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21st Annual Warren Spahn Awards Gala held last Friday at Skirvin Hotel

McKenzie Wagoner and Mike Crossley take the spotlight!

It was a wonderful evening for a couple of Newcastle softball stalwarts last Friday night in downtown Oklahoma City at the Skirvin Plaza Hotel. Newcastle head coach Mike Crossley and outgoing senior pitcher McKenzie Wagoner were both honored at the 21st Annual Warren Spahn Awards Gala for their supreme efforts last fall in earning the Racers the second Class 4A state championship in school history.

The ceremonies were hosted by well-known baseball broadcaster Bob Carpenter. Carpenter has been the Washington Nationals television broadcaster since 2006. Carpenter also has been an announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, and Texas Rangers. He spent 18 seasons as a baseball announcer with ESPN.

Carpenter seemed to adore every award honoree that came on stage. The first group of honorees that he introduced was the Michelle Smith Award winners – given to five outstanding high school softball players in the state of Oklahoma, based on citizenship and athletic ability.

That group included Katelynn Carwile of Purcell, Savannah Evans of Broken Arrow, Paige Knight from Owasso, Mikayla Smith from Southmoore… and Newcastle’s own McKenzie Wagoner. Wagoner (a straight ‘A’ student) went a remarkable 24-3 her senior season with a miniscule 0.37 earned run average and a whopping 291 strikeouts in just 172 innings.

She pitched – and won – all three games during Newcastle’s state championship tournament in Shawnee with 24 scoreless innings. She’s headed next year to Liberty University in Virginia to play for former Olympian Dot Richardson.

Crossley was named the Michelle Smith Award recipient for outstanding coach. Crossley led the Racers to a 32-6 record and the Class 4A state crown.

It was the second in Newcastle’s softball history, following the 2014 Class 4A state championship. Crossley has led the Lady Racers to the state tournament 27 times during his career at Newcastle. The 2019 Ferguson Jenkins Award recipients (for Oklahoma’s top baseball players) included Jace Bohrofen of Westmoore, Daxton Fulton from Mustang, Cade Horton of Norman, Dominic Johnson from Edmond Santa Fe, and Nate Wohlgemuth of Owasso. Coach Ryan Phillips of Edmond Santa Fe also earned accolades as outstanding coach.

Patrick Corbin of the Washington Nationals was the Warren Spahn Award winner, which is given to the top left-handed pitcher in major league baseball. Corbin helped the Nationals to the World Series title last fall with a 14-7 record, a 3.25 ERA, and 238 strikeouts during the regular season.

Jenkins is a Hall of Famer who won 284 games in the majors and struck out 3,192 batters. The 1971 Cy Young Award winner with the Chicago Cubs won 20 or more games six years in a row.

Smith (a left-handed pitcher) starred for Oklahoma State and was a College World Series star for the Cowgirls. She was a member of the 1996 and 2000 Olympic softball teams and is an ESPN announcer.

Spahn was a 363-game winner during his major league career – tops all-time among all lefties. The first Warren Spahn Award winner was Hall of Famer Randy Johnson in 1999.

The Newcastle Pacer

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