Richland senior Mason Hilty and Hanford junior Isaac Benard shared the Mid-Columbia Conference player of the year honors for baseball in voting by the leagues coaches this week.
Benard was the run-away triple crown winner, hitting .541 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs. His dinger total was Ruthian one less than the other seven teams in the MCC combined. Benard also scored a league-high 29 runs.
Hilty, a pitcher and shortstop for the Bombers, was 4-1 on the mound with a 3.39 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings pitched. He also hit .446 with 25 RBIs to finish among the league leaders.
Both players will be in action in town Saturday at the Class 3A and 4A regionals. Hanford (12-9) takes on Kamiakin (12-10) in the 3A loser-out game at 10 a.m. at Roy Johnson Field, before Kennewick (18-3) and Southridge (15-6) play for the first berth to state at 1 p.m. The loser of that game plays the winner of the morning game at 4 p.m. for the second berth to state.
Richland (15-6) is hosting the 4A regional and faces Gonzaga Prep (20-1) at 1 p.m. in the battle of district No. 1s. The winner goes on to state, while the loser will play the winner of a 10 a.m. game between Walla Walla (7-14) and Mead (14-8) for the second state berth.
Hilty also first team at both pitcher and shortstop and was joined on the first team by fellow Bomber Nate Ruane (second base). Benard is the only Hanford player on the first team, which was dominated by Kennewick.
The Lions placed six on the first team: third baseman Clayten Ayres, catcher Dylan Wilbert, outfielders JJ Hancock, Kaden Julian and Steven Sordahl and pitcher Jarrod Molnaa. All that added up to A.J. Marquardt being named coach of the year.
Rounding out the first team are Southridges Grant Lathim (first base) and designated hitter Conner ONeil, and Pasco junior Justus Scott at utility.
Players of the year: Mason Hilty, Richland, and Isaac Benard, Hanford.
Coach of the year: A.J. Marquardt, Kennewick
1BGrant Lathim, sr., Southridge. 2BNate Ruane, sr., Richland. 3BClayten Ayres, sr., Kennewick. SSMason Hilty, sr., Richland. CDylan Wilbert, sr., Kennewick. OFIsaac Benard, jr., Hanford; JJ Hancock, jr., Kennewick; Kaden Julian, sr., Kennewick; Steven Sordahl, jr., Kennewick. DHConner ONeil, sr., Southridge. UJustus Scott, jr., Pasco. SPJarrod Molnaa, sr., Kennewick; Mason Hilty, sr., Richland.
1BCody Kowalski, sr., Hanford. 2BLarry Dewitt, jr., Kennewick. 3BConner Morfin, jr., Southridge. SSVince Gonzalez, sr., Kennewick. CTyler Kjarmo, jr., Richland; Aaron Enderlin, jr., Hanford. OFAdison Spivey, sr., Southridge; Luis Murillo, sr., Pasco; Spencer Bennion, jr., Chiawana. DHAustin Taylor, sr., Hanford. SPClayten Ayres, sr., Kennewick; Adam Mathews, jr., Walla Walla; David Marshall, jr., Kamiakin.
1BGibson McGeorge, jr., Richland. 2BCole Henderson, sr., Southridge. 3BAnthony Porcaro, jr., Hanford. OFGarrett March, jr., Richland. DHHayden Burris, jr., Kamiakin.