The 2008 Inglemoor High softball team may not have gone to state like it has in nine of the past 12 years. It may not have won the state championship like it did in 2004, or win five straight games like it did last year to get third place.
But head coach Jeff Skelly believes this team fulfilled the Vikings’ long tradition of playing the best when it counted the most.
Inglemoor, which finished the regular season 9-11 and seventh in 4A Kingco, won two loser-out games in the postseason, including one against rival Bothell, last week.
Inglemoor beat No. 8 Roosevelt, 3-0, in the opening round May 9, which got the Vikings to the double-elimination portion of the tournament. After a loss to No. 2 Eastlake, 5-0, May 14, the girls came back to win the nightcap against Bothell, 6-3.
The season ended when Inglemoor’s comeback bid against Redmond fell with the Vikings stranding the tying run in scoring position late in the May 15 loser-out, 5-3 contest.
“If there’s anything that marks Inglemoor softball, I think that is one of our traditions is we are tough in the end and in the postseason,” Skelly said. “We get to the end of the year and we play our best softball, and I think that’s true with this group here, too. It wasn’t good enough, but I think they are playing the best they’ve played all year. That’s all I can ask for.”
Bothell, which finished the regular season 9-10, had its streaky season continue in the postseason, but unfortunately for the Cougars, that streak ended on a low note. After a win to open the season, Bothell lost four straight — all to teams which ended with winning records — and then won five straight. But the Cougars, who grabbed the No. 6 seed in the tournament, ended the year losing six of their last seven, including 7-6 to No. 3 Lake Washington and 6-3 to No. 7 Inglemoor.
The Cougars graduate just four players, led by one of Kingco’s best catchers in Kelsie McGladrey. Outfielder Morgan Davis was a second-team All-Kingco performer in 2007, but battled injuries this year. Mary Watson was a key bat this year after being a part-time starter in 2007, and Ashley Thomas had a game-winning two-RBI double in a 2-0 win against rival Inglemoor back on April 30.
While the senior class had quality, it lacked in quantity, which could be good news for next year’s team. Ashliegh Carter will be in her third year as the Cougars’ primary starting pitcher, and current sophomore Courtney Keane got valuable work on the mound this year. Several key hitters, including junior Ellen Bogardus, should return, as well.
The same can be said for the Vikings, who had just two seniors graduate. Center fielder Chrissy Rasor was a three-year starter for Inglemoor and co-captain Sarah Bowmon was a part-time starter this year.
But Inglemoor returns nearly its entire starting roster, including the more than half-dozen sophomores that made varsity this year. The head of that class is pitcher Rosie Matsumoto, who threw a no-hitter against Redmond April 21, which was probably the Vikings’ signature win of the season.
“With so many new kids who don’t know the tradition we go through here, it took a long time to get that aspect across to them,” Skelly said. “But I think right here, right now, we are talking out here, all the tears were going on out there, they understand what Viking softball is about. They are ready to come back next year, and hopefully, we will have a strong year next year.”