By Andrew Glover
RED ROCK, Okla. —
Frontier sophomore pitcher Michaelanne Nelson spent most of the season sitting in the dugout as she was recovering from a tear in her bicep tendon. On Sept. 23 when she finally returned to the pitching circle she didn’t exactly get to ease into pitching. Her first opponent — Class 3A Perkins-Tryon Lady Demons. Nelson pitched well enough to keep Frontier in the game and helped the Lady Mustangs clinch a spot in the regional tournament last Thursday and Friday.
“It felt really good coming back and proving I could pitch,” Nelson said. “I was glad I could help my team.”
Nelson pitched three innings against Perkins and gave up two runs on four hits and struck out six in a no decision. The Lady Mustangs rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 4-2 lead but ultimately lost 5-4 in extra innings. The sophomore said it took her a little time to get adjusted.
“It was a little weird since I hadn’t pitched in so long,” Nelson said. “It was fun getting to strike people out and help my team. Overall we didn’t win but still it felt good.”
Last season as a freshman, Nelson had to take over pitching duties from then-senior Jalissa Gum, who injured her ulna. This season freshman Kristen Molina did the same for Nelson.
“She did a really good job,” Nelson said of her teammate. “She stepped up and did her job and she really improved throughout the season.”
Thursday and Friday during the regional tournament, Nelson made her mark. In the first game Thursday, the sophomore put up a strong performance, hitting with a double, single, three runs scored and one driven in during a 17-1 victory over Shidler.
During the final game Thursday against Copan, Nelson pitched her gem. Only a walk prevented Nelson from pitching a perfect game as she struck out 16. Though Copan didn’t get a hit, victory wasn’t determined until the final inning — when Shannon West hit a walk-off single to secure a 1-0 victory.
“It was really exciting,” Nelson said. “I wasn’t planning on throwing a no-hitter, I just threw strikes and let my defense make plays for me. It was nerve-wracking. I just had to throw strikes and not allow them to get on base.”
On Friday, Nelson pitched another no-hitter, striking out 12 in a 9-0 victory that clinched Frontier a spot in the Class B regional tournament. Coach Erron Kauk said Nelson has pitched well since coming back, adding that’s what he expects.
“She is a tough kid,” Kauk said. “She just wants to go out and win and help her team win.”
This week, the Frontier Lady Mustangs travel to Carney for regionals. Nelson hopes she can send Frontier back to state like she did last season.
“It’s really exciting,” Nelson said. “The whole team is excited. There were people who thought we wouldn’t make it out of the district tournament. It was awesome showing that we can.”
Kristen Molina, Frontier softball
Chrissie Collins, Pawnee softball
Colton Looper, Perry cross country
Rylee Bellmon, Perry cross country
JR Wakely, Yale football
Jordan Quinata, Morrison football
Anthony McLeod, Coyle football