Background photo via six.com. Logos courtesy of Sehome, Lynden Christian, Lynden and Mount Baker High Schools and NWCAthletics.com
State Softball: 4-Pack Chasing Titles
May 23, 2019
Four familiar Whatcom County prep softball squads begin their chase for a state championship Friday. Sehome and Lynden are in Selah for the 2A tournament, while Lynden Christian and Mount Baker are in Richland for the 1A tournament.
All four teams are making a return trip from last year. Neither team placed in the top-4 to bring home hardware. Sehome made the longest run towards a state title. The Mariners fell in the semifinals 12-2 to Ellensburg. Lynden Christian and Mt. Baker each lost in the quarterfinals while Lynden dropped their opening game.
So can this 4-pack change their fortunes this time around?
Sehome (16-4) comes in as the top seed out of district 1. The Mariners put on an offensive show in their first 3 district tournament games beating Blaine, Sedro-Woolley and Anacortes by a combined score of 35-to-6. Then it was a pitchers duel, 2-0 win over Lakewood in the district championship game.
Sehome has been powered by the tandem of pitcher Savannah Smith and catcher Megan Hall. Head coach Jim Emerson said if you have a good battery in fast pitch you have an opportunity to win in every game.
"I'm really a big proponent of a catcher being able to call pitches and call the game and that's what Megan did for us all year long," said Emerson. "She and Savannah have been together for a few years now and it just seems to click really well and Savannah pitched every single inning of every game this year."
Smith recorded 239 strikeouts and gave up just 27 earned runs and 24 walks over 139.7 innings pitched. Hall leads the team in hitting with a .539 average, 8 homers and 40 RBI's.
The Mariners will open play at Carlon Park at 12pm vs. Tumwater (18-5). The Thunderbirds are the 4th place team out of district 4 and are returning to state for the 3rd time in the last four years.
Lynden (16-7) is looking to ride their district tournament momentum after advancing to state by winning two loser out contests last week. The Lions beat top-seed Anacortes 6-2 and avenged their semifinal loss to Mountlake Terrace with a 7-4 victory over the Hawks.
Senior Blakely Doerge (.478 Avg 6 HR 29 RBI) and sophomore Riley Anderson (.535/4/28) lead the Lions offensive attack. Breanna Swendt is the top Lynden pitcher with a record of 15-4 with a 4.97 ERA.
Lynden will open against Olympic (16-8) at 12:00pm looking for the same type of result they got last year at state. The Lions thumped the Trojans 14-to-6 in a consolation bracket match-up.
"There's really no weak spots in their lineup, they're a really, really good hitting team," said Lynden assistant coach Ryan Dykstra. "We're going to have to hit the ball well and we're going to have to mix our speeds like we did against Anacortes and just try to hit our spots really well just to get them out."
Lynden and Sehome are on the same side of the bracket. They Lions and Mariners could meet in the semifinals on day two.
Mount Baker (17-7) needed two 1-run victories in district tournament loser out games last week to advance to 1A state at the Columbia Playfields in Richland. The Mounties beat Nooksack Valley 9-7 and Cedar Park Christian 9-8.
Mt. Baker coach Ron Lepper said his squad has been through a lot this season and their mental approach to bounce back has been the key to their success.
"The girls are just kinda doing what we ask them to do if that mean put a bunt down they'll do that or find a way to get on base whether it's a walk, get hit by a pitch, hit the ball hard maybe cause an error," said Lepper. "If we can do those things and just not give up too many big innings, stay away from the crooked numbers as they say, then I think we'll have a chance to have a little success over there."
The Mount Baker offense is paced by infielder Tyler Miles. The junior is hitting .542 with 22 RBI's and a .661 slugging percentage. Miles and freshman Kaitlyn Rosenburg handle the bulk of the pitching duties, combing for 13 wins and 2 saves this season.
The Mountaineers face Royal (8-12) at 12:00pm. According to WIAA.com, the Knights are making their first appearance at state since the 2007-08 season.
Lynden Christian picked the right time to play their best. After dropping 3 of their final 4 regular season games the Lyncs took off in the district tournament. Third-seeded LC beat Cedar Park Christian, Mount Baker and Coupeville by a combined score of 44-to-22 to win the championship.
Lynden Christian will face another team that got hot at the right time. Forks (11-10) finished 4th in the Evergreen Conference winning just 2 league games, but the 4th seeded Spartans took 4th place in districts to advance. LC and Forks meet at 12:00pm.
Lynden Christian could face a much tougher foe waiting for them in the second round in defending state champion Lakeside (9 Mile Falls). The Eagles play Cle Elum at noon opposite the Lyncs in the bracket.
Maggie VanderGreind tops Lynden Christian in offense. The junior is hitting .476 with 6 homers and 34 RBI's. Abby Jansma handles the pitching duties with a record of 11-11 with 76 strikeouts and a 5.93 ERA.
NOTE: We reached out to Lynden Christian, but were unable to get an interview with coach Brooke Heystek.
Lynden Christian and Mount Baker are in the same half of the bracket. If both teams find success in their first two games they would meet up in the semifinals.
- Doug Lange
* All stats supplied by Tyler Anderson of WhatcomPreps.com
Clockwise from upper left: Sehome Sr. Megan Hall (Photo: Trina Hall), Lynden senior Blakely Doerge (Photo: Donna Swendt), Lynden Christian junior Maggie VanderGriend (Photo: Blake Witman) & Mount Baker junior Tyler Miles (Photo: Tyler Anderson) All photos supplied to TDLN by WhatcomPreps.com