Sports

Athlete leads team to zone title

Greg Vandermeulen

MANITOU - 

A Manitou pitcher was named the Tire Recycle Rural High School Athlete of the Week.
Mackenzie Hutchinson of the Nellie McClung Collegiate Fastpitch team was given the honour after leading her team to the Zone 6 fastpitch championship and a berth at the provincials by pitching back to back complete games. In 10 innings she struck out nine batters and did not issue a walk, giving up only one unearned run.
Hutchinson said it’s an honour get recognized, especially considering the small size of her school.
“It’s amazing how successful our team can be when being such a small school,” she said. “It feels like a huge accomplishment to be able to help my team out so much.”
Hutchinson said the team had a slow start, but after she finished playing in the Esso Cup, things started to improve. But that didn’t mean winning zones was easy.
“Pilot Mound has a strong team also and our first game against them was probably one of our biggest games of the year,” she said. “Winning that game was key.”
Hutchinson said this year has been her strongest season, something reflected by the statistics. She has led the Stingers in hits (34), doubles (8), triples (6), home runs (3), batting average (.523), games pitched (19), wins (13), saves (3), strike outs (73) and ERA (3.50).
She posted those stats while participating in hockey and track and field, and while maintaining a 93 per cent academic average.
Hutchinson said focussing on sports and school is something she’s done her whole life.
“It has just become a part of my daily routine when it comes to late night practices and late nights studying,” she said. “It’s always a bit difficult because when it comes to sports there is always lots of missed school days so then it comes down to studying on the bus and on road trips.”
Fastpitch Coach Grant Caldwell said Hutchinson deserves the recognition.
“She works hard at practice, is very competitive,” he said. “Anytime she gets in a game situation whether it’s pitching or at bat she just seems to come through. She’s got that competitive spirit.”
Caldwell said Hutchinson has made a huge impact on the Fastpitch team owning the lead in every single statistic except runs scored and RBIs.
“The reason why (she didn’t lead those categories) is she missed a week when they were in the Esso Cup, so she missed five games or she’d probably lead those categories as well.”
This is Hutchinson’s last high school year, and Caldwell said that’s a big hole on the team.
“I’m going to miss her after this year, that’s for sure,” he said. “She is the key to our team. I’ve coached the team a lot of years here and probably never had anybody as impactful as her.”
Hutchinson plans to take Business Administration at the University of Regina and said she’ll be able to play hockey throughout the winter. “Fastpitch won’t be as big in my life anymore but I will definitely continue to play a bit in the summer,” she said.