Mott — Of Course
Don’t be alarmed. This one is easy.
Ready? OK, who was the top high school softball player in Chautauqua County this season?
Why, Sam Mott of course.
For many that followed area softball this year it was likely Mott’s name that quickly sprung to mind, but for those that still might not be so sure, here’s a quick rundown of the senior’s accomplishments in what was her final season in Frewsburg blue and gold.
She was a New York State Sportswriters Association Class C All-State first-team choice; she was, for the second time in three seasons, a first-team selection to the All-Western New York squad; and she was also the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 2 Pitcher of the Year for the third straight season.
Oh, and she also pitched – and hit – the Bears to their first-ever New York State Public High School Athletic Association state title.
“For Sam softball has been her No. 1 sport and there are few girls that have had the kind of dedication that she’s had,” Frewsburg coach Jon Blanchard said. “She was a dominant player.”
Never more so than during the state tournament in Queensbury.
Looking to help her team snap a two-year losing streak in the state semifinal game – this year’s opponent was Pierson/Bridgehampton of Section 11 – the right-handed hurler proved unhittable this time around.
Over six innings, Mott fanned seven and walked just one, and combined with teammate Alanna Blanchard, who fanned the side in the seventh, for the no-hitter.
As it turned out, however, her best, and most memorable, game was still to come.
Squaring off against Sandy Creek in the championship bout, Mott was similarly outstanding and earned the complete-game victory when she scattered just four hits, issued only one walk and one run while sending down six on strikes.
More importantly, however, she made the game-saving play. With the tying run at third, Mott put the tag on the runner at home plate after a passed ball in the bottom of the seventh that clinched for the Bears that first-ever state title.
“Her play at the end of the game was remarkable,” Blanchard marvelled. “She was tired and she was losing touch on the ball a little bit, but still had the wherewithal to get to the plate, block it and get the girl out.”
Mott’s two-game stat line in the circle during the state tournament was also remarkable – 13 innings pitched, four hits, one earned run, 16 strikeouts and one walk.
And, with Mott dealing that day in June, Blanchard saw something special from his squad.
“Behind her (they) had never played better than that, in all aspects of the game,” Blanchard said. “Sam understood the dynamics of the team and really allowed them to gel around her. It was a huge step in leadership for her.”
What’s more, during the title game it was Mott – while the rest of her teammates struggled to solve the elusive Sandy Creek pitcher Chelsea Claflin – who sent the opposing right-hander’s two-out offering into the figurative right-field bleachers beyond the fence for a solo home run that broke a scoreless tie.
Of the first 10 batters Claflin faced over the first four innings, Mott’s homer was the only hit (Frewsburg would finish with just three total) and, with the game ending in by a slim, 2-1 margin, it was a crucial one, too.
“Sam Mott is amazing,” teammate Shawna Raymond said shortly after the victory. “She’s been so great, she’s carried us, she’s been our leader and we’re just so proud of her. She deserves it more than any of us.”
But it wasn’t just in the playoffs that Mott excelled, she commanded all season, along the way helping the Bears to the D Division tournament title at the Grand Strand Tournament in Myrtle Beach in early April, spinning a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts later that month against Silver Creek and leading the 20-win squad with 34 RBIs.
All in all it was yet another outstanding season for the pitcher; one that made her more than worthy of selection as this year’s Post-Journal Player of the Year.