Sam VanLoo of Lynden Christian and Kennedy West of Mount Baker. PHOTOS: Doug Lange
State Softball: Lyncs & Mountaineers open vs. SCAC foes
May 24, 2018
Coaches for the Lynden Chrsitian and Mount Baker softball teams have been busy this week looking for information on their opponents as they get ready to open up the 1A state tournament in Richland on Friday. While the specifics on their opening round match-ups against teams out of the South Central Athletic Conference remain murky, both the Lyncs and the Mountaineers know the tournament features a loaded bracket from top to bottom.
Lynden Christian (19-3; District champs) will open versus Connell (14-8). Mount Baker (16-7 District: 2nd place) draws Kiona Benton (18-5).
LC head coach Mitch Moorlag called Connell a tradition rich team. He's correct, the Eagles are in the state tournament for the 8th time in the last 10 yeas. They won the state title in 2013,
Freshman 3B/C Emma Andrewjeski leads Connell with a .667 batting average and 5 home runs. The Eagles finished 4th in the SCAC east and 4th in the district tournament.
While it starts in the pitching circle with Sam Van Loo for LC, Moorlag says a big key will be preventing the stolen bases versus Connell and their possible 2nd round opponent Castle Rock.
"They like to run, like to run and run some more," said Moorlag. "It's going to come down to Tori Bajema behind the plate and how can she extinguish that running game that those teams like to have."
Mount Baker gets a Kiona Benton squad averaging 11.5 runs per game, but making just their 4th appearance at state overall and first since 2006. They finished 2nd in the SCAC East and second in the district tournament falling in the championship game to powerhouse Warden. Senior pitcher Taylor Monk leads the way for the Bears with a 10-and-3 record and 9 complete games on the season.
Coach Ron Lepper will rely on his two sophomore pitchers in Tyler Miles and Kennedy West, who combined on the 5-4, extra-innings semifinal victory over South Whidbey last week to get the Mountaineers to state. West is their top slugger, leading the team in home runs and RBI's.
"We say SCC, which means we want to scratch, claw and compete," said Lepper. "I think if we can do that every pitch and if we make a mistake, get rid of it right now and come back, I think we'll have a chance to have some fun this weekend and make get a chance to play Saturday for some hardware."
The Lyncs and the Mountaineers are on opposite ends of the bracket, so they could meet for a state title. It won't be easy with last years champ Montesano joining the top team in the state in Warden on either end of the bracket as well.
Mount Baker vs. Kiona-Benton 10AM
Lynden Christian vs. Connell 12pm
Mt. Baker vs. Chewelah or Montesano 2pm (losers bracket) 4pm (winners bracket)
Lynden Christian vs. Klahowya or Castle Rock 2pm (losers bracket) 4pm (winners bracket)
- Doug Lange
* Statistical information from Maxpreps.com