Forty-three days of hard work.
That’s what it took for the North Lake/Northshore/North Bothell combined age 9-11 all-star softball team to finally notch the state championship with a 6-4 victory over Pac-West on July 20 at Shorewood High.
Surviving the loser’s bracket, the locals powered through seven games in seven straight days, including a comeback 12-11 win over Pac-West on July 19 in the first of the two-game championship set. Down 10-1 in the bottom of the third inning, the Bothell-Kenmore squad rallied to taste victory and earn the coveted state crown.
“That’s the goal they set to win state and they stuck to that,” said manager Cody Painter, who’s in his fifth year either coaching or managing girls and boys softball and baseball teams. “I’ve never seen an all-star team come together as a group and support each other (so well).”
Every girl played a crucial role in leading the team to the top, Painter added.
The girls gained critical motivation when University of Washington head softball coach Heather Tarr spoke to them following their 7-3 win over North Kitsap on July 18. During that game, pitcher Taylor Clear notched the win and went 3-for-3 with two triples and three RBIs.
“She said, ‘As long as you have outs left, you’ve still got a chance to win,’” Painter said of Tarr’s speech.
And the locals had plenty of outs remaining to work with when they were down by a bunch of runs against Pac-West in title game No. 1.
Painter said that Jillian Starosky, Eliana Suarez, Isabella Bicksler, Eva Chavez and Lindsey Caudle’s screams and yells from the bench were vital in supporting their teammates.
“That’s what really turned the tide and made everyone believe,” Painter said of the energy and excitement that abounded during the game.
During the second and final championship game, the locals busted out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, Pac-West went up 4-3 in the bottom of the first, Bothell-Kenmore tied it up 4-4 in the third and tacked on runs in the fifth and sixth to win.
“It was more intense for our fans than for our players,” Painter said with a laugh.
After the locals suffered their first loss to Pac-West, 4-1, in their second game on July 15, Painter said, “There was never any other thoughts in their mind about beating that team, as long as they played their game.”
One of the most thrilling wins for Bothell-Kenmore during the tournament was a 7-6 victory over South Hill after trailing 6-3 in the top of the sixth inning.
Bothell-Kenmore generated the comeback like this: Brooke Stull singled, Phoebe Satterlee was hit by pitch and Keala Painter drew a walk to set the stage for Reese Pointek, who nailed an inside-the-park grand slam over the right fielder’s head for a 7-6 advantage.
The locals closed it out in the bottom of the sixth with two ground-ball outs to Ava Charlton and a comebacker to Clear for the final out.