North Creek’s basepaths are open for business.
Coach Chris Pinder’s softball squad busted out of the gate with three straight wins over Arlington (16-14), Shorewood (23-1) and Seattle Prep (14-1).
The brand-new Jaguars are led by copious players, including Ashley Saenz (eight hits), Mckenna Fialdini (five hits and five RBIs in two games), Jessica Denke (one pitching win and two RBIs), Malia Pinder (a homer, several RBIs and a pitching victory), Megan Davidson (three hits, two RBIs against Shorewood), Carli Zanassi (four hits and four RBIs in two games and a pitching win) and Sierra Hein and Elysa Butterfield (who combined for four hits and seven RBIs against Shorewood).
“Things are going very well to start the season. We have tremendous support from the administration and North Creek community. Our success this year will depend on whether or not we can develop a cohesive team-centric chemistry on and off of the field,” said Pinder, noting that the coaches will need to focus on teaching all aspects of the game, and that pitching and defense will be the keys to competing in the tough 4A KingCo conference. At press time, the Jaguars were 0-5 in league and 3-5 overall.
Pinder presents a team-first philosophy and encourages the girls to compete with great passion, accountability, collaboration and humility. Keep things fast, exciting and fun on the field, and take charge in the classroom as well.
“We teach the girls that you are a student-athlete and the work in the classroom is of greater importance than the results on the field,” Pinder said.
Pinder is thrilled with his team and likes the idea of starting the program from scratch.
“We all get to experience the first of everything related to Jaguar softball, from building the culture to the first win/loss, the first HR, the first hit, the first strikeout and so on and so on,” he said. “(Embrace) the opportunity while remembering this is not a race, it’s a journey for a young team/program.”
In new school North Creek’s first season on the baseball diamond, coach Mark Potoshnik and his staff are excited about developing a strong program.
There are many obstacles for the players and staff to overcome as they lace up their cleats in 4A KingCo action, but a multitude of opportunities are on the basepaths for the Jaguars, Potoshnik said.
“The good news is we have enough players, even without a senior class, to run three teams,” the coach said.
Top players are junior pitcher Garret Davis, junior outfielder/DH Drew Rieger and sophomore shortstop John Tviet. Rieger laced a two-run single for the Jaguars’ first ever RBIs in the team’s season-opening win against Kamiak, 3-2.
After beating Kamaik, the Jaguars dropped two straight.
“Our youth and inexperience are showing, but the spirit is good and the players are showing great growth at practice,” Potoshnik said. At press time, the team was 1-3 in league and 2-5 overall.
Aside from the ball, the boys have been hitting the books at a solid clip.
The coach added: “Off the field, we are developing a culture of strong academics. We have a 3.6 GPA as a program with five players holding a perfect 4.0 GPA.”