By Brad Fridell
Special to the Reporter
Sure, some girls just wanna have fun, but for these three high school seniors, their brand of fun can be found on softball diamonds stretching from Kirkland to Lacey, site of the 3A fastpitch state championship.
“That’s absolutely the goal of this team,” said Lake Washington High senior Jamie Pippin. “We have the talent and the drive to get there.”
Indeed, the Kangaroos’ fortunes for a return trip to Lacey will rest largely on the shoulders of Pippin and fellow seniors Jane Wilson and Emma Rosendal. Coming off a third-place finish at state in 2017, the three endured injuries and illness as juniors in 2018, which saw the Kangs’ season end in the SeaKing Districts.
Wilson, the club’s top returning pitcher, missed about half the season battling back spasms. Rosendal spent the spring away from the diamond with an illness, while Pippin suffered a broken finger late in the season.
While Pippin and Wilson finalize plans for collegiate softball — both are eyeing Division III programs on the East Coast — none of the three seniors have lost sight of the ultimate goal.
“We’re hungry to get back to state,” said Wilson, who’s notched two perfect games in her high school career. “We have a great freshman class that’s added a lot of depth to the team, and a new coach (Jessica Carey) who’s clearly here to win.”
This 2019 edition features a veteran-laden team with six returning starters from last year’s club. Wilson returns as the club’s primary ace on the mound, with freshman Tess Bumiller expected to see significant innings as well. The entire infield returns with juniors Anna Fridell and Haley Brown joining sophomores Maliena Carelli and Claire Towey; while the outfield features Pippin, junior Amy Chen and freshman Addie Sapirstein. Rosendal, hard-hitting freshmen Lilly Bean and Rachel Sapirstein are expected to see significant time as well.
With the two-time 3A KingCo tournament champion Redmond Mustangs having been bumped back up to 4A, Rosendal expects to see a familiar foe come 3A tourney time.
“I really think it’s going to come down to us and Juanita again,” she said.
Added Wilson: “We have the pitching, the hitting and defense, top to bottom. We’ve really bonded as a team. We have fun. But we’re all business.”
LW opened 3A KingCo conference play with a 10-0 thumping of Sammamish on March 22, but fell back to earth three days later in a 4-2 loss at Bellevue. In the opener, Fridell’s three-run double in the fourth inning broke the game open, with Wilson and Rosendal also delivering key RBI hits. On the mound, Wilson limited the Totems to three hits over six innings while striking out five to pick up the shutout victory.
The Kangs traveled to Bellevue on Monday, where the Wolverines jumped out to an early three-run lead in the first inning. Led by Pippin’s two hits, the Kangs batted 10 base hits on the day, but could only push across two runs.