Sunny weather arrived just in time for the first week of the high school softball season in north Clark County.
“I’ve wanted to play a game for the last two weeks,” said Woodland junior Kelly Sweyer. “Practices start getting old and everyone wants to start playing again so it was really good to get back out on the field.”
Defending 2A state champion Woodland kicked off its new campaign with a 7-0 victory against Camas March 11. Chloe Eddy and Sweyer knocked in runs in the top of the first inning and the Beavers continued to add runs throughout the game. That was all Olivia Grey needed. She pitched a 3-hitter with 15 strikeouts.
“It’s my senior season so it’s a little bittersweet but it was awesome to be back on the field with my family,” Grey said. “We’re really excited but we’re just going to take it one game at a time. Hopefully win league and districts, get our berth to state and just go from there.”
Woodland went 25-3 in 2018, shared a league title with Ridgefield and finished third at districts before playing their best softball at state. Kaily Christensen, Eddy, Payten Foster and Sweyer are back in this lineup this spring after hitting home runs at state. Grey looks forward to pitching more big games for the Beavers with Justice Holcomb behind the plate. Grey was voted as the 2A player of the year after striking out 69 batters in 28 innings at state.
“I have my awesome catcher behind the plate supporting me and everyone on the field saying, ‘Come on. You’ve got this.’ That’s what we do for each other,” Grey said. “I love playing with these girls. It’s going to be rough leaving them but I’m going to have this to fall back on later in my life. We’re all going to be talking about these days 10 years from now.”
The Beavers know they have a target on their back. Head coach Tom Christensen reminds them to have fun. They’re all out here for the same season. They love softball.
“The goal is to get back to state and whatever happens, happens from there,” he said. “No regrets is the biggest thing. Don’t go home regretting you should have stolen that base or dove for that ball. Know you gave it all you had. After that, it’s out of your control.”
Sweyer vows to give it her all every single game for Woodland and she encourages her teammates to do the same.
“We feed off each other. When somebody does something good, everybody else wants to do something good,” Sweyer said. “I think it’s important to walk off the field saying ‘I gave it my all.’ I want people to know that we work hard and the reward is winning games.”
The Ridgefield faced its first test of a new season. Down 4-0 against Camas March 13, Lilly Mittmann hit a 2-run home run and Kaia Oliver added an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth inning but the Spudders couldn’t score any more runs and lost by one.
“They’ve got to bring the energy from the first pitch,” said head coach Dusty Anchors. “We were just lackluster for four innings and that’s not our type of ball.”
Ridgefield bounced back with two wins Saturday at Eastlake High School in Sammamish. The Spudders beat Juanita and Eastlake by scores of 4-0. Sarah Jenkins earned seven strikeouts in the first game and Oliver collected 11 strikeouts in the second game.
Oliver and Emma Jenkins have been playing catch on a softball diamond for seven years. Now they are high school seniors dreaming of winning a state championship.
“We have a long road ahead of us, but I think we can do it,” Jenkins said.
“Not having captains on the team and knowing we all have a voice no matter what age we are is really important,” Oliver added. “We all have the same work ethic and the same goal in mind.”
Ridgefield went 21-5 in 2018, shared the league title with Woodland, finished second at districts and won three out of five games at state.
“If everything comes together, their desire is to be back over in Yakima for state,” Anchors said. “Everybody can be a leader whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior or a senior. It doesn’t make any difference. Everybody can be a leader.”
The Wildcats won the Trapper Softball Classic Saturday at Fort Vancouver High School.
La Center defeated Washougal 8-4 in the championship game. Coral Clark went 3 for 4 at the plate with a home run, 2 RBI and three runs scored. Madison Osborne pitched all seven innings and earned six strikeouts.
The Wildcats beat Hudson’s Bay 12-2 in the first game. Clark drove in two runs on two hits, Breanna Normine hit a home run and Macy Randolph went 3 for 3 with a double, triple and three runs scored.
La Center went 6-15 in 2018 and 0-2 in districts.
Abby Runyon’s senior season at Hockinson High School is off to a spectacular start.
She pitched a no-hitter with 10 strikeouts Friday as the Hawks defeated King’s Way 10-0. She also went 3 for 3 at the plate and drove in two runs.
On Saturday, Runyon racked up 20 strikeouts to help Hockinson sweep Walla Walla in a doubleheader. The Hawks won the first game 8-5 and Runyon had 14 strikeouts. She picked up six more strikeouts in the second game while Hockinson won 12-2.
Hockinson went 11-10 in 2018 and 0-2 in districts.
After losing 3-2 to Ridgefield March 11, the Battle Ground softball team beat R.A. Long 8-5 March 13 and Gig Harbor 9-6 Friday.
The Tigers went 12-11 in 2018 and defeated Kentlake 11-1 in the first round of the 4A bi-district tournament before getting eliminated.
The Prairie softball team is still searching for its first win of the season after loses to Skyview, Columbia River, and Camas.
The Falcons went 13-12 in 2018, finished second at the 3A bi-district tournament and lost both games at state.