Millican shakes off injury, pitches Granite Falls to win

GRANITE FALLS – It wasn’t Ashley Millican’s most dominant outing of the season, but it was arguably her most impressive.

Millican, a senior pitcher on the Granite Falls High School softball team, was struck on her pitching hand by an errant throw during warmups on Wednesday. The ball blasted the top of her left hand, engraving seam-shaped welts into her skin.

Determined to compete, Millican shrugged off the pain and helped lift Granite Falls to its fifth consecutive victory. She tossed a five-hitter and struck out seven batters in the Tigers’ 4-1 Cascade Conference victory over Lakewood.

Junior catcher Stacey Todd had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run for Granite Falls (6-1 in conference, 6-3 overall). Four players had a hit for the Tigers, who have outscored opponents 40-13 in their past five contests.

“We’re just really starting to jell and put the bats together,” first-year Granite Falls coach Candi Reeves said. ” … Our hits are spread out throughout the whole lineup. We’re kind of finding our right combinations all the way around.”

Millican improved her pitching record to 4-1. Reeves wasn’t sure how the pre-game accident would affect the starter.

“I could see the tears in her eyes … and (Millican’s pitching hand) was black and blue immediately,” said Reeves.

Millican hung tough for the Tigers, who scored single runs in the first three innings and added a final insurance run in the sixth. After tallying seven strikeouts and issuing three walks through six innings, Millican faced the top of Lakewood’s order in the seventh and closed it out by inducing a pop-up, a line out and a fly out.

Millican said she got through the game by repeatedly telling herself, “It’ll be fine. It’ll be fine. It’ll hurt for a little bit, but afterwards it’s gone.”

“She didn’t draw a lot of attention to herself,” Reeves said of Millican and her tender hand. “It was just like, ‘I’m ready to pitch.’ There’s nothing that was going to stop her today.”

“She’s tough. I’ll be glad to see her graduate,” said Lakewood coach Steve Barker, whose team dropped to 3-4. Millican also pitched Granite Falls to a 3-2 victory over Lakewood on March 19.

Jennelle Jones and Sarah Hensley scored, and Kerry Ann Wesala had a run-scoring groundout for Granite Falls.

Millican and the Tigers escaped danger in back-to-back innings. In the fourth, Lakewood used a hit, an error and a walk to load the bases with no outs. Millican responded with two strikeouts and induced a groundout to emerge unscathed.

“We gotta keep our heads up,” said Todd. “We know what we did wrong and we fixed it.”

An inning later, Lakewood had two runners in scoring position with one out. Granite Falls foiled the threat with a double play: Left fielder Stephanie Brennan caught a fly ball off the bat of Emily Burkholder and threw home to Todd to get Becca Bean, who had tried to score after tagging up at third base.

Barker said he thought Bean slid in ahead of Todd’s tag. Missed offensive opportunities sank the Cougars, who had scored 36 runs in their previous two games, both victories.

Lakewood committed four errors but recovered nicely to prevent Granite Falls from exploding for a huge inning.

“Today, defensively, we gave ‘em some baserunners at the beginning of the innings and toughened up at the end of the innings, which is a good thing for us. In the past … we just haven’t been able to stop the big inning.”

At Bruce Miller Sr. Sports Complex

Lakewood 0010000 -1 5 4

Granite Falls111001x – 4 52

Behen and B. Bean. Millican and Todd. WP-Millican (4-1). LP-Behen (3-4). Records-Lakewood 3-4 in league and overall. Granite Falls 6-1, 6-3.

Cedarcrest 2, Sultan 1: At Sultan, freshman Christina Tolley pitched a complete game and drove in the winning run in the top of the seventh as the Red Wolves defeated the Turks in Cascade Conference play.

At Sultan H.S.



Tolley and Batts. Talley and Copple. WP-Tolley. LP-Talley. 2B-Donaldson (S). Records-Cedarcrest 4-1 in league, 5-1 overall; Sultan 1-3, 1-4.

Archbishop Murphy 7, Coupeville 2: At Coupeville, Kayelynne Huggins pitched a complete game as the Wildcats strolled to the Cascade Conference victory.

At Coupeville H.S.

A. Murphy4100200-7101


Huggins and Ehlebracht. Griffin and Murdy. WP-Huggins. LP-Griffin. 2B-Griffin (C). Records-Archbishop Murphy 5-1 league, 5-2 overall. Coupeville 0-7, 0-8.

Shorecrest 12, Arlington 2 (5 inn): At Shoreline, the Scots hit two home runs en route to the non-league win.

At Shoreline H.S.



Nicely and S. Twitchell. Snow and Towles. WP-Snow. LP-Nicely. HR-Schade (SC), Goodloe (SC). Records-Arlington 1-4 league, 3-6 overall. Home team 4-1, 6-3.

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