Hillary Barker has pitched in twelve games this season. She has struck out 144 hitters, nearly two strikeouts per inning compared to just four base on balls and 19 hits.
And she has allowed zero earned runs. A perfect 0.00 earned run average.
The only runner to even cross the plate was courtesy of an error, and that didn’t come until game 11.
The jaw-dropping statistics that Barker has put up this year borders on the ridiculous. The Overlake senior — who plays at Class 2A Cedarcrest in Duvall because Overlake doesn’t field a softball team — has the 13-0 Cedarcrest Red Wolves eying a perfect 2A Cascade Conference league season and a run at a state championship.
And Barker has been a key more than just on the mound. The pitcher/first basemen is also hitting .546 with two home runs this year at the plate.
But while Barker knows her statistics are impressive, she tends not to dwell on them.
“Obviously I know nobody has scored on me, but it’s not like I am counting my strikeouts,” Barker said. “They’re (statistics) important, but I think sometimes people are too focused on them. It is a team sport, so when you are worried about striking people out instead of getting a grounder, a lot of times it doesn’t matter.”
Barker’s talents have been noticed around the country and she was recruited by several schools. She narrowed it down between two Ivy league schools, Dartmouth and Columbia, before picking Massachusetts-based Dartmouth.
Barker, who carries a 3.75 grade-point-average in Overlake’s tough grading system, said she choose Dartmouth in large part because of its academic excellence.
“It’s not like after that I’m going to be making millions in the major leagues or anything,” she said. “After college all I’m going to have is my education.”
For as good — or great — of a player as Barker is, Cedarcrest coach Les Collins said she may be an even better teammate.
“Tremendous teammate,” Collins said of Barker. “I think that when you take a look at athletes, you get those athletes that are pretty special, and I’ve seen it even here, they are too heady for some people. But she’s not like that.
“She’s a tremendous individual,” he reiterated.
A common perception is that some players can put up amazing statistics in league that is in Class 2A or 1A simply because the competition isn’t as good. But Collins said Barker could dominate at any level.
“We can talk stats all you want and we can talk about the league, but she would do well in any league she could play in, (including) 4A, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “She has shut everyone out. That’s the thing. In softball, someone is going to get a cheap hit and score, but it hasn’t happened.”
While Barker and her teammates continue their quest at perfection, Barker said the key will be the postseason. Barker’s sophomore year when Cedarcrest was 3A, they went to state for the first time in the program’s history and finished fifth. Last year in 2A, the team advanced to state but fell short of placing.
And this year?
“I think we can win state,” Barker said. “(Last year we) didn’t do as well as hoped, but I think this year we should do better.”
Christopher A. Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-867-0353 ext. 5054.