No, that wasn’t thunder that boomed over Eastside softball fields last week. It was the mammoth crush of the bats held in the sturdy hands of the Juanita and Lake Washington softball batters.
The hits were heavy and plentiful.
Sasha Mitchell smashed four homers in three games and the rest of the Juanita squad cranked up its bats as well as the Rebels knocked off Liberty, 18-2, Sammamish, 17-0 and Mercer Island, 15-0.
Against Liberty, Jordan Schroeder also homered and had three RBIs; Kaci Gordon was all about the fours, going 4-for-4 with four RBIs; Lexi Blackburn had two hits; Heather Gengo and Eden Radke had two RBIs apiece; and Mackenzie Burke earned the win from the mound.
In the Sammamish game, Mitchell had two homers and four RBIs; Blackburn had three hits; Schroeder had three RBIs; Abbie Reynolds had two doubles; Gordon had four RBIs; Briar Swayne had three RBIs; and Burke notched the win.
Against Mercer Island, Mitchell banged a homer, triple and had three RBIs; Reynolds had three hits and two RBIs; Radke and Rylee Blackburn had two hits; and pitcher Annisa Tax earned the win.
Mitchell had eight homers this season at press time.
As of Monday, the Rebels stood in second place in league with a 10-2 record.
“This team is extremely special to me this year because everybody has played a major role in our success,” said Juanita coach Traci Odegard. “We have seniors who help support and guide the younger players. We have freshmen and sophomores who have really stepped up making a presence on the field both physically and verbally. And overall we have fun as a whole team, we laugh, and make every practice and competition fun in different ways.”
In order to continue their winning ways the rest of the season, the Rebels will need to keep relying on their solid defense and aggressive nature at the plate and on the basepaths, the coach said, noting that pitching has been a major plus this spring as well.
“I am excited to see what this team will accomplish going into postseason,” Odegard added.
Juanita recognized its seniors following the Sammamish game: Lexi Blackburn, who will be attending Washington State University next year; Swayne, who will be attending Western Washington; and Megan Murray, who will be attending Gonzaga University. The girls will be focusing on academics at their schools and not playing softball.
The Kang bats were ultra-hot during a trio of victories over Interlake, 14-4, Liberty, 15-2, and Sammamish 11-2.
Against Liberty, Claire Towey and Anna Fridell had three hits apiece; Anastasia Kotsakis had three RBIs; Maliena Carelli and Lindsay Allan had two RBIs each; and Antonia Norman earned the pitching win.
In the Sammamish win, Jamie Pippin had three hits; and LW got two hits each from Allan, Hailey Menssen, Haley Brown, Abigail Mills and Towey (three RBIs). Morgan Hasselbalch earned the pitching win.
Brown amassed four hits and scored four runs against Interlake; Kotsakis nailed three hits, including a homer, and added four RBIs; and Norman notched the win. The Kangs reeled off 17 hits on the day.
The Kangs held the third-place spot in league with a 9-3 mark at press time. In recent games, they have been playing without pitcher Jane Wilson, who has been battling some back issues, according to coach Traci Tawney.
Hard work, focus and determination will be the hallmarks to LW’s further success this season, according to Mills.
“It will take us building each other up and banding together, really working and thinking as one,” Mills said. “We have had some rough games this year but that just means we know how to fight for a win more than the next team.”
Mills said they’ve got both an easy going and rambunctious squad on their hands. The Kangs can be having fun and relaxing one minute, and then know how to flick on the hyped-up switch and get down to business.
There’s more than just softball occurring on the basepaths.
“Being a part of this team means so much more to me than just a chance to play ball everyday. It is a chance to better myself as person and as a player. The lessons I have learned from my coaches and from the girls around me have made me who I am today,” said Mills, whose message is most likely echoing across all softball fields.
LW’s four seniors, who will be studying in college next year and not playing softball, are: Mills (Boise State University), Menssen (University of Washington), Allan (University of Washington) and Kotsakis (University of Arizona).