By Mark Nelson Herald Writer
STANWOOD — Rick Clow has no choice but to make good on a promise he made to his daughter Sacha, a Marysville-Pilchuck junior outfielder, earlier in the softball season.
Sometime in the days or weeks following Marysville-Pilchuck’s 14-1 Western Conference North Division regular-season, title-clinching win over Stanwood on Wednesday, Rick is expected to deliver an adorable puppy into his daughter’s waiting arms.
Clow hit her first career varsity home run, a solo shot, just over the left-center field fence in the second inning to give Marysville-Pilchuck a 5-1 lead at Stanwood High School.
“I don’t think he thought I would ever hit one out,” the outfielder said with a laugh, adding that she has to get a dog that doesn’t shed because her younger sister Monica, also a Tomahawk outfielder, is allergic to dog hair. “I was doing OK, but I wasn’t doing the best I could (this season) and he’s like, ‘well, if you hit a homer I’ll get you a puppy.’”
The junior plans to appropriately name the dog “Homer.”
Clow, who finished 1-for-3 with two RBI and a walk, was fooled by her own home run, which came on a 2-2 changeup from the Wesco North’s premier pitcher, Stanwood’s Brittany Jeans.
“I thought they were going to catch it,” Clow said. “I didn’t think I hit it that hard because it was a changeup. I stopped at second and I was surprised.”
The Tomahawks (14-0 league, 15-2 overall), who clinched their first regular season league title since 2001, tagged Jeans for 13 hits a night after racking up 19 runs on 18 hits in a 19-17 win over Everett.
“I don’t know when the last time was Brittany Jeans gave up 13 hits in a game,” Marysville-Pilchuck head coach KT Allyn said. “We maintained our patience because I think she was struggling with the strike zone, both pitchers did (struggle), that was a difficult strike zone to work with.”
Jeans, a James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) signee, kept the Tomahawks to seven runs through six innings, but the senior surrendered four straight singles followed by three bases-loaded walks as M-P scored seven runs in the final inning.
The Tomahawks jumped on Jeans early with four runs in the first inning, including a two-run single by catcher Jessica Christensen.
“I think it was huge (to get an early lead) because we had beaten them before,” Allyn said. “Just to say, ‘We’re here and we’re going to play the same as we did the first time we saw you.’ But I was concerned because (Stanwood catcher) Sam Bingham was sick the first time we played them and she’s not only a skilled catcher, she’s their leader and she runs a good show. I thought that she would have an impact on the game for them and she did. She did a great job blocking and helping (Jeans) out.”
Clow also wasn’t the only player to record a career first Wednesday for the Tomahawks.
Marysville-Pilchuck freshman Haley Fritz connected on the first home run of her young varsity career, hitting a solo shot in the sixth inning. Fritz, who struck out looking in her two previous at-bats, fouled off a handful of offerings from Jeans before homering to left field.
“I had a couple rough at-bats before, but I was glad because it’s a good way to break out of a slump,” Fritz said.
Allyn added: “That was a great confidence booster for her. I think as she was fouling off and fouling off, her facial expression was different. It was showing confidence whereas the other two at-bats she was getting frustrated with herself.”
Fritz finished 2-for-4 with two RBI for M-P, which also got good performances at the plate from Megan Rollings (2-for-5, two RBI), Morgan Martinis (2-for-5, one RBI) and Riley Fritz (1-for-3, two RBI). Starting pitcher Jen Rosie struck out nine and allowed just four Stanwood (10-3, 13-3) hits.
Shawna Hochstetler hit a solo home run off Rosie in the first inning and finished 2-for-4 with the lone Stanwood run. Second baseman Tori Kriegel was 1-for-1 with a double and two walks for the Spartans, who clinched a playoff spot with their victory on Tuesday.
Jeans, who was 19-4 overall with an 0.63 earned-run average last season, struck out three batters, but walked five.
“We knew she was really good and if we didn’t attack the first couple pitches she would throw her really good rise-ball,” Clow said. “We knew we had to attack the first strike that we got.”
At Stanwood H.S.
Rosie and Christensen. Jeans and Bingham. WP—Rosie. LP—Jeans. 2B—Kriegel (S). HR—S. Clow (M-P), H. Fritz (M-P), Hochstetler (S). Records—Marysville-Pilchuck 14-0 league, 15-2 overall. Stanwood 10-3, 13-3.