If the proof is in the pudding, dessert can’t get much more flavorful.
Olivia Grey continued her streak of 15 or more strikeouts with no earned runs as Woodland triumphed over Ridgefield 4-0 on Wednesday. The Beavers’ Greater St. Helens League 2A win puts the team in a favorable position to win the league. The offense has clicked this season, but Grey has been otherworldly.
“It’s awesome but I’m not doing it for myself, I’m doing it for my team,” Grey said. “I know this is helping our team even more, even though they’re getting those couple of hits here and there, (Woodland) is still getting that work in. It’s not just me out there, it’s my team.”
No doubt, the four Ridgefield baserunners were cleared on a double play in the second inning and either left stranded or held in place with flashy glovework. She struck out 15, allowed just two hits and no earned runs. Grey hasn’t allowed an earned run over 59 innings this year, and has punched out 148 hitters over that span. Perhaps even more impressive, there have been only 13 total hits allowed when she’s been in the circle.
Woodland’s most glaring weakness this season might be that the outfielders simply don’t get any defensive action on gameday.
“How well she did last year, it’s hard but I truly believe she’s better than last year,” coach Tom Christensen said. “It’s due to her continuing to work on getting better, working out and doing all the other stuff. Not being satisfied, which is something we really talked about after winning state.”
Grey dazzled on the big stage last May, striking out 69 over 28 innings as Woodland earned the 2A state softball title.
Better than that?
“It’s about being in the present,” Grey said. “Not thinking too much about the future and just taking it pitch by pitch. Not putting that pressure on myself where I have to strike this girl out and I have to get a grounder. Lets see what happens, I have a defense behind me and they’ve got my back and I’ve got theirs.”
The staggering results have Grey in the state’s center stage even more than her dazzling finale to 2018. The fact that Woodland’s offense posted four runs against the one of Southwest Washington’s best pitchers, Spudders senior Kaia Oliver, makes it clear how dangerous the Beavers are. Woodland etched its first run on the board with a one-out double hit by Maddi Bunger in the second inning, then put three more runs across on singles from Carleigh Risley and Payton Foster.
The Beavers are now 9-0 overall and 3-0 in league play.
Expectations were high as Woodland entered the season, though Ridgefield seemed to be the toughest league opponent, at least given recent history. And Grey, who says she entered her final high school season with nothing to lose, wasn’t playing with any expectations. Even she’s surprised, though, that her half-season stats are so high in the sky.
“I’m super happy and I want to keep pushing, maybe get that 20 or 21 strikeout game,” Grey said. “But as of now, as long we’re winning and working as a team, that’s all I can ask for.”