Bonney Lake High School’s Brooke Nelson is already having a softball career for the ages.
She added another chapter to it Tuesday afternoon.
Nelson became the third high school pitcher in Washington state history to eclipse 1,000 career strikeouts in the Panthers’ 14-3 win over Bethel in 3A Pierce County League action.
With nine strikeouts, Nelson – a University of Washington signee and reigning Gatorade state player of the year – now has 1,002 strikeouts, trailing only Connell’s Ashley Thompson (1,117 from 2010-13) and La Center/Union’s Mariah Dawson (1,044 from 2007-2010).
With eight regular-season games to go, plus the playoffs, Nelson could conceivably pitch in 15 more games to get a shot at taking sole possession of the strikeout mark.
Bonney Lake is the defending Class 3A state champion, and favorite to repeat in May.
“She’s got a chance to do it,” Bonney Lake coach Andrew Sage said.
Yet, entering the league game against Bethel on Tuesday, true to her nature, Nelson had no idea she was even close to a milestone.
But in the fifth inning, she registered her 1,000th strikeout on a rise ball, and suddenly the dugout and stands went crazy. Her family started waving signs that read, “1,000th strikeout.”
“It took me a second to realize why everyone was cheering,” Nelson said. “It is cool. I am not someone who looks at the numbers.”
The game was stopped briefly as the umpire threw the softball back to the dugout. Sage later wrote down the feat and the date on the ball and handed it to his star player after the game.
“She deserves every amount of celebration she’s gotten from everyone,” said Brynn Nelson, her sister and the Panthers starting second baseman. “She has the most amazing mindset thinking about what is next, and how she can improve herself.”