Fallbrook High School senior Hailey Drew was selected by the Avocado West League’s softball coaches as the league’s player of the year for the 2014 season.
“I’m really honored for that. That’s what I’ve been working for my whole high school career,” Drew said.
The coaches’ meeting gave all-league honors to a total of five Fallbrook players. Drew was joined on the all-league first team by juniors Dani DeVera and Brooke Koran.
“All three of those girls had good years,” said Patti Drew, who is Fallbrook’s co-coach as well as Hailey Drew’s mother. “They all had good years and were deserving of the honor.”
Brooke Koran’s mother is Fallbrook’s other co-coach. “I think all three are very deserving of it,” Shannon Koran said.
The second-team selections included Fallbrook senior Lauren Hirota. Warrior junior Morgan Pilbin was recognized at the honorable mention level.
“Really happy with it,” Shannon Koran said of five Fallbrook players receiving all-league recognition. “We’ve been really fortunate that coaches in our league have seen the kind of talent that we have.”
Hailey Drew batted .487 for the season, including .593 against Avocado West League competition. Her 10 walks gave her a .533 on-base percentage. Drew’s 43 hits included seven doubles, two triples, and three home runs. She scored 35 times while driving in 11 runs, and she stole 20 bases. Her shortstop activity included a .925 fielding percentage and participation in 11 double plays.
“I think Hailey is the best shortstop in San Diego County,” Shannon Koran said.
“The other coaches recognized her contribution to our team as well as her ability and decided to honor that. She had a great year,” Patti Drew said. “She was really well-deserving.”
Although Hailey Drew had not previously been selected as a league player of the year, this year’s first-team recognition gave her top-level status for all four of her high school softball seasons.
Fallbrook was in the Avocado East League in 2011 and 2012 when Drew was on that league’s first team both years, and she was a first-team selection of the 2013 Avocado West League coaches.
Drew also became the second Drew sister to receive league player of the year honors and to earn all-league honors for all four years. Kaylie Drew was the Avocado East League player of the year in 2012 and was a second-team Avocado League selection in 2009 before earning first-team Avocado League honors for 2010. Both Drew sisters received first-team Avocado East League distinction in 2011 and 2012.
Brooke Koran threw 194 of Fallbrook’s 198 innings. “There are not a whole lot of teams that only have one pitcher,” Shannon Koran said.
“Brooke pitched all but four innings for us the entire season,” Patti Drew said. “Brooke was our workhorse this year.”
The four innings Veronica Lowry pitched included two appearances in the Spring Jamboree tournament in Las Vegas. Brooke Koran and Lowry combined for a no-hitter against Pahrump High School in a game shortened to five innings due to a time limit. Koran threw three complete-game shutouts, including a 1-0 victory in a 12-inning CIF playoff game against Point Loma in which Koran no-hit the Pointers for the first 11 1/3 innings.
Koran’s record was 16-11-2, which was also Fallbrook’s overall season record. The Warriors were 3-5 in league play, giving the team fourth place in the standings. Games cancelled due to the May 13-16 fires were not made up, costing Fallbrook two contests against teams the Warriors beat in the first round of league play. Koran had an earned run average of 2.08 and struck out 88 batters.
“She had a really good year on the mound, and I think it was well-deserved,” Drew said of Koran’s first-team distinction.
Koran batted as the Warriors’ clean-up hitter. Her .293 batting average included a .346 statistic in league games, and her offense included two home runs and 12 runs batted in.
Koran was on the Avocado East League second team in 2012 as a freshman and on the Avocado West League second team for her sophomore season in 2013.
DeVera batted .320, including .300 against league opposition, and led the team with 14 runs batted in. She plays center field for the Warriors.
“Dani is one of the best outfielders around,” Shannon Koran said.
“Dani was our leader in the outfield,” Drew said. “She made some great catches in the outfield, threw some girls out on the bases.”
DeVera made her all-league debut in 2013, receiving second-team status.
Hirota had a .310 season batting average and hit .381 in league play. As a first baseman, she ended the season with a .991 fielding percentage, committing only two errors in 218 total chances.
“Really good defensive first baseman and had a really good offensive year as well,” Drew said. “It was unfortunate that she got hurt.”
Hirota’s injury was in Fallbrook’s first game of the CIF playoffs; in the top of the seventh inning, Hirota made a game-saving catch of a ball hit by a Mira Mesa batter. She didn’t realize that she injured her knee during the catch until the following morning when she experienced pain and swelling. Hirota started the May 22 playoff game against Otay Ranch but was removed, and she missed the Warriors’ final two playoff games entirely.
“Very happy for her. Really well-deserved,” Koran said.
“As a complete player, she’s right up there with some of the best players in the history of San Diego County,” Koran said. “She just put up great numbers this year, played a great first base.”
Hirota was a four-year starter for the Warriors. As a sophomore in 2012, she received honorable mention Avocado East League distinction. She was an Avocado West League honorable mention selection in 2013.
Pilbin was batting over .420 entering league play, although a .231 average in league competition left her with a final season batting average of .307. She only struck out four times in 97 plate appearances, and she drove in eight runs. Pilbin replaced 2013 senior Brittni Arena as Fallbrook’s catcher and, following the completion of league play, Pilbin had two pickoffs during the playoffs.
Pilbin played right field for the Warriors in 2013, when she received honorable mention Avocado West League honors.
Last year, the Warriors had six all-league selections; the five players who repeated all-league accolades in 2014 were joined by Arena, who was recognized at the honorable mention level.