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Tough finish to a great season
The first two years of the Mount Si Wildcats' softball summer league team have been extremely successful. Last year they finished fourth in the Seattle Summer Fastpitch League (SSFL) and this year they played for a league title. However, the bats were cold, the defense a bit rocky and as a result, the Wildcats failed in their bid for the crown.
Holy Names, who started the game with just eight players, got great pitching and took advantage of several Mount Si errors en route to a 5-1 victory Friday, July 20, in the SSFL championship game at Husky Softball Stadium in Seattle. The Wildcats finished in second place, but Mount Si summer coach Todd Shaw wasn't entirely disappointed.
"We didn't play our best game. Give a lot of credit to the Holy Names pitcher; she pitched very, very well," Shaw said. "We have good hitters and she was finding her way around us quite a bit. But we played into the finals and a lot of these girls, we all got to play tonight, we got everybody into the game in some capacity, so everybody got to come out to Husky Softball Stadium and play in just a great setting and end our season and come in second place."
The Wildcats were limited to just six hits.
Sophomore-to-be Rachel Nyberg said she grew as a player thanks to the summer league.
"I've learned a lot and I'm hoping that I can get all of it put together so I can get up on varsity, but I've kind of learned just to have fun and work together for your teammates and make sure you communicate, because communication is a big part of softball," Nyberg said.
April Saffell, who's hoping to land on the Mount Si varsity team next spring, was pleased with her effort.
"I think I did pretty good compared to the last couple of games I've had. I've struggled lately, but tonight I did pretty good, so I was happy," Saffell said.
Something that Wildcat fans, and local youth softball fans in general, need to know is that this team finished second in the SSFL with a large number of incoming highschool freshmen and even a couple of middle-school-age players on the team. This speaks volumes about the growth of youth softball locally at the 12-14 age level. Shaw is hoping to build on that growth.
"Some of us are going to try to coach some of the Juniors 'Little League coaches next year so that there's development earlier on in the middle school, so we're going to try to get a program to build development up at an earlier age," Shaw said.
One of those younger players is Jessica Bladow. She learned a lot about the finer points of the game this summer.
"Even small things that you don't even realize you learn on this team sometimes and they'll help you in the later years when you play softball," Bladow said.
Mount Si reached the final by winning their loser bracket semifinal Thursday, July 19, over the ASA Seattle Spice select team. Spice was forced to forfeit the contest due to a lack of available players as a result of outside tournament commitments.
The Wildcats' overall record in the league this season was 12-4. That record included two wins by forfeit and one forfeit loss of their own.