Ebbs wins Gatorade Player of the Year award

McNary shortstop Taylor Ebbs gets ready to throw out a runner at first base in a game from last season (File).

Taylor Ebbs has gotten accustomed to receiving accolades for her outstanding softball play — she was the Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year last season as a sophomore.

But on Thursday, May 28, Ebbs received the highest individual honor of her career as the McNary junior was named the 2019-20 Gatorade Oregon Softball Player of the Year.

“It really didn’t hit me at first when I found out. After it settled in, it was just a big ‘wow’ moment for me. I’ve honestly never felt so honored and recognized,” Ebbs said. 

Ebbs’ play on the field speaks for itself. Although her high school season got cancelled this year due to COVID-19, Ebbs was a standout shortstop for Northwest Bullets ASA 18-and-under club in the fall. She batted .414 and had an on-base percentage of .528 against elite national competition.

The stellar play of Ebbs has been even more profound at the high school level. With a career batting average of .596 along with 99 hits, 96 runs batted in, 73 runs scored and a .970 slugging percentage, Ebbs has proven she is one of the top players in the country — she gave her verbal commitment to the University of Kentucky and is considered the No. 49 recruit in the Class of 2021 by Extra Inning Softball.

However, the student-athletes who win this award are not only excellent in their individual sport, they are also people that exude exemplary character and are diligent about their studies.

“Taylor’s a well-rounded person. She’s much more than an athlete,” McNary head coach Kevin Wise said. “She’s an amazing young lady on and off the softball field and she is not only involved at her school, she’s involved in the community, which speaks volumes about her.”

Along with being a star softball player, Ebbs is also an all-league volleyball standout for the Celtics. And when she isn’t competing, you will often see her supporting her classmates at other McNary athletic events.

“I’m appreciative of the support we get at our games, so I want to support the other McNary teams any chance I get. That stuff is really fun for me,” Ebbs said.

However, as it relates to school, Ebbs made it clear that academics come first. Ebbs currently maintains a 3.59 grade-point-average in the classroom and occasionally enrolls in advanced-placement classes.

“I want to play sports but I need my education. That is why academics are a priority for me. It’s all about managing your time well,” Ebbs said.

Time management is an important aspect for Ebbs because it not only gives her the ability to prioritize her studies, it also gives her the bandwidth to serve her community in a multitude of different areas.

Ebbs has spent numerous hours volunteering her time at a food bank and homeless shelter. She also has served as a student trainer and youth softball coach. Most recently, Ebbs made and passed out sandwiches to the homeless in the Keizer area that were in need of a meal.

“I feel for the people that aren’t able to support themselves during this time. Not everyone is as fortunate as me. That’s why I want to do what I can to help,” Ebbs said.

Even though she missed out on her junior season at McNary, expect Ebbs’ impact to continue as she goes into her final season next year. 

“Her leadership is invaluable to this team. Taylor is someone that brings the best out of everyone because her teammates look up to her,” Wise said.