By Tom Mauldin 4-10-2020
When the 2020 collegiate softball season was canceled Katie Wilfert was first in the nation in wins, complete games and innings pitched in leading East Florida State College to first place in Florida’s Southwest Conference.
To say she was just hitting her peak might be an understatement. Wilfert, a former Rocky Mountain (Meridian, ID) standout, was unbeaten in March at 8-0 with an 0.89 ERA as the Titans were streaking with six-straight wins. In 14 March games, she had also homered four times and driven in 19 teammates. Wilfert clearly was the frontrunner for the conference’s top player award. In her season-ending double header sweep over Broward College, Wilfert homered twice, drove in nine runs and picked up her national leading National Junior College Athletic Association 15th win.
“As ready as I was to come back home, I was really bummed that the season ended so quickly,” said Wilfert. “I believe that my team this year could’ve made it pretty far. We came closer together and got better each week we played.” When the season ended, the Titans were 22-10 overall and 8-1 in conference. The sweep over Broward avenged an early-season league loss. Despite the emotions of a shortened 2020 season, Wilfert’s two seasons as a Titan were memorable. As a freshman in 2019, Wilfert was named to the NFCA South Region All-Region team when she finished her first season 21-12 on the mound, with a 2.95 ERA. She was also All-Southern Conference first team. She also drove in 34 runs. This season, her national leading marks included 15 wins, 14 complete games and 132 innings to go with her minuscule 1.38 era. In addition to her stellar pitching, Wilfert was having a dream season in the better’s box with 42 RBIs (sixth in the nation), eight homers (24th) and was slugging .673. She also was leading the nation in at bats (113). But that was last month. Today she is studying online from home in Meridian and focusing on improving her 3.83 grade point average for when she enters College of Idaho in August. She knows dwelling on the disappointment of the abrupt season end has no benefit. And carrying 18 credits, she has little time to dwell on what could have been. Wilfert is making the most of her ‘stay-at-home-and-be-safe’ time with her studies. “It’s a lot of hard work, but I’ve worked this hard before,” said the future Yote. With no batters, it’s just books. It’s the “next pitch” in which she prepares. “I’ve been thinking a lot about what I need to do to get ready for COI,” said Wilfert. “Obviously, I need to finish strong in the academic year. Also, I know that I can’t just sit on my butt this whole time, so I’ve been doing the most I can to get exercise safely. I will of course train harder once it’s safe to do so. I’m going to try and get out to some fields soon, just so I can stay toned up.” Though she is happy to be home in Meridian, Wilfert admits “staying at home” is difficult. “The ‘stay-at-home’ lifestyle is hard for me, mostly because I’m a very active person and I like to be out doing things. It’s also mental,” said Wilfert. “I feel like just knowing that you should stay home makes you want to get out even more.” Here’s a brief look at how several other Fastpitch NW alums were performing before the season ended in mid-March: Darian Lindsey (Portland State senior from Pendleton, OR) was batting .324 with a .595 slugging percentage for the 6-18 Vikings. She was second on the team in hits (24), RBI (15), runs (13) and extra base hits (10). Hannah McNerney (College of Idaho sophomore from Hood River, OR) was 5-2 with the Cascade Collegiate Conference’s second best ERA at 1.85. She had the lowest opponents’ batting average in the CCC at .225. She also had a save for a 13-7 Yotes. Samantha Stanfield (CWU sophomore from Montesano, WA) was leading the 13-9Wildcats in wins (6), innings (52), ERA (3.61) and strikeouts (48). Elena Cook (Concordia-Portland senior from Boise, ID) was batting .435 with a .519 on base percentage for the 12-13 Cavaliers. Brandi Schoessler (Saint Martins University senior from Walla, WA) was 6-3 with a 2.77 ERA for the 9-7 Saints. Becca Roe (Warner Pacific junior from Pilot Rock, OR) was hitting .429) for the 11-12 Warriors. She had team highs in hits (27), homers (5), on base percentage (.479) and doubles (4) and was second in runs scored and RBIs (14). Amanda Smith (Eastern Oregon University junior from Sisters, OR) was leading the 6-15 Mountaineers in hitting with a .442 average. She was second in doubles (4) and RBIs (11) and was one of the team’s top two pitchers. Rachel Hawley (Northwest University junior from Spokane, WA) had a 2.96 ERA in 85 innings for the 4-19 Eagles. Despite a 3-10 overall record, Hawley has nine complete games. Carissa Burgess (Dixie State sophomore from Ellensburg, WA) was fifth in the nation in wins with 10. She was leading DSU (19-7) in wins, innings pitched (72), ERA (2.34), and complete games (14). Olivia Lethlean (Oregon Tech Institute junior from Medford, OR) was batting .364 with a .432 on base percentage for the 12-9 Owls. The all-stater from North Medford holds the Fastpitch Northwest record for home to home at 10.67 seconds. Lauren Richards (Claremont McKenna Mudd sophomore from Pendleton, OR) was leading the nation in triples with five while batting .283 for the 9-10 Athenas. She also leads the team in wins, innings pitched, complete games, strikeouts and ERA. Olivia Dean (Centralia College sophomore from Chehalis, WA) made the most of her two starts collecting six hits, scoring six times and stealing six bases. Nadia Delzer (Edmonds freshman from Ewa Beach, Hawaii) was batting .429 with a .515 on base percentage for the 6-2 Tritons. She was also second in the NWAC with a 3.08 ERA in 25 innings. She pitched a no-hitter in an 8-0 win over Southwestern Oregon when she also collected three base hits. Trinity Naugle (Lower Columbia Community College sophomore from Castle Rock, WA) was second in the NWAC in strikeouts with 34 in 29 innings for the 5-4 Red Devils. And the Walla Walla Community College foursome of Caitlin Crist (leads the NWAC in steals with 14, and is batting .426), Rylee Gentner (.609 batting average), Ry Oates (.556) and Tommy McDonald (.526).