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All-Region Softball: Maddie Milhorn, Skyview

Dominant pitching helped lead Storm to state playoffs

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: May 23, 2024, 6:05am
3 Photos
Skyview junior Maddie Milhorn delivers a pitch in a first-round game against Puyallup at the District 3/4 softball tournament on Friday, May 17, 2024 in Kent.
Skyview junior Maddie Milhorn delivers a pitch in a first-round game against Puyallup at the District 3/4 softball tournament on Friday, May 17, 2024 in Kent. (Micah Rice/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Whether building toward the future or contending for a state title, this era of Skyview softball had centered around one player — Maddie Milhorn.

The pitcher burst onto the local softball scene two years ago when the freshman led Skyview to the Class 4A state championship game.

She remained consistently great last season, one which she described as a rebuilding year as the Storm tried to replace the large senior class of 2022.

Now in 2024, Skyview is back among the state’s best. The Storm enter this weekend’s Class 4A state tournament in Richland as the No. 1 seed with a 22-0 record.

Milhorn has been nothing short of dominant. She has allowed just six earned runs over 96 2/3 innings with 193 strikeouts and 18 walks.

Factor in Milhorn’s hitting (a .486 batting average, seven home runs and 39 RBI) and you have a complete player.

That’s why for the third consecutive year, Milhorn is The Columbian’s All-Region softball player of the year.

“I always joke that I’ve been waiting for her since she was 10 years old and showed up to camp,” Skyview coach Kim Anthony said. “I always knew she had something special.”

The University of Oregon also saw something special in Milhorn. Prior to the season, she made her verbal commitment to play college softball for the Ducks.

“I grew up an Oregon fan,” Milhorn said. “The facilities were amazing, but just the family environment they had was something special. The team dinners, we never went out, they were always at the field. We played games and listened to music. It made my heart feel full there.”

With an eye toward Division-I collegiate softball, Milhorn has doubled down on her fitness and expanding her pitch repertoire.

“I’ve been hitting the gym a little bit more,” Milhorn said. “I’m going start throwing a screwball since Oregon wants me to have one. I’m going to figure that out this summer. I’m working on my riseball and that’s something that’s starting to work a bit better.”

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Milhorn has also taken on more of a leadership role as she and eight other juniors on Skyview’s roster embrace their new roles as upperclassmen.

“She’s really smart in knowing what the team needs,” Anthony said. “Sometimes it’s ‘let’s go you guys.’ Sometimes she cracks a joke to break the tension. She’s smart in reading the room.”

Milhorn also has sisters in arms in the pitcher’s circle. Reese Perdue, Avery Henderson and Malea Figueroa have borne some of the workload, serving both as a change of pace for opposing hitters but also ensuring Milhorn is fresh headed into the state tournament.

After rolling through the regular season, Skyview outscored opponents 40-14 in four games at the District 3/4 tournament last weekend in Kent.

Milhorn hopes to be holding another first-place trophy this weekend. That would be the program’s second state title, joining the 2001 champions.

“This year, I feel that we’re unstoppable,” Milhorn said. “We’re all connected. We’re all working. We’re all best friends. I think winning is cool but winning with your best friends is something special and something not everyone gets to experience.”

All-Region Softball

Player of the Year — Maddie Milhorn, Skyview

The rest of the team

Payton Blunt, Prairie: Junior infielder hit .450 with seven home runs, 38 RBI and 26 runs scored.

Jaila Ellis, Heritage: Sophomore was the 3A GSHL MVP, batting .409 with 31 runs, 24 RBI and six homers. Also had 132 strikeouts over 113 2/3 innings.

McKinley Ermshar, Union: Titans’ senior workhorse hit .406 and had 200 strikeouts over 134 innings with a 2.48 ERA.

Hailey Ferguson, Battle Ground: Senior shortstop hit .449 with 35 runs, 23 RBI and eight home runs as the leadoff hitter.

Makenzie Henthorn, Mark Morris: Sophomore had 243 strikeouts over 116 2/3 innings with a 1.62 ERA. Also clubbed five homers.

Taylor Lies, Skyview: Sophomore outfielder hit .429 and scored 25 runs in 22 games near the top of the batting order.

Mackenzie Moore, Prairie: Sophomore infielder batted .518 with 35 runs, 36 RBI and six home runs.

Layla Royle, Skyview: Junior catcher/outfielder hit .459 with 25 RBI, four home runs and six doubles.

Mallory Vancleave, Ridgefield: Senior infielder was a hitting machine, batting .607 with eight homers, 12 doubles and 59 RBI.

Rylee Wall, Prairie: Senior was the 3A GSHL pitcher of the year with 107 strikeouts and 14 walks over 97 innings.

Kingsley Williams, Seton Catholic: Sophomore catcher was Trico League MVP, hitting .547 with 42 runs, 35 RBI and 15 doubles.