Connell's Thompson earns national softball honor

July 16, 2013 

Ashley Thompson Feature

Connell pitcher Ashley Thompson was named the Gatorade Washington Softball Player of the Year.

PAUL T. ERICKSON — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Connell softball sensation Ashley Thompson has been honored over the years as the best player in her conference, in her class and in her state.

Now? Best in the nation.

Thompson recently was named the best small-school softball player in the nation by MaxPreps following a remarkable senior season and athletic career.

She is joined on the MaxPrep’s All-America first team by Connell junior outfielder Hope Sawyer, who hit .628 with 40 RBIs and 47 runs scored.

Thompson pitched every game in the Eagles’ 27-0 season, leading to a third straight Class 1A state title. She posted a 0.19 ERA and 345 strikeouts in 144 innings and threw four perfect games and 11 no-hitters overall, including seven in a row.

She also hit .667 with 13 home runs, 53 RBIs, 63 runs scored and 48 walks. Her OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) was an astronomical 2.339.

A valedictorian, the BYU-bound Thompson and her teammates had some of their biggest moments this season in nonleague games. Connell tore a path through the Class 3A and 4A ranks, including two of the top programs in the area.

Thompson struck out 18 in a three-hitter against Class 3A state champ Kamiakin, a 6-1 win for the Eagles. That came mere hours after she threw a perfect game and struck out all 18 batters she faced in a 12-0 win over Hanford.

She struck out 14 in a three-hitter against Walla Walla, the previous season’s Class 4A runner-up. In five games against the big schools, Connell outscored them by a combined 50-4, and Thompson struck out 72 in 30 innings and allowed just 10 hits.

Thompson finished her career with a sterling 86-6 record in the circle, and with state records in strikeouts (1,117) and home runs (51). Earlier this summer, she was named Washington’s Gatorade Softball Player of the Year.

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