It was difficult for South Whidbey softball players Mackenzee Collins and Leah Merrow to pinpoint the best moment in their win over Cedar Park Christian Thursday afternoon.
Whether it was sophomore Bella Northup’s run scored following a rundown in the sixth inning, a double play in the seventh, or the Falcons’ general approach to game, Collins and Merrow were ecstatic following the 9-2 victory.
“I’m so proud of our team. We were so positive the entire time,” Collins said. “Even when we didn’t get a play or didn’t get a hit, I was proud we kept up and kept cheering for each other.”
The Falcons improved to 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the Cascade Conference. The win was more than just a positive indication of the Falcons’ progression this season. It will also help seed them higher in the postseason, which, thanks to a small 1A league, they automatically qualify for. South Whidbey is working to catch up with first-place Sultan, which is currently two games ahead of the Falcons.
Collins, a sophomore all-Cascade Conference pitcher, was her usual dominant self, throwing 15 strikeouts while adding two RBIs at the plate. Collins has 84 strikeouts this season and averages 14 per game.
“Most girls can’t even touch her ball,” said first-year head coach Alexandra Walter.
Merrow, a junior catcher, also had a strong performance, batting 2-for-4 and contributing a triple in the bottom of the second inning which eventually resulted in two Falcon runs.
“We had great energy and kept a forward upward motion I think,” Merrow said. “I appreciate we had perseverance the entire game and did our best.”
Also contributing RBIs were freshman Nadine Kinskie, junior Kacie Hanson, freshman Lexi Starets-Foote and junior Aria Ludtke.
Despite the solid performance, the Falcons didn’t ignore the things they need to improve upon. Collins said South Whidbey will work on their defensive posture following a bunt, while Merrow pointed out communication and execution as focus points.
“Sometimes things just go crazy when you’re hitting, especially with younger girls,” Merrow said. “It’s just repetition and however many games they get in, the nerves start to go away and they start to focus more.”
Despite a small roster of 12 players, Walter has been impressed with the team’s work ethic and positive attitudes. The Falcons could be heard shouting encouragement from their dugout throughout the game, which Collins and Merrow felt helped keep energy and morale high.
“I think they just keep getting better and better and they’re trying really hard,” Walter said. “They’re coachable because they want to play and they want to do well and they have been. I’m very, very proud of them.”