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Here were SBLive’s top 15 pitchers in Idaho high school softball in 2022

Led by Boise State University signee Amber Thornton, the 5A SIC was full of big-time arms

Good pitching in softball is crucial, and the "Gem State" featured many ace high school pitchers in Idaho who came up big time and time again.

SBLive Idaho spoke to coaches about identifying the best pitchers Idaho. Players are broken down by classification, and listed in alphabetical order:



First-year school Owyee defeats Eagle to win first Class 5A District III softball title MAIN

Sophomore Mantha Hatzenbeller won 10 games for Owyhee, and led the first-year school to a district title and state runner-up showing.

Penny Lew Barnett, Capital, jr.

After making a name for herself last season with an all-5A Southern Idaho Conference first-team selection, Barnett helped the team do the same in 2022. Her command of six different pitches led to 145 strikeouts, an ERA of 2.94 and a WHIP of 1.23. More importantly, it resulted in the Eagles bouncing back from three consecutive single-digit win seasons in a return to state for the first time in a decade.

"Her winning mindset and desire to succeed makes her a presence in the circle," Capital coach Shane Alder said.

Carly Boisvert, Mountain View, sr.

Most of the other pitchers on this list were a part of a rotation. But Boisvert was it for the Mavericks. She threw more than 2,000 pitches, most of which were her go-to changeup that always kept batters guessing. It resulted in 184 strikeouts, 12 wins and an ERA of 3.34. Boisvert will continue her career at NCAA Division II’s Nyack College in New York City.

"For the majority of the year, she had to throw three games a week without relief," Mountain View coach Destiny Turner said. "We knew that Carly was going to keep us in games if we were struggling offensively."

Taylor Brewer, Skyview, sr.

Delaney Keith got most of the headlines being the team’s back-to-back Idaho Gatorade player of the year. But the Hawks don’t win consecutive state titles without Brewer. The 5-foot-6 ace proved the doubters wrong each and every time, especially at state. On a bad back and with snickers from opposing dugouts, she threw 352 pitches between four consecutive games en route to another banner. Brewer finished the year 11-1 with 97 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.24. She will play for Southwestern Oregon Community College next year.

"She just grinded," Skyview coach Tim Souza said. "She didn’t care. She kept getting stronger as she went along."

Grace Diffin, Centennial, sr.

To say Diffin has been through a lot over the last four years is an understatement. She lost her father to pancreatic cancer, got drilled in the face on a line drive and was on a team that won a total of 17 games over the past three seasons. But Diffin’s resolve remained the same. She still made three all-SIC teams and posted a school record 511 strikeouts, including 176 this past season. Diffin had about 15 college programs, including several D1s, looking at her. But she has elected to end her softball career by enrolling at the University of Idaho just for school.

"Grace is mentally very tough and she doesn’t get rattled very often," Centennial coach Scott McFarland said. "Grace is a player that you could always rely on to give her absolutely 110% every game."

Mantha Hatzenbeller, Owyhee, soph.

Hatzenbeller took a risk. After being an integral part of a state runner-up team at Rocky Mountain a year ago, she elected to enroll at first-year school Owyhee. The move paid big dividends. With her effective off-speed pitch and ability to thrive under pressure, Hatzenbeller led a team with only one upperclassmen to a district title and a state runner-up finish. She ended the year 10-4 with 97 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.47.

"She’s an incredible all-around athlete," Owyhee coach Tess Martin said.

Megan Meracle, Borah, soph.

With more than 400 strikeouts over the last two years, Meracle has helped rejuvenate the once stagnant program. The Lions have won more games over the last two seasons with Meracle in the circle than they did the previous five without. She won every game she pitched in this season with a state-leading 22 wins in all. Meracle also recorded a 2.60 ERA, which landed her on the all-SIC team for the second consecutive year.

"When she is on, she is unstoppable," Borah coach Steven Birkby said.

Kalianne Scoresby, Thunder Ridge, soph.

Scoresby is a foundational piece for the Titans, who just completed their fourth season. She’s helped completely change the trajectory of the program, which had just 12 wins in its first two years. Thunder Ridge has 53 wins and back-to-back state tournament appearances since her arrival. Her patented spin ball racked up 143 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.60 this season less than five months after hand surgery.

"She is a tough kid for only being a sophomore and she works hard," Thunder Ridge coach Keisha Fisher said. "She did a lot for our team at the mound."

Amber Thornton, Timberline, sr.

