Correction: Because of a reporter’s error, the name Nadia Witt was misspelled.
SILVERTON — There was something about becoming a pitcher that brought out Alex Molloy’s personality.
Silverton High School’s junior fireballer says she was an introverted child until coach Mike Slagle moved her to pitcher at the age of 11.
“From then on it just opened me up,” Molloy said. “I never wanted to be in the limelight and after that I was really outgoing.”
Now she’s the type of person who one might see dancing down the halls between classes or cracking up teammates in the dugout between innings.
But when she gets in the pitching circle, something clicks. Molloy gets serious quickly and she becomes the hard throwing all-state pitcher.
“I think it’s like more than just how she throws, it’s like her attitude and like her commitment to the game and how her attitude is like I’m going to strike this girl out or if she’s in a battle with a girl, she knows she’s going to win the battle and strike her out,” said sophomore catcher Maggie Roth.
“And I think just her grit to be one of the best players in the league and even in the state makes her great.”
Though Molloy is known as a power pitcher – she consistently throws in the high 50s – she insists that goal since she started pitching has to get spin on the ball, and she does.
A student of pitching, she has constantly been learning since she first started pitching and she would pitch for hours at a time in her back yard.
But the velocity was inevitable.
“She’s definitely stronger this year,” Silverton coach Ralph Cortez said. “We know that she’s gotten faster, definitely. So she’s gotten stronger, that’s what we see. And we noticed that against Canby and Marist.”
Molloy has proved her value to Silverton since she earned the starting pitching spot as a freshman when she was a first-team all-Mid-Willamette Conference player.
She has thrived on it.
“I feel like I thrive off of pressure and I had a great team to support me coming in as a freshman,” said Molloy, last year’s Mid-Willamette Conference Pitcher of the Year. “I don’t know, I have a thing where I’ve played girls that are older than me in ASA, like it’s just like ASA pitching in high school.
“I had great seniors at the time who really brought me in as a family, and it was just such a great experience like that.”
bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6701 or Twitter.com/bpoehler
Greater Valley: The conference championship is expected to be a tight race between West Albany and West Salem, which returns a huge group of standout players, including Tayler Gunesch, Taylor Redman, Paige Whipple and Nalani Muranaka. McNary has some strong players in all-state senior Kinsey McNaught, Madisen Oliver and sophomore Nadia Witt, who has committed to play at Western Oregon.
Mid-Willamette: State semifinalist Silverton is the heavy favorite to win the conference behind a team including all-state players Alex Molloy, Maggie Roth and Maggie Buckholz, who has committed to play at Oregon. Lebanon, a Dallas team behind senior pitcher Yasmine El-Hato and Central should be competitive.
Oregon West: Yamhill-Carlton and Newport are expected to be at the top of the conference. Stayton returns all-conference players Malya Ikea-Mario, Rachael Branch and Lyndsey DeSantis and is young, but has the talent to make noise.
West Valley: A Dayton team that won the 3A state championship a season ago is the favorite this year, but Amity and Santiam Christian should be improved. Sheridan could take a step up with starters Ashley Aponte, Sam Mack, Sianna Williams and Maddy Samples.
PacWest: A young Scio team that swept the conference last year is the heavy favorite to win it again, but could be pushed by Colton and a Blanchet team with first-yearcoach Bri Brewer and a young, but athletic team including Adrianna Ruiz, Analyssa Ruiz, Maddie Fessler and Kat Ruiz.
2A/1A Special District 2: While Central Linn is the favorite to win the conference again, there are some teams that could make noise. Perrydale returns four-year starting catcher Anna Magill along with multi-year starters and Hannah Amador and Hannah Smith and St. Paul is restarting a team under the direction of Carl Kordenat and has potential with Emily Vela, Elizabeth Brentano and Logan Robinson.