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Oct. 21, 2020

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Battle Ground pitcher more formidable than she may appear

Boyd has 249 strikeouts entering the 4A district tournament

By , Columbian High School Sports Reporter
7 Photos
Battle Ground pitcher Parker Boyd about to deliver a strike to a Camas batter on May 11, 2016.
Battle Ground pitcher Parker Boyd about to deliver a strike to a Camas batter on May 11, 2016. (Jeff Klein/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

BATTLE GROUND — She has heard it all her life. From opponents. From opposing fans.

Parker Boyd recalls a favorite line she heard.

“You can hit off her. She’s like two inches wide.”

Tall and skinny, for sure.

But make no mistake: She is a power athlete in the pitching circle for the Battle Ground softball team.

“They’ll say it, and then I’ll throw a couple pitches, strike a few girls out, and they quiet down pretty quickly,” Boyd said. “I think it’s entertaining.”

Actually, nobody in the Southwest Washington softball community questions her ability. They have known for quite some time. Boyd made a name for herself early in her high school career, twice leading the Tigers to the Class 4A state tournament.

This season, though, Boyd brought a more devastating approach to the game. The Tigers open the Class 4A District 4 district softball tournament Tuesday after going 12-0 in the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League.

Battle Ground’s only losses this season came in non-league games against one of the top teams from Idaho and La Center, considered by many to be the best 1A team in the state.

Boyd has six no-hitters this season, including four perfect games.

In one five-inning perfect game, she struck out all 15 batters she faced.

She went 43 consecutive innings without allowing a run during one stretch this season.

She has a current string of 31 1/3 innings without a run.

Want more? She has 249 strikeouts in 121 1/3 innings pitched.

It is one of the best — if not the best — pitching performances in the softball-rich 4A GSHL since the pitching circle was moved from 40 to 43 feet in 2010.

“I really decided to take it upon myself that I wanted to do this for my team,” Boyd said of her approach to the season. “I really wanted to be the best I could for them. I wasn’t going to settle for anything less that all I could give.”

She said she went to the weight room a little bit, but did not live there.

“I think I stopped growing up and started growing out a little bit,” said Boyd, who is 6 feet tall, and knows that she just looks like arms and legs in the circle.

“I’ve benefitted,” she said of her strength. “I’ve gained a couple more miles per hour this season. That was awesome.”

Boyd said she can normally get the ball to 65 mph, but in her 15-batter, 15-strikeout game, the opposing team recorded her throwing 68 mph.

Her teammates teased her early in that game.

” ‘Well, I guess we’re not doing anything today,’ ” Boyd recalled. “It was crazy.”

For the most part, Boyd does not show a whole lot of emotion. But she had a big smile after the final out of an eight-inning, 2-0 victory over Camas to cap the undefeated league season.

“Every year I’ve played for Battle Ground we’ve never beat Camas twice in league. That was a first,” Boyd said. “To see how our team was able to pull through … was amazing.”

Next school year, Boyd will be some 3,000 miles away. She has signed with Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. She did have offers closer to home, and she had offers from schools in bigger athletic conferences. An honors student, Boyd said she wanted to gain a quality education at a place that values softball. Lehigh just won the Patriot League title.

Then there’s this: “I didn’t want to be in classes with 800 students,” Boyd said.

Before college, though, there remains more to accomplish at Battle Ground.

As league champions, the Tigers are guaranteed to advance to the bi-district playoffs this weekend for a shot to go to state.

The ultimate goal is to go undefeated from here and win the state championship in Spokane.

“To have the opportunity to play with all these girls, and with these amazing coaches, and to represent our school … it’s such an amazing honor to do this for our school and everyone in the area,” Boyd said.

No matter what happens this week and/or beyond, the Battle Ground Tigers have done something special this softball season, led by an ace with fascinating numbers.