Nealeigh, Russell and Tatarevic named MVPs

By Kyle Shaner kshaner@civitasmedia.com

June 14, 2014

DARKE COUNTY — Greenville had a strong spring sports season with The Daily Advocate’s 2014 MVPs in baseball, softball and boys tennis all coming from the Treaty City.

Greenville’s Voja Tatarevic has been named The Daily Advocate’s 2014 Darke County boys tennis MVP, Greenville’s Ally Russell has been named The Daily Advocate’s 2014 Darke County softball MVP, and Greenville’s Colton Nealeigh has been named The Daily Advocate’s 2014 Darke County baseball MVP.

Tatarevic, a senior exchange student from Serbia, led the Green Wave throughout the season as the team’s first singles player. He had a 21-6 record for Greenville at the top singles spot.

“He was a pretty steady No. 1,” Greenville boys tennis coach Dennis Kiser said. “Having that steady performance at the top does help.”

Tatarevic helped lead Greenville to a 12-8 record overall and a 3-2 mark in the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division.

Greenville’s roster is generally pretty deep, Kiser said, but Tatarevic provided an extra element of having a top-line singles player.

“It’s always good to have a nice, strong No. 1 like that,” the coach said. “That was pretty nice because we could do a lot of different things with our lineup.”

Tatarevic qualified for the Ohio High School Athletic Association district tournament by finishing as the runner up in the sectional tournament and was just one win from qualifying for state.

He was named first team all-GWOC North.

Tatarevic has been playing tennis since he was young, Kiser said, and can play anywhere on the court in a match.

“He can come up and volley; he can slice,” Kiser said. “He didn’t really have a whole of weaknesses.”

Russell was named first team all-Ohio for the second year in a row by the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association. She also was named first team all-GWOC and the GWOC North softball player of the year.

“This kid works hard on her game,” Greenville softball coach Jerrod Newland said. “She deserves everything she gets.”

Russell helped guide Greenville to a 25-4 record this season and a 9-1 finish in the GWOC North, claiming yet another division championship.

The Lady Wave junior led the GWOC North with a 1.09 ERA. As the team’s ace pitcher she recorded 21 wins, a save, four shutouts and 197 strikeouts in 154 innings.

“The last few years she’s done a great job in the circle,” Newland said.

While Russell has been a great pitcher, she really stepped up this year as a great hitter, too, which set her apart, Newland said.

The junior led the Lady Wave with a .432 batting average. She also had 26 RBI, 10 doubles and two home runs in 95 at-bats.

“Great season,” Newland said. “She led us offensively, led us on the mound.”

With another year of high school left, Russell is just going to keep improving, Newland said.

“She’s just getting better and better,” he said. “She’s just becoming a better athlete. She’s growing up.”

Nealeigh also was named a first team all-state player with his honor coming from the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association.

The Green Wave senior was named the co-GWOC North baseball player of the year and first team all-GWOC, making him the first Greenville baseball player to earn that honor since the school re-entered the conference.

Nealeigh led the entire GWOC with a .540 batting average and 44 RBI. In 100 at-bats, he had 17 doubles, six triples and three home runs. He also scored 32 runs and stole 14 bases.