DARKE COUNTY – A pair of pitchers who had dominating seasons for their teams are The Daily Advocate’s baseball and softball MVPs for the 2016 season.
Greenville’s Allison Minnich has been named The Daily Advocate’s softball player of the year, and Versailles’ Brett McEldowney has been named The Daily Advocate’s baseball player of the year.
Minnich was a four-year starter for the Greenville softball team and helped lead the Lady Wave to four consecutive Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division championships.
After primarily playing first base her first three years of high school, she shifted to pitcher this season and was the Wave’s ace. She pitched in 26 games, compiling a 19-6 record and a 1.70 ERA.
For her efforts, she garnered first team all-Ohio honors from the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association.
Minnich combined with fellow pitcher Sydney Grote to throw three no-hitters including a pair of perfect games this past season.
Individually, Minnich threw a 10-inning shutout against 2015 Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I state runner up Lebanon and also shutout Granville in the regional semifinals of the OHSAA tournament.
“Minnich ran with the ball in the circle and was first team all-Ohio this year,” Greenville softball coach Jerrod Newland said. “Shutting out Lebanon and Granville were two crazy outings.”
Minnich helped lead the Lady Wave to the regional finals of the OHSAA tournament three times in the past four years, including this year. She and fellow seniors Ashton Kester and Jazzlyn Petry won 104 games in their high school careers.
“The three seniors, I can’t say enough about them,” Newland said. “They came together to lead in an awesome way.”
Now that her high school career is complete, Minnich will play collegiately for Sinclair Community College.
“Allison works hard at her game and was a great leader,” Newland said.
McEldowney also excelled on the mound with a 10-1 record and a 1.57 ERA.
“It really doesn’t get better than that,” Versailles baseball coach Ryan Schlater said. “He had one of the best seasons, at least for a pitcher, that we’ve had in a while.”
Along with a stellar season as a pitcher, McEldowney excelled as a hitter, too. He led Darke County with 23 RBIs and posted a .368 batting average.
“That’s extremely good,” Schlater said. “He’s just an overall really good player.”
With McEldowney’s leadership, Versailles won the Midwest Athletic Conference championship and made it to the state final four of the OHSAA tournament.
In the state semifinals McEldowney led the Tigers offensively with two hits. He also had a strong game pitching, allowing just four hits in his only loss of the season.
“Basically every time he went out there he threw strikes and got outs,” Schlater said.
Having finished a stellar high school career, McEldowney will continue playing baseball for the University of Northwestern Ohio.
“I think he’s going to have a really bright future ahead of him,” Schlater said.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.