Local softball squads will soon be hitting the diamonds at the 3A state tournament in Lacey. The premiere event will fire up with Lake Washington and Juanita aboard on May 24-25 at the Regional Athletic Complex.
LW qualified for state with a 2-0 victory over Bainbridge on May 14 in the 3A Sea-King District tournament at the Southwest Athletic Complex in West Seattle.
Juanita earned the fifth spot to state with an 8-6 victory over Bainbridge on May 16 in the district tourney at the SWAC.
Also on May 16, LW — the 3A KingCo tournament champs — defeated Holy Names Academy, 14-5, and a day later, the Kangs lost to Garfield, 1-0, in the title game. The finalists notch the top two spots to state.
“Honestly, I think it’s our energy and just getting ourselves up, and cheering on the fence when we’re hitting,” said LW senior pitcher Jane Wilson. “Doing our pre-pitch and knowing what’s happening on the field, knowing the next play. Just kind of a lot of the little things that we just have to turn all the way up and then we’re good.”
One of the LW girls was overheard saying to her teammates before the Bainbridge game that she visualized good things happening for the Kangs.
With her screwball, curveball and fastball working wonders against Bainbridge, Wilson fired a one-hitter and fanned 10 batters. Emma Rosendal had two hits and an RBI, Lilly Bean had a hit and an RBI and Adelaide Sapirstein knocked two hits.
Against Holy Names, Bean had three hits and four RBIs, and Amy Chen and Sapirstein had two hits and two RBIs apiece. In the Garfield game, pitcher Tess Bumiller hurled a one-hitter and had a single to go along with Sapirstein’s one-bagger.
Bean, a freshman catcher, watched LW games before joining the team and enjoys the camaraderie amongst the girls.
“We’re all here for each other and we’re all playing for a team. It’s not one person’s game, it’s all of our games, and we’re all playing like we want each other’s success and we’re gonna feed off that. I think that really helps with our wins,” Bean said.
It’s such a full team effort that when Wilson and Bean began giving shout-outs to their teammates, they listed nearly the entire lineup. Laughter ensued and they reiterated the crucial team atmosphere.
Wilson was thrilled to win the KingCo crown for the first time in her four years on the squad.
From seniors to freshmen, it’s all working for the Kangs. The only difference is that the seniors don’t have to lug the gear, Wilson said with a laugh.
“One of the things that has been really helpful for us, is everyone has a chance to get on the field, everyone’s working their hardest to get on the field,” she added.
On the Juanita side, head coach Traci Odegard said the girls have come together and fought for each other this season.
In a loser-out game against Bainbridge, Juanita led 6-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh when its opponent tied the game. The Rebels tallied two runs in the eighth inning to triumph.
“Last night was an intense, nerve-racking game, however our girls pulled through,” Odegard said. “These girls have picked up each other in tough situations, and continue to fight alongside one another. They don’t give up and love the adversity. I tell them again and again that good teams can win games, but GREAT teams can overcome adversity and compete.”
Tops on the hitting front against Bainbridge were Eden Radke, Mackenzie Burke and Rory Hutchinson with homers, and extra RBIs from Kaci Gordon (two) and Abbie Reynolds.
In a 17-6 victory over Roosevelt at districts, Radke hammered a grand slam and Sasha Mitchell homered as well to go along with two hits each from Gordon, Burke, Jordan Schroeder and Ruby Olmstead. Mitchell (two hits), Burke and Olmstead had three RBIs each.
Speaking of Schroeder, she stoked the Juanita side with a spectacular acrobatic catch in center field while tangling herself in the fence in the Rebels’ 9-3 loss to Garfield at districts. The home-plate umpire told a man behind the backstop that it was one of the best catches he’s ever seen.
“These girls have had one goal all season, to head back to state. Although they seem to always make it interesting and thrilling, they always find a way. I am so proud of the team this year and can’t wait to see them compete for a state title. They have earned it!,” Odegard said.
Mitchell feels that Juanita softball treads a special and successful path because the girls began their careers playing Little League together and most of the Rebels have played on the same travel team for years.
“I think playing together has really made a difference when it comes to high school softball and we all get along really well. Also now that Juanita has been to state for the past couple years, it has become a tradition and a goal every year that we as a team are committed to,” she said.