Though only a 15-year-old freshman, Molly Smith
put together one of the greatest masterpieces of the 2011 softball season when she sparked Yamhill-Carlton (Yamhill, Ore.)
to a 3-0 victory over Seaside (Ore.).
The 5-foot-6 standout struck out 20 of the 21 batters she faced during the seven-inning contest, which lasted just one hour and 15 minutes. If not for a third-inning checked-swing that resulted in a popup to the shortstop, she could have mowed down every batter in what still turned out to be a rare perfect game.
"I was very excited; I just couldn't believe it. It was our first league game and that made it more special," Smith told MaxPreps. "My strikeout pitch was probably my curveball. It really worked and was really moving. I dreamt about it a lot. I wanted one really badly in order for me to succeed as a confidence builder and show me that I could do it. It's a mental game with batters and I don't want them to get past me."
Coach John Kuehnel called Smith's gem "the most dominating performance by a pitcher that I ever have seen. That was just awesome to see. We were on pins and needles the last couple of innings."
Kuehnel noted that Smith got off to a slow start this spring because of her youth, but she has improved by leaps and bounds. Several weeks earlier she struck out 16 during a 3-1 victory over Stayton (Ore.) in 10 innings.
So far, Smith has a 3-3 record as the Tigers' No. 1 pitcher. In 48 1/3 innings, she has struck out 81, walked six and scattered 31 hits for an earned run average of 1.01.
"She throws low to mid-60s. She'll be throwing 65 to 70 (mph) by the time she's a senior. She has a nice little riser and a decent changeup," Kuehnel pointed out.
Smith has come a long way from the first-grade pitcher who "threw balls all over the place. I worked very hard (on control), doing drills that focused a lot on (hitting) spots. I now hit my spots."
She looks up to pitchers such as Cat Osterman and Jenny Finch and said she would love to attend the University of Alabama.
Conceding she'll be a marked person in the future, Smith said confidently, "I hope so. This thing in me – my drive – wants to be challenged and recognized."
* Norco (Calif.)
edged previously unbeaten Esperanza (Anaheim, Calif.), 4-2, to win the 25th annual Michelle Carew Classic in Anaheim, Calif. Earlier in the day, Norco snapped an 18-game winning streak with a 2-0 victory over Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.)
. * Hoover (Ala.)
nipped Cherokee County (Centre, Ala.), 2-1, as Marcy Harper
struck out 15 and yielded just two hits.
* Wilmot (Wis.)
junior Kristen Wood fanned 19 during a one-hit, 9-0 victory over Burlington (Wis.).* Haley Zemmer
struck out 15 and yielded just one earned run as Athens (Troy, Mich.)
outlasted Andover (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), 10-9, in nine innings.
* North Smithfield (R.I.)
nipped Woonsocket (R.I.), 4-3, behind Jess Trembly's
16 strikeouts.Continue reading