The Plateau’s top fastpitch teams – the Bonney Lake Panthers and White River Hornets – are proving unbeatable in league play.
Through the weekend, the Panthers sported a perfect 8-0 record in Pierce County League 3A action. In keeping with the trend, Bonney Lake had pushed its overall record to an even more impressive 12-1; the only loss came Friday to Yelm.
Sparked by the pitching of Brooke Nelson, who earned Player of the Year honors a season ago as a freshman, the Panthers pushed 129 runs across the plate during their first dozen contests. By contrast, the team had given up only 12 runs; after eight PCL games, Bonney Lake had won seven by shutout.
Nelson was nearly untouchable along the way, sporting an ERA of absolute zero. During 50 innings of work, she had fanned 96 hitters while surrendering only three walks.
At the plate, Nelson was hitting at a .654 clip with four home runs, 12 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .767. Other offensive threats include Gabby Jones (.453 batting average with 12 RBI and a .679 OBP), Joey Ahern (.453, 11 RBIs, .752 OBP) and Jessica Clark (.400, three homers, 12 RBI, .657 OBP).
Coach Andrew Sage points out that the Panthers’ gaudy numbers are a bit limited – many games have been halted after five innings because Bonney Lake had raced to a double-digit lead.
White River, competing in the South Puget Sound League 2A’s Mountain Division, sat atop the standings with a clean 10-0 record. The only blemish on the Hornets’ overall mark of 11-1 was a nonleague loss to Montesano.
Numbers usually do not lie and that’s true for the Hornets. During the team’s first dozen games, White River had outscored its opponents 145-37 and won seven times by double digits.
The offensive production has been sparked by a pair of veteran players. Megan Vandegrift is hitting a whopping .657 and has compiled a .740 on-base percentage. With 46 plate appearances she has scored 32 runs. Ashley Long is hitting .538 while smacking four home runs and driving in 32 runs.
On the mound, No. 1 pitcher Maddie Pipitone stands at 7-1 with a 3.2 earned-run average.
White River is in the midst of a busy week. There were league games Monday and Tuesday, with a home-field doubleheader against Evergreen on Thursday that wraps up the SPSL campaign.