YAKIMA, Wash. — Talk about making the most of your final go-round.
Payton Gibbs, a sophomore at Bellevue Community College, tore up the NWAC in her final softball season with the Bulldogs.
The Selah High graduate was a dominant force on the mound and at the plate en route to being named the NWAC Northern Region Most Valuable Player this spring.
As a pitcher, Gibbs led the entire NWAC in wins (23), strikeouts (191) and ERA (2.15) during the regular season. She finished 23-7 with 21 complete games and four shutouts.
Gibbs was just as dominant at the plate, hitting .455. She had 20 home runs and 76 RBI, both second-best in the NWAC, along with 20 doubles and 46 runs scored.
That effort helped Bellevue reach the NWAC tournament, where Gibbs was named to the all-tournament team as the Bulldogs placed fourth.
CHLOE GOYETTE (West Valley), a tennis player at Montana State University, was named the Big Sky Conference Freshman Player of the Year and also named to the all-conference first-team in singles. She had a 15-4 overall record in singles, including 10-1 in league matches. Goyette was 6-2 playing No. 1 singles and 9-2 in No. 2 singles matches.
Five area athletes were NWAC Academic Excellence award winners this spring — GARRETT HULL (Ellensburg) and MICHAEL WYATT (Ellensburg) in baseball, DERRICK PHELPS (Zillah) in golf, and ALLIE KOPCZYNSKI (Ellensburg) and KARLY MALCOLM (Ellensburg) in softball.
Wyatt, a sophomore at Columbia Basin and currently with the Yakima Valley Pippins, hit .322 with 50 runs, 41 RBI and 12 stolen bases this season.
Hull, a sophomore at Spokane, hit .328 in limited action.
Kopczynski, a sophomore at Wenatchee Valley, led the NWAC in doubles (24) and ranked sixth in both average (.486) and RBI (61). She also scored 44 runs and hit six homers.
Malcolm, also a sophomore at Wenatchee Valley, hit .267 with 24 runs and 11 stolen bases.
Phelps, a sophomore at Spokane CC, tied for sixth at the NWAC Championships on May 21-22 at the Home Course in Dupont. He closed with a 3-under par 69 to finish at even par 144.
Two other baseball players had solid NWAC seasons.
DUSTIN YATES (Selah), a freshman at Spokane and also a member of the Pippins, hit .370, 11th in the NWAC, with 23 runs, 29 RBI and 11 doubles, and ISAAC WERSLAND (Cle Elum), also a freshman at Spokane, tied for second in the NWAC with eight home runs. He also had 29 runs and 22 RBI.
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