Turner Hill, Ethan Estes honored

One college baseball career is coming to a close, while another is just getting started.

West Liberty’s Ethan Estes and Malone’s Turner Hill both earned postseason accolades this week in their respective conferences.

Estes, a senior who graduated from Warren in 2014, was a first team All-Mountain East Conference selection after a stellar final season on the diamond.

Hill, a freshman for the Pioneers and a class of 2017 Marietta High alumnus, was tabbed second team All-Great Midwest Athletic Conference and named G-MAC Freshman of the Year.

Those are high honors for two baseball players who, not long ago, made names for themselves as prep stars in Washington County.

Estes was the starting shortstop on Warren’s 2013 team that won a Southeast District championship, while Hill led the Tigers to a district title last season.

Neither player missed a beat when continuing their baseball careers at the NCAA Division II level.

After leading the Hilltoppers with seven home runs a a year ago, Estes continued his hot hitting into his senior year. From West Liberty’s athletics website, “Estes, a slick-fielding senior from Fleming, Ohio, hit .324 with a .429 on-base average and a .535 slugging percentage to rank among West Liberty’s offensive leaders. He had 46 hits in 142 at-bats with 19 of them going for extra bases. He scored 39 runs and drove in 32 more while going 10-for-12 in stolen base attempts.”

A slick defender at short, Estes “committed only eight errors in 134 chances and turned in several highlight-reel plays over the course of the season,” the website continued.

Estes no doubt will be missed at West Liberty, though he’s not finished just yet — the Hilltoppers begin MEC Tournament play today against Concord.

Fortunately for Malone skipper Tom Crank, he gets three more years of Hill. The left-hander jumped right into the Pioneers’ lineup early this season and immediately made an impact.

Hill not only led Malone in several statistical categories, but was near the top among all G-MAC freshmen offensively.

A two-time All-Ohioan in high school, Hill “transitioned seamlessly into the college game as he became the second consecutive Pioneer to earn G-MAC Freshman of the Year,” the Malone athletics website stated. “Hill posted a team-high .357 batting average, highest among G-MAC freshman, fourth G-MAC among outfielders, and eighth best overall. His team-high .474 on-base percentage was fifth in the G-MAC, second among G-MAC outfielders, and highest among G-MAC freshmen.”

The Pioneers opened G-MAC Tournament play Wednesday with a 10-8 victory over Ohio Valley.

ETTA EXPRESS: Speaking of conference tourneys, the Marietta College Pioneers are ready for their Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament opener at 3 p.m. today against Baldwin Wallace. The tournament is being hosted by top-seeded Otterbein.

The Pioneers (26-14) can earn an automatic big to regionals by winning the OAC tourney.

Jordan Holland is an associate sports editor for The Marietta Times. He can be reached at jholland@mariettatimes.com