By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– McNary’s Taylor Ebbs picked up a major award entering her Senior Season with the Celtics:
Gatorade Softball Player of the Year for Oregon.
The organization picks out Top 5 nominations and send out an email to the coaches letting them know they have a player on the list. The email asks for recommendation letters from other coaches, teacher/administrator, member of the community as well as a small write up by the Head Coach. The player fills out some information as well
“The thing I love about this award is that it is based on this person being all around great. They want kids who are great students, people, and athletes. This eliminates some kids because the grades aren’t there, or they are not well rounded, or they are not involved outside of their sport,” said Celtic Head Coach Kevin Wise.
Ebbs was coming off being first-team All-Mountain Valley Conference, MVC Player of the Year and First-team All-State in 6A for a Celt squad who reached the second-round of the postseason with a 20-9 record. According to Gatorade’s Press Release of the announcement, Ebbs carries a weighted 3.59 GPA and had a .596 batting average with 96 RBI’s and 99 Hits last season.
The McNary Junior was expected to be a part of an incredibly strong returning nucleus this season before the Coronavirus Pandemic canceled the season days before the first game of the year. Ebbs mentioned how the award just proves the hard work she’s been putting in up to this point while being motivated for what is ahead.
“I feel so honored to be receiving such a prestigious award. I’ve been working and have worked very hard to be able to play at the level I’m playing at and it feels good to have that work be recognized,” Ebbs said. “I’m continuously motivated to keep getting better every day to be ready to play at the next level. This award inspires me to not only keep pushing myself to be better on the field but also academically and in my community.”
For Wise, he’s excited for Ebbs. He admits too that it’s hard to put into words about a person like Ebbs with her hard-work, the drive, the leadership on and off the diamond that has made the McNary shortstop deserving of the award entering her final year with McNary.
Wise pointed out to one situation in which Ebbs had turned a workout around with the team over the Winter:
“Her attitude and work ethic help push all of us to another level. One example of this was a workout over the winter. Taylor was late because she had a hitting lesson in Portland. Before she arrived, the workout was okay, but it lacked that extra energy and excitement we would like to see. Once she arrived it changed,” Wise starts. “We were working on pickles. She started as the runner on 3rd. She was heading home and the catcher was ready to tag her.
“She is so competitive that she dove and slid around the tag – safe at home. The thing with this is that we were in the gym and told the girls not to slide. Taylor did not want to get out, even though it was only a drill in the gym. Once that happened there was yelling and cheering and the other girls started to follow suit. The intensity of the drill and the workout picked up and it went to another level. This is what she brings to our team. I don’t want to downplay how good our other players are, because we have a lot of talent, but Taylor helps push all of us to be better and work harder because of her attitude and competitiveness.”
It speaks to her work ethic that she brings to the field as well as off-the-field with the AP and honors courses, involvement with campus events and leadership that has Ebbs the well-rounded person she is today.
McNary returns all but one Senior next Spring with the departure of Alexa Cepeda and is expected to be yet another strong team when they return to the field in 2021 ready to play again. As weird as it would be not to have Cepeda with that strong group, Wise is ready to see how Ebbs and the crew does when the day comes around.
“I am so excited that we have Taylor for another year. We have a very, very strong group and her leadership will be invaluable. She sets the tone in the classroom and on the field. Luckily, we only had one senior this year, Alexa Cepeda. I feel absolutely horrible for her,” said Wise. “I am so thankful that she will be able to play at Portland State and continue her career. She will definitely be missed because she brings a lot to the table on and off the field as well!”