Michael and Grace Goode, cousins who are very close in age, grew up next door to each other. They would often refer to themselves as a “basketball family.”
Michael, a 2021 La Center graduate, decided to forge his own path by pursuing his love for baseball. He didn’t just love the sport, he excelled at it as the catcher.
In 2016, his tournament baseball team, the KWRL Centerfield Roosters placed third in the Babe Ruth World Series. The games were played at Lower Columbia College.
Michael said he met athletes on teams from all over the U.S., including Rhode Island, Texas and Michigan.
“It was kind of disappointing because the last couple of years had been in Virginia and it happened to be 30 minutes away that time,” he said.
Once Michael started baseball in high school, he also found success.
For the first time in school history, the La Center Wildcats took home both a league championship title and the 1A District championship title this season. The previous season was canceled because of the pandemic.
Michael started playing T-ball when he was six, then he played on tournament teams over the summer with athletes from Ridgefield, La Center, Woodland and Battle Ground.
Both Grace, a Ridgefield 2021 graduate, and Michael started on varsity for their respective sports all four years of their high school careers. They also made the all-league team this season, Grace’s father Randy Goode said.
Grace, unlike Michael, stuck with basketball from third grade until her senior year, with encouragement from her father.
She remembers traveling to San Diego for a Christmas basketball tournament. Her team ended up placing first and breaking school records for highest-scoring games.
After a year-long break from high school basketball, Grace was able to get back into the gym, but during the third game this season, she landed on her hand which ended up tearing ligaments. Grace got back up and continued to play, Randy said.
After the season finished, she was given a temporary cast for her hand, he said.
Both of Grace’s parents played basketball, and now her two younger siblings participate as well.
Grace also enjoyed running on the cross country team. She qualified for the state competition twice.
The two seasons varied drastically for Michael and Grace, she said. Because basketball is in the gymnasium, each player could only invite four attendees and masks were mandatory.
For Michael, he didn’t witness much of a change besides occasionally wearing masks and social distancing, he said.
They both completed college credits early through the Running Start program. Michael plans to finish his associate’s degree in about two months, then he wants to complete a license in appraising. He also hopes to become a Hotshot wildland firefighter.
“I want to make the world a better place without having to sit at a computer all day,” he said.
Grace will complete her associate’s degree from Clark College, then will transfer to a four-year college, she said.
Randy said a few college coaches are in communication with Grace.
Although they don’t live next door to each other anymore, they still find time to catch up. Grace and Michael enjoy meeting up for “Dutch runs” to get caffeinated drinks from the popular Dutch Bros Coffee stand.