's Shy Pigford — both outfielders.
In 6A, Piedra Vista's Cheyenne Stark and Alyssa Herrod were named to the second team.
Stark, a junior catcher, and Herrod, a senior outfielder, were key components of PV's powerful lineup that averaged a little more than eight runs per game this season.
"Offensively, Cheyenne is probably one of the most feared hitters in the state, in any class," Werth said. "And Alyssa, she's just one of those lunch pail kids who came to work and did her job. She did some things to get on base and help us out — plus she did a great job manning centerfield this year."
Stark led PV in just about every offensive category from her leadoff spot. She boasted a batting average a little under .500, hit 10 home runs and batted in 48 runs.
Herrod spent most of the season in the middle of the Lady Panthers' lineup and posted a .341 average and drove in 22 runs.
Rosters for 4A and A-3A were not available.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.