WENATCHEE — Hailey Bator’s 2013 statistics are, quite simply, extraordinary.
Bator leads the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges in wins (19), strikeouts (205) and earned-run average (0.56). In 113 innings, she’s allowed just 44 hits and 22 walks. Her performance has been key for the Wenatchee Valley College softball team, which ranked No. 1 in the NWAACC coaches poll and is closing in on their eight straight East Region championship.
Bator is having one of the best seasons any NWAACC pitcher has ever had. She’s built on a fantastic freshman campaign and has done what few thought was even possible: become even more of a dominating presence in the circle.
“Of course I look at my stats, but they don’t really (affect me),” she said. “I’ve always been a strikeout pitcher, and that mindset hasn’t changed, but I’m more comfortable (this year), and I’ve grown a lot. I don’t know if I’ve gotten better, but I am more relaxed out there.”
Her dominance has been rewarded. Last week, Bator signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Washington, starting next year.
Bator will be the first player from an NWAACC school to join coach Heather Tarr’s renowned program.
“It’s a surreal feeling right now. It hasn’t sunk in, and it won’t until I’m there,” she said. “It’s one of the most exciting things to happen to me. I’ve always dreamed of playing Division-I softball, but I never thought I’d get there as a pitcher, so I’m very excited.”
During the past two falls, WVC has participated in the University of Washington Fall Showcase tournament. Bator pitched against the Huskies both years, giving up three runs in 10 combined innings.
Of course, those outings helped to showcase her talents to Tarr and the Huskies coaching staff. They also helped Bator to believe that she’s firmly capable of pitching at that level.
“Few pitchers have that kind of chance,” Knights coach Shelly Pflugrath said. “(Tarr got to see her) first-hand and say, ‘OK, if this kid can keep our hitters in the park, I like her odds of (keeping opponents’ batters) in the park. I don’t know what would’ve happened if we didn’t (play at the tournament).
“She’s way better (this season), actually. I don’t want to say that I didn’t think it was possible, but to see her dominate as she has at times, I just haven’t seen it in our league before. She’s been humbling a lot of great hitters.”
Washington is a perennial Pac-12 and National Collegiate Athletics Association power; the Huskies won the NCAA title in 2009.
UW sports a 34-13 record this season.
“Hailey is one of the most dominant junior college pitchers in the country,” Tarr said. “The time she has spent with coach Pflugrath and the WVC softball program has prepared her very well to compete in the Pac-12. Her competitive fire will allow her an opportunity to help us compete for another national championship.”
The Knights are sending several other sophomores to four-year schools as well.
Right fielder Rae Dorcas will play for Corban University in the fall. Dorcas, an all-East Region selection a year ago, is hitting .396 this season.
“Rae is also the type of hard-working individual of character that we are looking for at Corban, and will be a great addition to our team in every aspect,” said Warriors coach Nathan Ohta.
Pitcher/outfielder Kirstie Thomas will return to her home state of Montana to play for the University of Great Falls next season. Thomas has paired with Bator to form the East Region’s best pitching tandem during the past two years, and is a capable offensive player as well.
Thomas has a 2.98 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings in the circle, and is hitting .343 with two home runs. “She can play anywhere and do anything — she’s a coaches’ kid,” Pflugrath said. “She’ll be in the (Argos’) lineup every day, I’m sure.”
Catcher Riliey Cullip will play for the College of Idaho next season, joining former Knights teammates McKenzie Stanton and Ashley Van Horne.
Cullip led WVC with 10 home runs last season, and after a slow start caused by a knee injury has been the Knights’ hottest hitter lately. She’s hitting .352 with a team-leading six home runs and a 1.021 on base-plus-slugging percentage.
“Riliey is going to add power to our lineup, depth to our defense and is a great addition to a strong returning team,” Coyotes head coach Al Mendiola said. “She is versatile, and I am excited to have a player like Riliey that fits our system.”
Pflugrath said that another sophomore, outfielder Sarah Goodman, is weighing an opportunity to play at Pacific Lutheran University next season, but hasn’t decided yet.
• Jordan Perry, the WVC men’s basketball team’s leading scorer during the 2012-13 campaign, will play for a four-year school next year, according to Knights coach Coby Weidenbach. Point Loma Nazarene (San Diego) University is among the leading contenders for Perry’s services.
Perry has already returned to California to finish the school year and prepare for his next step, Weidenbach said. Perry, who missed his senior season of high school with knee injury, averaged 16.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in 2012-13.
• Kassy Larson, the WVC women’s basketball team’s leading rebounder during the 2012-13 season, will play at Eastern Oregon University next season, according to Knights coach Rachel Bromiley-Goetz. Larson’s 9.6 rebounds per game was fifth in the NWAACC, and she averaged 13.6 points per game.
• Randi Wales, the WVC volleyball team’s starting right-side hitter in 2012, has given a verbal commitment and is close to signing with Presentation College in South Dakota, according to WVC coach Kelly Ketcham.