Michigan-bound Maddie Erickson sparks Wildcats
April 24, 2021 by Jerry Ulmer, OSAA today
Wilsonville junior Maddie Erickson has struck out 61 batters in 34 innings. (Photo by Greg Artman)
The Wildcats, who in 2019 finished 5-20 and gave up an average of 15.4 runs per game, have started the season 5-0 behind Michigan-bound junior pitcher Maddie Erickson.
Erickson was on the team two years ago but did not pitch as she recovered from a knee injury that she suffered while wrestling. Now Erickson has become a dominant force for the Wildcats, who haven't had a winning season since 2013.
“I think you would've seen a lot of the same results last year, if we had a season,” Wilsonville coach Steve Harms said. “Unfortunately for her, her high school career has become condensed. She has college-level velocity. She's throwing in the mid-60s. She has good spin, too. Very good poise on the mound.”
Erickson opened the season with sterling performances in 5-0 wins over Putnam and Sandy, throwing a one-hitter with 15 strikeouts and a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts, respectively.
For the season, she is 5-0 with a 1.03 ERA. In 34 innings, she has allowed 11 hits, struck out 61 and walked nine. As the team's No. 3 hitter, she is batting .667 with two home runs and eight RBIs.
Harms said that Erickson hit a home run in Thursday's win at Clackamas that traveled about 270 feet into a parking lot beyond the left-field fence.
“She's got a big bat,” Harms said. “She hits the ball extremely hard. Great exit speed.”
The 5-foot-6 Erickson is a versatile athlete. She was a standout thrower in track before entering Wilsonville and excelled in wrestling. She also was the goalkeeper for the school's girls soccer team this year.
In softball, Erickson joined Wilsonville for the second half of her freshman season as a hitter, but as her knee mended, she was subbed out for pinch-runners. Now she is all the way back.
“She doesn't show any sign of having any issues,” Harms said. “She says she's fully recovered and feels great.”
Wilsonville is winning with only one senior on the roster in shortstop Kylie Hadden. The Wildcats' starting lineup features four freshmen in catcher Madeline Holly, right fielder Calli Weaving, center fielder Mary Matthews and third baseman Grace Wilson.
“The game for the freshmen is a little bit bigger, but we're working with them, and they're starting to perform and getting more relaxed,” Harms said.
The Wildcats are batting. 399 as a team and have outscored their opponents 48-6. Weaving is hitting .611 with a home run and 10 RBIs and Holly is batting .579 with a home run.
Wilsonville beat 5A Northwest Oregon Conference foes Putnam and Hillsboro (10-1 win) for the first time since 2013 and 2011, respectively. The Wildcats also dominated 6A Clackamas 13-2.
“It was huge,” Harms said of the win over Clackamas. “The kids are growing and responding to the level of play. I think Clackamas definitely was surprised, maybe shocked.”
Harms said the team's success is just a matter of having “more pieces to the puzzle.”
“With the exception of one senior, everyone will return next year,” he said. “I think we'll just get stronger and stronger. They're really good community kids. They've been playing and have experience. Their softball IQ is really high.”