During the course of their regular season championships, teams usually need, and often get, lucky breaks going their way. In 2004, a lucky break helped lift the Mount Si Wildcats girls softball team to a season-saving win at Skyline, and the rest is history.
Well, we could be seeing the same things happening again? It’s a bit early, but based on the manner in which Mount Si scored a big win last Monday against the league title contender Bellevue in the KingCo opener for both teams, one has to wonder.
Sophomore Katie Brett lined a double, which hit the foul line behind third, scoring Tracey Barclay from second base to give the Wildcats a 2-1 eight inning win over the Wolverines.
A classic duel
The “King County Journal” in their preseason softball preview listed last Wednesday’s game against Sammamish as a “can’t miss”, and they were right. Mount Si senior pitcher Kandis Clesson and Sammamish junior pitcher Sarah Minice locked up in a great battle on the mound, but it was Minice and her Totems that outlasted the Wildcats in an extra-inning marathon that lasted until nearly sunset.
The Totems, in the 10th inning and under international tiebreaker rules, scored three times and held on to beat Mount Si 3-1 in 10 innings. Minice pitched a no-hitter, with 16 strikeouts, and if it hadn’t been for the Wildcats scoring a run in the bottom of the 10th, she would have been perfect. International tiebreaker rules start in the ninth inning and involve the previous inning’s last-out batter starting the new inning running from second base, with the next scheduled hitter leading off at the plate.
“Well, I was really pumped up for this game. The whole team came out and did their best. Mount Si is kind of our rival, and after last year, losing to them twice during the regular season and then beating them at the end to go to state, we knew they were out to get us. So we just gave it our all and everyone came out today,” said Minice, making reference to last season’s district tournament loser out game in which the Totems made state with a 1-0 extra inning win over the Wildcats, ending the stellar three-year run of the Mount Si senior class.
However, this Wildcat sophomore class is trying to make its own mark, as infielders Danae Englund, Barclay and Kyleen Sweepe all made great defensive plays in the infield to keep things tight. The bats though, are another story. It should be noted that the Wildcats had a number of chances to break the Minice no-hit bid. Clesson appeared to reach first base three times during the game, but all three times she was called out by umpires on close plays; and Brett hit the ball hard but lined out three times, as well.
“This is a good gauge for us. Everybody picked Sammamish to win it, and we had a chance in the international tiebreaker to win the game. If we get a base hit there, we win the game tonight, and Sammamish is wondering whats going on, so that’s how close it is. That’s how close we are,” said Mount Si coach Larry White.
Clesson only gave up one earned run on just three hits; she struck out 14.
Senior Kali Walker said not to worry. “I think we played really good defense. Our offense is a little slow to start. I think we just need to work on that and focus up and I think we can really get it done once we get it going,” she said.
Mount Si wraps up the first half of the schedule Wednesday at home against Interlake. The Saints are much different this season. They have a new coach, and their ace pitcher from last season, Emily Walker, is not pitching this season. First pitch is at 4 p.m.