From Garfield’s Nicola Simpson to Stadium’s McKenna Braegelmann, many of Washington’s top high school softball players pitch out of the circle.
Because spring sports have been canceled (COVID-19), these teenagers won’t have a chance to show off their skill. But they deserve to be recognized.
On the recommendation of coaches throughout the state, here are Scorebook Live’s top 15 pitchers in 2020.
TOP 15 PITCHERS IN WASHINGTON
McKenna Braegelmann, Stadium, senior
Last year’s state strikeout queen (16-4, 1.68 ERA; 298K in 142 IP) has one of the best rise-ball pitches around – and she goes to it often. The three-time 3A PCL pitcher of the year is headed to the University of San Diego.
Sydney Brown, Mountain View, senior
She is all arms and legs – and still has a lethal enough rise ball-drop ball combination to fend off hitters (15-4, 1.42 ERA, 256K last year). In the spring, the 3A GSHL MVP and WWU signee had increased velocity (64 mph).
Kamy Dacus, W.F. West, sophomore
The state’s top underclassmen had a stellar debut season for the Bearcats (20-4, 2.15 ERA; 186K in 130 IP) – so good she was named the 2A Evergreen Conference pitcher of the year. She shows poise well beyond her years.
Morgan Flesland, Mount Spokane, junior
The ace of the 3A Greater Spokane League (8-5, 2.51 ERA, 108K in 106 IP) combines better-than-average velocity with helicopter-movement on her pitches – especially a deadly drop ball that induces weak ground balls..
Hanako Hirai, Newport of Bellevue, senior
This all-4A KingCo pitcher (10-5, 3.19 ERA, 120K in 98.2 IP) doesn’t beat you on gas. She beats you on variety. With a five-pitch arsenal, including a buckling curve ball, Hirai – only 5-foot-3 – is headed to WWU.
Kate Houghton, Meadowdale, senior
Rarely can you survive solely on one pitch – but this all-3A Wesco ace has with her devastating rise ball, which piled up 245 strikeouts and four no-hitters. She has signed with Central Connecticut State.
Molly House, Cleveland, senior
In the circle, she is built sturdy … like a House. She dominated the Metro League (11-4, 1.83 ERA, 202K) with a rise ball and drop ball. Also led all pitchers in slugging (1.469) as hitter. Going to PLU.
Kaci Imus, Kentwood, senior
A true workhorse, this two-time all-4A NPSL Cascade first-teamer (14-10, 2.32 ERA, 236K in 148 IP last year) has the strength, stamina and quirky motion to outlast any lineup. Signed with Bellevue College.
Mallory Meyer, Battle Ground, junior
If there were any doubts that the 4A GSHL pitcher of the year could be a true ace, she settled all of those by pitching five consecutive games (3-2) on the final day of last year’s 4A tournament – and kept getting stronger.
Makayla Miller, Glacier Peak, junior
Vintage Miller showed up in the 4A tournament – after struggling with up-and-down velocity much of the season. Make no mistake, her fearless attitude and versatile pitch array make her a bulldog in the circle.
Kaylie Northrop, Richland, senior
She’s been a full-time pitching pistol for the Bombers her final three seasons, and the UNLV signee (21-1, 1.25 ERA) baffled hitters with a darting change-up to go with a heater, rise ball and curveball.
Kylie Pester, Lewis and Clark, senior
Who was the top pitcher in Spokane last season? It very well could have been the Tigers’ ace, the GSL most valuable player (10-8, 1.70 ERA, 206K in 126 IP) who carved up batters with a screwball among her five pitches.
Haley Rainey, Adna, junior
Rainey is pure gas, and the reigning Class 2B player of the year was one of the top two-way players in the state. She can get wild, but the Idaho State commit’s talent ceiling is high (15-2, 1.87 ERA, 146K in 89 IP last year).
Alison Shaler, Northwest Christian of Colbert, junior
She finally stayed healthy, and this hard thrower showed why she’s as good as there is in the 2B ranks (17-4, 2.17 ERA, 181K in 127 IP last year). Also was the team’s top hitter at .552 BA with four home runs.
Nicola Simpson, Garfield, junior
Here is Washington’s top ace. The Tennessee commit’s rise ball-curveball combination might be the best two-pitch sequence around (9-1, 1.04 ERA, 190K, three no-hitters in 80.2 IP last year). She just doesn’t get rattled.
Worth mentioning: Kiana Adams, Auburn, sr.; Shaylin Cardenas, Granger, jr.; Mia Falotico, Bremerton, jr.; Heidi Heytvelt, Pomeroy, jr.; Megan Isayev, Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls, sr.; Hailey Jackson, Kelso, jr.; Payton Kessler, Castle Rock, so.; Chloe Leverington, Forks, jr.; Olivia Matlock, Pe Ell/Willapa Valley, so.; Addie McPherson, Skyview, jr.; Olivia Meyers, Prairie, sr.; Quin Mikel, Elma, sr.; Kassidy Millar, Everett, sr.; Haley Olson, Eatonville, jr.; Savannah Owen, Tumwater, sr.; Rylee Peters, Ephrata, jr.; Riley Pirkle, Anacortes, so.; Annie Polster, Hanford, sr.; Justyce Porter, Seattle Christian, so.; Kiana Rios, Warden, so.; Olivia Ross, Kentridge, so.; Amaya Smith, Sumner, jr.; Camryn Snyder, Eastlake, sr.; Riley Mae Swanson, Lakewood, jr.; Mia Tomillo, Ridgefield, sr.; Rachel Treves, Bellevue, so.