Kelli Duvall has made her way back onto the Mount Si fastpitch softball scene after 21 years. This year, the Wildcat 1999 graduate is helping the team break in a new turf field as the program’s new head coach.
Following her fastpitch years at Mount Si, Duvall played at the University of Jamestown in North Dakota, where she was inducted into the school’s hall of fame. After moving back to Snoqualmie and volunteering with some teams, Duvall wanted to step up and take the Wildcat reins. (At press time, practices and games are cancelled through at least April 24 due to the coronavirus outbreak.)
Duvall began playing the game at the age of 4 and can’t get enough of the sport.
“It’s an amazing game, the team aspect is huge. Just the quickness of the game and being on top of it mentally and physically is just unlike anything else,” Duvall said. “My coaching philosophy is growing them into young adults. I strongly feel that you are a daughter first, then you’re a student and then you’re an athlete. I want you to grow as a person, not just on the field, but off.”
The Wildcats, who finished 3-15 last season, are led by senior returners Hope Bostick and Molly Wilbourne.
“They’re gonna bring some good jujus this year for us. They bring a whole lot of experience. I’m loving what I’ve seen from them so far,” the coach said.
Other top returners are juniors Emily Gonzalez and Vera Harrison and two of nine sophomores in Makayla Malan and Kate Gotts.
Duvall noted that the Wildcats have some batting power and a solid defense.
“They have really impressed me with their accuracy in throwing and their overall range at their positions. The amount of ground they can cover each direction is super impressive to me,” she said.
As she glanced around the pristine field, Wilbourne flashed a smile.
“I’m excited to see us play on a brand-new field, to be able to actually have a home field. I think to get some fans out finally because it’s more local, get some younger kids and see the community support,” she said.
Mount Si has team unity and a solid group dynamic on its side, said Wilbourne, who added that the girls are thrilled to have Duvall on board. The coach has them motivated to work harder and get better every day for when the season rolls around.
“It’s a competitive league and we’re all driving to be the best we possibly can be,” Bostick said.
In center field, Wilbourne hopes to “keep the ball secure, be a leader out there on the field and hopefully I’ll bring a little bit of the bat, too, to help them out.”
As for Bostick, she plays third base and catcher and said they’re both demanding spots on the field.
“You have to be very vocal, you have to not be scared of the ball. It’s really a spot that drives you to be competitive, it really motivates you,” said Bostick, adding that all positions require those qualities as well.
When the games do swing into action at Mount Si, Bostick and her teammates will be ready to make some noise.
“I’m really excited to see what history we bring to the field,” she said. “Especially as seniors, we wanna leave our names on the field, right?”
The team updated its Facebook page on March 12: “Today we had our last practice until we are cleared to go back to school on 4/27. We kept it light and fun with a little JV/Varsity scrimmage. Senior, Molly Wilbourne, showed off her left handed talent. We are going to miss these girls the next 6 weeks.”