Softball team solid at state

Pitching and defense led the 11- 12-year-old All-Star softball team from South Whidbey to a seventh-place finish in the state Little League tournament this week.

The South Whidbey major girls won one game and lost two against some of the state’s best competitors in their age bracket.

The South Whidbey girls dropped the first game against Tahoma 9-3 before cruising to a 17-0 win over Seattle PacWest in the second contest.

Lewis River then ended the South Whidbey All-Star girls season with a 3-1 victory.

Henry Pope, head coach for the South Whidbey All-Stars, praised the girls’ efforts.

The girls were competitive in each game, Pope said. Pitchers Taylor Pope, Katy Piehler and Paige Miller each turned in strong performances on the mound, and defensively, the major girls played well against other teams filled with select players.

“My hat’s off to a team which practiced hard from day one,” he said. “(They) gave up almost half of their summer to work diligently five days a week.”

“This hard work paid off with a District 11 tournament win and a state berth,” Pope said.

In South Whidbey’s first state tournament game, neither team scored for several innings.

Tahoma broke the stalemate when they scored seven runs in the top of the fifth inning and collected two runs in the sixth.

South Whidbey rallied with a small comeback, however, in the bottom of the sixth. They scored three runs and loaded the bases.

But the rally ended when they could not drive in another runner.

In the second game, against Seattle PacWest, South Whidbey struck quickly with 10 runs in the top of the first inning. Seven more runs in the following innings and shutout ball from their pitchers led to the lopsided 17-0 victory.

Against Lewis River in the third game, South Whidbey fell behind when Lewis River’s players scored three runs.

After that, South Whidbey’s pitchers hurled shutout baseball against the Lewis River team.

Pope added that the South Whidbey girl’s displayed “some of the best defensive plays I’ve ever seen.”

Despite good pitching and defense, though, South Whidbey was only able to drive in one run in the 3-1 loss.

With the season over, Pope thanked the parents of the players and his coaches, Janet Piehler and Kathy Neilson.

The major team members were: Katy Piehler, Taylor Pope, Paige Miller, Bayley Heggenes, Chantal White, Kalie Stayskal, Steffanie Deisher, Erin Meehan, Teagan Neilson, Molly Rawls, Laurie Robinson and Shayna Grant.

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