The pandemic-affected sports season provided a treat for a small group of seniors who years ago played together on a state championship Little League softball team.
The six seniors, who compete for Lakewood and Arlington high schools, get to enjoy a couple of chances to play against each other before graduation.
“It’s really fun. We get to come together and play together,” said Brittani Boortz, a senior for the Lakewood High School softball team, which in previous years competed in a different conference than Arlington.
Boortz, along with teammates Riley Mae Swanson, Ashtyn Falor, Natalie Krueger, as well as Arlington High School seniors Heather Broyles and Megan Lawrence, were members of the Stilly Valley All-Star team. When they were 9 and 10 years old, they won the state championship in 2014.
“We click very well together,” Swanson said. “We’ve been playing together for a long time.”
Broyles said the Little League team’s hitting was phenomenal and Swanson was a great pitcher.
“We had a really good dynamic,” Lawrence said. She added that the state championship was the first time the team traveled.
“We made so many memories, Broyles said.
The Stilly Valley All-Star team back then traveled to Asotin, Wash., to compete in the state tournament. They had to contend with 100-plus-degree temperatures. Whenever the team won, they jumped into the Snake River.
In a typical year, Lakewood High School normally competes in the Northwest League, which is comprised of 1A, 2A and 3A schools located north of Snohomish County. Because of the pandemic, the Cougars are competing in the Wesco Conference which is comprised of 3A and 4A schools in Snohomish County. The temporary league change allowed the Cougars and Eagles to compete during a shortened spring sports season.
The two schools had their first game April 16 at Lakewood High School with the Cougars coming out on top 4-0.
“It was a fun night to get them back together again,” said Travis Boortz, head coach for the Lakewood softball team.
He said the Cougars displayed a good defensive effort Friday. Swanson had eight strikeouts and the team turned three double plays during the game.
“The girls played really hard,” Arlington softball coach Hayden Raught said.
She said junior pitcher Lizzie Durfee threw an awesome game. Durfee threw a lot of outs while minimizing extra base hits. She also highlighted the efforts of outfielders Naomi Peterson, Lexi Eck and Riley Ryan. She mentioned Peterson also had a double and a stolen base.
Lakewood’s softball team is also remembering assistant coach Dan Hutchinson, who passed away in December. A large “H” was placed in center field and a banner “We play for Hutch,” is hanging from the outfield fence.
Both teams had expectations to reach some kind of post-season play this year. However, all post-season play in all sports were canceled for the season. Seasons are also shortened with the spring sports wrapping up in early May.
“At least they had an opportunity to come out and represent the community,” Raught said.
Both the Lakewood and Arlington softball teams played three games last week.
The Cougars started the week winning 4-0 April 13 against Marysville Getchell. Boortz highlighted the efforts of Swanson, who gave up two hits and had six strikeouts against the Chargers. He added freshman Avalon Kummer was the player of the game. She had a couple of hits and a couple of RBIs.
The Cougar’s fortunes changed the next night with a 5-4 loss to Kamiak. “We’ll get them again in a few weeks. Hopefully it will be a different outcome,” Boortz said. He added that Swanson threw more and 100 pitches, had 10 strikeouts and a triple.
Arlington started last week facing Marysville Getchell April 12 at home. The Eagles won 14-2 after five innings of play.
“Our girls really excelled at the plate against Marysville Getchell,” Raught said adding Broyles hit a grand slam home run during the game.
Two days later, the Eagles traveled to Marysville-Pilchuck High School to fall 6-2 to the Tomahawks. Raught said Kailyn Thai scored two runs and Broyles had an RBI and an RBI sacrifice fly.
This week Lakewood hosts Monroe High School April 22 and then travels to Lake Stevens High School April 23.
Arlington travels to Archbishop Murphy April 22 and then travels to Marysville Getchell April 23.
Lakewood travels to Arlington May 3 to play another game during the final week of the season.