Despite missing most of the season with yet another injury, Thornton was arguably still the best pitcher in the state this season. After missing her entire ninth grade campaign with a torn ACL, the COVID-19 pandemic canceling her sophomore season and an immune disorder limiting her last year, a strained forearm shelved her this season. But not enough to prevent the Boise State signee from going 9-3 with 128 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.35. Two of those losses came within less than a 24-hour span at state. But she still helped the Wolves take third.

"During your senior season, many people just want to have fun. I had higher expectations," Thornton said. "I wanted to personally improve on last season both physically and mentally. I couldn't have asked for a more supportive, hardworking team along the way."

Lizzy Tommasini, Eagle, jr.

Tommasini might throw harder than anyone on this list. She topped 68 miles per hour on the radar gun and threw consistently in the 60s this season. It’s why she didn’t pitch as many innings as others. But her accolades were nonetheless still impressive. She snapped Skyview’s 28-game winning streak for its first loss of the season. Tommasini notched 13 wins, 112 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.42.

"Tommasini is a powerful athlete and true competitor," Eagle coach Nicole Rollins said. "(She) is the type of player that leaves it all on the field every day."


Pillar Cook, Bishop Kelly softball pitcher, class of 2022

Pillar Cook posted a 12-2 record with a 1.78 ERA in leading Bishop Kelly to another Class 4A championship.

Pilar Cook, Bishop Kelly, sr.

Cook’s brain ended up being her biggest asset and headache for opposing batters this season. Her analytical nature of placement over power led the Knights to their third state championship in a row with a 12-2 record, 117 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.78. She was not only the focal point of the last two state titles, but a pair of academic championships as well with her grade-point average of 4.3.

"She demonstrated efficiency, mastery and trust in her defense," Bishop Kelly coach Missy Nichols said. "With 18 (walks) out of 345 batters faced, and a 70% strike percentage, she clearly dominated not just our league, but shut down the state at the state tournament."

Miah Lusk, Pocatello, soph.

Pocatello coach Josh Naylor didn’t mince words.

“Miah Lusk is one of the best pitchers in the state as a sophomore.”

When you look at the numbers, he makes a good point.

Her fastball, changeup and hard-cutting curve allowed Lusk to lead the classification in strikeouts with 176 (10.23 strikeouts per game). She logged a 4-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. She earned 14 victories with an ERA of 2.85.

And she led the Thunder to its first district title in three years.


Dani Sitts, Homedale, soph.

Sitts is carrying on the proud tradition of the Trojans’ storied softball program. A year after coming up short in the circle in the state title game, she returned to the scene this season to help them capture the seventh championship in school history. Sitts was named to the all-3A Snake River Valley Conference first team with a 10-2 record, 148 strikeouts, a 2.5 ERA and a WHIP of 1.25.

"Dani is just a great kid and works her tail off," Homedale coach Larry Corta said. "She is just a great player to have on the team, never down and always picking up other players. Dani never gives up and stays positive no matter the circumstances."


Riglee Peterson, Malad, fr.

Peterson’s favorite place to be isn’t in the circle. But with her changeup especially, that seems exactly where she’s meant to be. Peterson walked right in and led the Dragons to a three-peat and the seventh overall state championship in program history this season. Out of 24 starts, she won 23 of them. Peterson’s ERA was 2.54 with 149 strikeouts to just 16 walks. Opponents also only hit .167 against her.

"She brings a different level of ball to our team, one that inspires me as a coach to help all the girls try and get to this higher level of play," Malad coach Christie Schow said.

Jordyn Ryan Torgerson, West Jefferson, jr.

Torgerson wasn’t even supposed to play this season. But she returned just five months after having surgery on the bicep in her pitching arm to have arguably the best season yet. There was no load management for her either. Torgerson jumped right back in and pitched a full 105 inninings. She tossed 153 strikeouts with an ERA of 1.86 to lead the Panthers to a second straight state runner-up finish.

"She is a very determined and hard-working athlete," said mother and coach Raquel Torgerson.

Taci Watkins, St. Maries, jr.

Watkins had always dreamed of being a pitcher. So her father Lane created a makeshift bullpen in his shop. Fast forward to today, and he still catches for her. Only she’s one of the best pitchers in Idaho now. She had the lowest ERA (1.04), WHIP (.78) and the most strikeouts (289) in the state to go along with a 16-4 record. It all resulted in the Lumberjacks placing third at state for their first postseason trophy in four years.

"Visiting and learning from various pitching coaches as well as perfecting her craft in summer ball has made her a real force at the 2A level for us," St Maries coach Todd Bitterman said. "Honestly, I think she probably holds her own at higher classifications as well."