The Battle Ground High School slowpitch softball team took fourth place at the state tournament on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 at the Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima, marking the first time the team made it to the state championships in school history.
The team moved onto state after taking second place at the district tournament.
Their first game was against Chiawana High School, which Battle Ground lost 24-3. Next, they went against Woodinville and won 14-4. The third game was against Moses Lake, who they beat 17-16. Finally, they lost against West Valley, 28-5, taking fourth place in the tournament.
“It’s a dream come true because the girls worked so hard for it this year,” said coach Rachel Gray. “Honestly, I’ve never had a team that practices harder. They asked if they could have Saturday practices or to work on things after practice. They put their heart and soul into this year and it’s nice it paid off.”
Unlike fastpitch softball which takes place in the spring, slowpitch is played in the fall. In slowpitch, the ball is arced between 6 to 12 feet while it’s pitched with one smooth underarm motion, while fastpitch balls are thrown at 60 to 80 miles per hour.
Slowpitch is one of the few sports that brings a hodgepodge of girls from different teams, like the junior varsity fastpitch and tennis teams, as well as exchange students.
“When they work together and practice together, they really become a cohesive unit that works extremely well,” Gray said. “The sport is alluring for athletes who want to stay in shape in the off season when they’re not playing tennis or fastpitch.”
Haylee Newton, a captain for the team and first baseman, was happy with how her team competed at districts.
“I was really excited and proud of my teammates for pushing really hard and being able to pull off that win,” Newton said prior to the state tournament. “Placing second (at districts) was a big deal for us.”
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