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Molly Nutt caps a big year with a softball title

by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Molly Nutt beats out an infield hit for a single during the 5A softball championship game last month. No athlete burst onto the high school sports scene in the 2012-2013 school year quite like Molly Nutt. After all, she came in as a young sophomore and was written off as an inexperienced underclassman by many Sandy opponents. It didn’t take long for those teams to change their tunes.

Despite having just one season of high school competition under her belt, Nutt emerged as the premiere three-sport athlete at Sandy. She made her presence known throughout the year in every playing venue she set foot on.

On the soccer field, Nutt flew under the radar early on. With older, veteran teammates drawing most of the attention, Nutt went somewhat unnoticed at first. Teams learned fast that her athleticism made her a player to be accounted for whenever she was on the field.

Nutt was even more of a factor on the basketball court. She was thrown into the fire on the hardwood as a freshman, and it paid off. As a sophomore, she quarterbacked the team at point guard and again utilized her athletic ability to frustrate opponents. The Pioneers struggled as a team, but Nutt was a bright spot in the midst of that.

“She really understands the game,” Nutt’s former basketball coach Matt Gist said. “That, and her maturity, has allowed her to excel in everything she does.”

Nutt earned honorable mention all-Northwest Oregon Conference accolades, but that was just a precursor to what she would do on the softball field.

In every aspect of the game, Nutt dominated on the diamond. In the field, she was an invaluable asset in right field with tremendous range and a strong arm. On the base paths, there was no one better in the 5A ranks. Nutt’s speed and smarts as a runner changed more than a few games. She led the Pioneers with 16 stolen bases and was caught stealing just four times. Nutt also scored from third several times on squeeze bunts, thanks to her quickness and elite sliding technique.

At the plate, Nutt was a triple threat. She hit from both sides of the plate, and she slapped from the left side.

“I don’t think I remember ever seeing a player who could do all three,” Wilkerson said. “She has worked hard to be able to do it because she wants to be remembered.”

That multi-faceted hitting ability, paired with her foot-speed, made her one of the toughest outs in the NWOC. Nutt led Sandy in batting with an average of .554 and was second on the team in runs (39) and hits (51).

What really made Nutt unique was her performance in big moments. In the state championship game against Hermiston, she tracked down multiple line drives and fly balls to keep the Bulldogs off the bases. In the batter’s box, Nutt had three of Sandy’s four hits and she scored the only run of the 1-0 game. Her play in the title game, and over the course of the season, made her one of five Pioneers to be selected to the all-state first team.

Nutt’s successes during her impressive run through the school year go beyond numbers and accolades. Even as an underclassman, she was a leader and an example to everyone.

“Her teammates respect her so much, and she is a leader among her peers within the school, academically,” Gist said.

Wilkerson agrees, and she thinks the 2012-13 year could have just been the beginning. She doesn’t think there is a ceiling to what Nutt can accomplish, and that is because of her maturity and level head.

“She never slacks off and she gives absolutely everything she has every day,” Wilkerson said. “That’s not just on the field. She is No. 1 in her class, which shows her incredible work ethic. She has her priorities in order – family, school, athletics. She is able to balance that, and she still goes out and has fun doing it all.”

Other nominees:

Kim Smith - Cross Country, Ski, Track

Paola Phipps - Water Polo, Girls Basketball, Track

Dalen Richardson - Cross Country, Girls Soccer, Girls Basketball, Track

Virginia O'Regan - Girls Soccer, Snowboard, Track