They sported nicknames like “Ashbash,” “Sparkles,” “Jillibean” and “Twinkle Toes.”
They bonded with each other and made solid plays on the field that pushed them along the basepaths to copious victories as they secured the first-ever North Lake Little League majors fastpitch softball District 8 championship.
Eleven girls aged 10-12 formed the Pilots squad, which began the season with a goal of winning the title and achieved that dream with a 2-1 victory over the North East Seattle Royals at Husky Softball Stadium on June 14.
“My favorite part is that we set a goal of going to Husky Softball Stadium the very first few minutes of our first practice and we never doubted that we would do it for a second. And we did it… and won!,” said Macie “Mace” Looney.
Looney, a catcher, registered the final out of the game with a diving grab to set off a raucous celebration.
“Everybody freaked out when our catcher caught a flyball for the last out, and everybody went crazy when that happened,” said Kira “Kirapotomus” Mendizabal, who played third base and left field.
Co-manager Kyle Looney said it was an emotional moment when his daughter snagged the ball, tossed it onto the field, jumped up and down and into his arms.
Addison “Sparkles” Hardan pitched a 12-strikeout two-hitter and had one hit with her bat, and Looney and Kenzie “K-Dogg” Stolmeier had the Pilots’ other two hits in a classic pitchers’ duel, according to Kyle, noting that it was inspiring watching the hard-working and fun squad compete.
The Pilots’ logo includes a seaplane as a nod to their Kenmore roots, Kyle added, and “the girls had a little extra pep in their step every time Kenmore Air flew over the stadium… which seemed to be about every 20 minutes.”
Every player had a chant that matched their nicknames (see cutline for entire list) and it made for a good time each game.
“It was really fun because everybody is really energetic about cheering each other on, it was a good season,” said Mendizabal, who added that when the other team got close, “that’s when we get super motivated to win.”
Added Jillian “Jillibean” Starosky, who played pitcher, second base and outfield this season: “This team had a really good connection. They’re not just great players, but good people in general, the same thing goes for the coaches. Even if I was tired or not having a good day, I enjoyed going to practice with the team.”