Whether it’s a cliché or not doesn’t necessarily matter, but in the game of softball, pitching is a precursor to success or failure. Here’s a look at the top five pitchers in Whatcom County right now.
1. Lauren Maley (Jr., Ferndale): Maley is simply dominant. There’s not much more that can be said. She’s led the Golden Eagles to a conference-leading 12-1 record this year, with their only loss coming to Sedro-Woolley on March 24. Over that span, she’s accounted for five shutouts, including two straight over Nooksack Valley and Blaine, and the team ERA is 2.4 entering play Tuesday.
2. Tanna Benson (Jr., Lynden): Benson has shown flashes of dominance several times this year, with her seven-strikeout, seven-inning outing against Nooksack Valley on April 22 being one of her finest moments. Six times this year has Lynden held its opposition to two runs or less, and she’s a large reason for that. Add that to the fact that she hits cleanup for the Lions, and you see how important she is to that team’s overall success.
3. Aleks Toivola (Jr., Mount Baker): Toivola isn’t going to wow anyone with her velocity, but she is, as her coach Ron Lepper has always maintained, going to give the Mountaineers a chance to win every single game. That reality has maintained true throughout this year, as Mount Baker holds a 9-4 record overall, and a 5-2 record in the NWC. She pitched well in a 7-5 win over a powerful Lynden club on Friday, April 25, and again she kept her club in the game against Burlington-Edison on Monday, April 28, in a 4-2 loss.
4. Mallory Kruzich (Jr., Sehome): Kruzich, like Sehome, has overcome a tough start and put the Mariners in contention for one of the final 2A playoff spots. She’s tossed several good games of late, with a 9-3 win over Anacortes on April 11 showing just how good she can be. In that win she tossed seven innings, striking out five. Tough outings against Mount Baker and Ferndale left something to be desired, but it’s reasonable to expect Sehome to go as far as she leads them.
5. Alexis McElwain (Sr., Blaine): When everything comes together for McElwain, she’s pretty darn good. Consistency, though, has been a struggle for her at times, but in flashes like her complete-game against Nooksack Valley earlier in the year, you can see why she can on any given day trouble the most potent of lineups. Blaine will need her if it wants to make a deep run in the 1A playoffs this year.