The Lynnwood Royals hosted defending Wesco 3A champion Meadowdale for a Friday afternoon softball game at Lynnwood High school. The Royals kept it close for five innings, before the Mavericks blew the game wide open in the 6th, scoring 10 runs on 8 hits on their way to a 13-1 victory in six innings.
Many view this season as one that might be something of a rebuilding year, or at least a step back, for Meadowdale Mavericks softball. It’s a team that has dominated the 3A Wesco South the past six seasons, making trips to the state tournament in each of those seasons. It’s also a team that graduated five seniors from the 2017 squad that were among the core of their 2016 state championship group. Chief among them were catcher Emma Helm, now playing at UW, pitcher Lauren Dent, and outfielder Savanna Spratt — all first team All-Wesco players — as well as second team designated hitter, McKenzie Beavin.
“We lost five good seniors from last year, so we dropped a lot,” said head coach Dennis Hopkins when asked about the outlook for his team this season. “But we’ve got Carrie (Petersen) and Jasmine (Welaye), both key seniors, and the left side of our infield who are both returning starters from last year’s squad, so we’re feeling pretty good there.”
That left side of the infield he refers to includes shortstop Kelci Studioso and third baseman Olivia Dimmock. Dimmock was a second team All-Wesco selection at second base last season.
However, the story for the Mavs on Friday was starting pitcher Katherine Houghton. The sophomore hurler dominated the Royals, pitching the full six innings, while allowing just two hits and one run and striking out 12 Lynnwood hitters.
“She’s coming into her own,” Coach Hopkins said of his young pitcher. “She’s young so we’re still working on it, still getting her stamina up to get going, so we’re kinda taking it easy with her as much as we can.”
If there’s a silver lining for the Royals in a game like this, it had to have been the return of starting pitcher Mayda Rieflin.
Rieflin had been held out of action much of the past week to rest a sore shoulder. She surrendered three runs on three hits in the first inning Friday afternoon, but then settled down and held Meadowdale scoreless for three innings, striking out five, before reaching her pitching limit for the day.
“It’s nice to have her back. She feels good. She pitched well. I’m so proud of her,” head coach Sara Hall said after the game.
Rieflin also had one of the Royals’ two hits on the day, a single in the 4th inning. Maddy Ryan had the other, when she stroked a single to right field in the 3rd.
Looking forward to the season, Coach Hopkins and his Mavericks have lofty goals.
“Hopefully get back to Districts,” he said. “We’re young. Their goal is to make a seventh straight trip to State, so every game is one step closer to them getting back there again. It’s a tough road to get there. You know, six times in a row, I never thought we’d do it, and now they want to do a seventh. I’m all for it. Hopefully we get there.”
Wesco 3A South Girls Fastpitch Softball
MEADOWDALE 3 0 0 0 0 10 – 13 13 0
LYNNWOOD 0 0 0 0 0 1 – 1 2 1
Meadowdale – 2-0 in Wesco 3A South, 3-2 Overall. The Mavericks’ next game will be Monday, March 26, when they travel to Edmonds Woodway High School to take on the Warriors. The game begins at 4 p.m.
Lynnwood – 0-2 in Wesco 3A South, 0-5 Overall. The Royals next game will be Monday, March 26, when they host the Shorecrest Scots beginning at 4 p.m.
— Story and photos by Scott Williams