Nealeigh, Russell named overall spring sports MVPs

By Kyle Shaner kshaner@civitasmedia.com

June 28, 2014

DARKE COUNTY — Greenville’s Colton Nealeigh and Ally Russell have been honored as among the best players in the state in their respective sports.

Now, both Green Wave competitors are being honored as the best spring sports athletes in Darke County.

Nealeigh and Russell have been selected as The Daily Advocate’s 2014 Spring Sports MVPs.

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

“It was an honor to coach a kid that’s got those kind of accolades,” Greenville baseball coach Eric Blumenstock said.

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.

“He’s just a natural baseball player,” Blumenstock said. “There’s nothing on the field he can’t do, nothing he isn’t excelling at a regular basis.”

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.

“It was pretty amazing,” Blumenstock said. “Two years in a row now been pretty amazing. One of the best I’ve seen. One of the best I’ve had.”

Nealeigh’s quick hands, great hand-eye coordination and determination make him a great baseball player, Blumenstock said.

“You can always pretty much count on Colton to get you a run or two every game,” the Green Wave coach said.

Nealeigh will continue his baseball career at Sinclair Community College.

Russell was named first team all-Ohio for the second year in a row by the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association and named first team all-North Region for the second year in a row by the National Fastpitch 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.”