At a school that counts two past Cal-Hi Sports state players of the year and a current NCAA All-American among its alumni, junior Claire Stucker already stands alone as the greatest power hitter in Bullard High softball history.
Stucker clubbed her school-best 12th career home run Thursday in the Knights’ 10-7 victory over Clovis West that salvaged a nonleague doubleheader split.
That’s two more than Christine Thomsen — a second-team All-America pick for Utah State last season — hit for Bullard from 2005-2008.
Stucker opened the season tied for second in school history at nine with former UCLA great and current Clovis North coach Courtney Dale, the state Player of the Year in 1995. Bullard’s Marissa Marzan was the state POY in 2001.
Stucker tied Thomsen for first with a blast against Buchanan on Feb. 27 and set the record with a homer on March 4 against El Diamante. The Central Section career record of 32 was set by Corcoran’s Demi Walker (2007-2010), according to section historian Bob Barnett.
“I would definitely put her up against anyone I’ve coached or played with, and that’s close to 20 years,” said Bullard’s Jaime Maxey, who coached Thomsen and Marzan and played alongside Dale.
“As far as sheer power, she might have the most I’ve ever seen in high school. When I’m coaching third base, I get way up the line when she comes up because there’s no time to react. The ball screams off her bat.”
Stucker, who’s given an oral commitment to Mississippi State, will look to add to her total Saturday at the rain-interrupted Buchanan Preseason Tournament.
Bullard — ranked fifth in the section by The Bee — will face Hanford West at 1 p.m. (Field 2) and Kingsburg at 2:45 p.m. (Field 2) in the completion of a tournament that had six of 15 teams from the Division I bracket and six of 12 in D-II unable to return to the Buchanan Softball Complex on Friday.
No champion will be crowned.