Last year’s 4A KingCo baseball season ended up in a Bothell High dog pile after the Cougars won the tournament title.
The squad beat Issaquah, 2-0, and shone bright under the lights at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. Bothell grabbed its first league title since 2011 and advanced to the state tourney, where the locals lost, 7-4, to Kennedy Catholic in the opening round to end their season with a 16-8 overall record.
Coach Kent Schaefer’s squad (which finished 7-7 in league in 2017) returns senior first team all-Kingco pitcher Brody Ponti, who notched an 8-1 record and 1.57 ERA last year along with a team-leading 15 RBIs.
Other returning starters include seniors Jake Peoples (catcher), Logan Leadley (pitcher, outfielder), Trent Carlin (outfielder) and Bryce Long (outfielder), and junior Dylan Gerard (infielder). Back on the mound are senior Hunter Tripple and junior Jackson Gould, who pitched five shutout innings in the KingCo title game.
“Our team has high hopes for the season but needs to continue improving. We have a number of new players and returning players that will be called on to take on increased roles,” Schaefer said. “In order for our team to have success, our pitchers will need to command the strike zone, our hitters will need to build confidence and deliver with runners in scoring position, and our defense must improve and play cleaner than we have to this point in the season.”
Bothell — 3-1 in league and 5-2 overall at press time — beat Newport, 5-1, in 4A KingCo baseball action on March 28 in Bothell.
Ponti and Peoples each tripled and had three hits apiece and Peoples added three RBIs. Gould earned the win from the mound.
In a 7-4 Bothell win over Skyline on March 30, Josh Davis had three hits and three RBIs, including two doubles.
Building one’s confidence to perform their best under demanding circumstances — on and off the field — is one of Schaefer’s coaching philosophies. It’s worth having and fighting for, he said.
“We hope each of our players leave the season more mature, more capable and more willing to give back to the game than they were when they got here,” he added. “We hope they see that by working together toward their goals they can accomplish something greater than what they could do on their own.”
Toughness and resilience will be at the forefront of Bothell High’s trek toward softball success this season.
“Our journey is our destination. Through hard work, determination, support for one another and realization of the true team concept, we will be successful,” said coach Chris Cottnair, whose squad is bent on rebounding from last year’s 5-13 overall record and 3-10 league mark. “In the process, learn valuable life lessons that our athletes can carry with them into their adult lives.”
The push toward 4A KingCo victories starts with top returners, seniors Shayla Cole (third-year starting catcher), Amber Powers (infielder), Jamie Ford (pitcher, third base) and Grace Lium (pitcher); juniors Liz Olson (outfielder), Nicole Leadley (infielder), Nikki Wolman (outfielder) and Briley Shults (pitcher); and sophomore Ena Borgen (pitcher).
Powers laced an RBI single in Bothell’s come-from-behind, 4-3 win over Inglemoor on March 30. The Cougars scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to notch the thrilling win.
New to the Cougar scene are junior Kelsey Fortney (outfielder); sophomores Brooke Davis (infielder), Kate Podany (third base) and Rylee Kim (first base); and freshman Katie Fodge (outfielder, pitcher, first base).
The defense is versatile and the bats should get knocking from top to bottom in the order. There’s plenty of grit and hustle in the lineup, Cottnair said.
The coach added: “What excites me the most about this group is that they are a tight-knit group that isn’t afraid of hard work, looks out for one another well, and demands a lot of fun be had along the way. Both on and off the field.”