Pitcher of the Year Bailey Doherty: Rodeo queen, dodgeball assassin

Bailey Doherty is unquestionably a star on the softball field. She has graced the front page of this sports section numerous times as she completed her season with an incredible 20-2 overall. She finished the year with a .75 earned run average (ERA), threw a perfect game, and was as close as you can get in two others. In the opening game of the season, Doherty had a perfect game going through three innings but was pulled because the Hounds were up by six, and eventually won the game in only four innings 13-0.

On April 27, we ran a column comparing Doherty to the character Bullseye from the old Ben Affleck “Daredevil” movie and that afternoon she truly was, going seven innings doling out 15 strikeouts in a perfect game. Four days later she nearly did it again, just missing consecutive perfect games by hitting one batter late in the game.

She also performed in the clutch, throwing a no-hitter in the first round of the CIF Division 3 playoffs. She can also hit, finishing the season with a .394 batting average with four home runs from the cleanup position.

While many around the community know about Doherty from her work on the mound, she has spent a lifetime making a name for herself far away from the chalk lines and wooden backstops of the diamond.

“I would say (I’m more comfortable) in the pasture and the rodeo,” she said. “I have been plopped on a saddle since I was in my mom’s stomach pretty much. She would ride horses when she was nine months pregnant with me.”

Unlike most dominating pitchers, she started pitching late, at the age of 9. While many young pitchers are learning the fundamentals of the rise ball, she was planning out the perfect stick horse race track with just the right amount of turns, which she said was “always my favorite.”

This was Doherty’s breakout season, but not her first on the varsity team. Last year she split time with senior Melissa McClain and struggled, finishing the season with an 8-6 record and a 2.59 ERA.

“With Megan [McClain] there, I really worked my way up and I was very tentative going on to the mound, and I was worried if I screwed up, were the coaches going to yell at me or not?” she said.

Last season she was known as “the freshman” and it took a toll on her concentration as she worried about life’s problems while toeing the rubber.

Doherty is no longer “the freshman.” She now holds the title of the 2017-18 PAC 8 Pitcher of the Year, but still values her crown as the 2016 rodeo queen over everything else.

When asked to rank her favorite moments over the past two years, without hesitation, she answered: “Rodeo Queen is definitely number one.”

Softballs aren’t the only thing that Doherty can throw with lethal precision.

“I’m feared in dodgeball,” she said. “My P.E. teacher won't let us play dodgeball because of me.” Legend has it, in middle school she hit a friend in the head, dropped him like a sack of potatoes and for a minute people weren’t sure if he would ever play dodgeball again.

Doherty has already verbally committed to Cal Poly and did so her freshman year.

“Other schools can still look at you, there is no rules against it, they can't back down,” she replied when asked why she committed so early. “Cal Poly has always been my favorite since I was little. They have a horse unit, the baby horses are right next to the softball field, and the pig unit and the cow unit there is everything that I could imagine, and the rodeo team too.”

Less than a week after the Greyhounds’ heartbreaking walk-off loss in the semifinals, she was already back in the batting cages working for next year.

“I’m really excited for my team to realize how much potential they have and how far we got,” she said. “And they know personally, that if we would have won that game, we would have walked away with the title.”


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