Your first look at Mount Si softball’s trip to state….

All right. It’s time now to talk some softball, and this Friday, bright and early at 9:00 in the
morning down in Lacey at the Regional Athletic Complex, starts what hopefully will be the final ascent towards a state championship for Mount Si High School’s softball team as the WIAA 3A state tournament gets underway.

Celine Fowler leads Mount Si into this weekend's state 3A softball tournament, where they look to contend for a state title. (Photo courtesy Calder Productions)

Celine Fowler leads Mount Si into this weekend’s state 3A softball tournament, where they look to contend for a state title. (Photo courtesy Calder Productions)

The Wildcats open with a matchup against Bonney Lake, a team Mount Si is very familiar with from past seasons. Mount Si defeated the Panthers during the 2012 state tournament, the last time the Wildcats were at state, and former Mount Si slugger Michaela “Mickey” Blad transferred to MSHS prior to that season from Bonney Lake.

There isn’t much information out there about Bonney Lake, but what information we have been able to gleam gives us a little bit of pause. The Panthers are the fifth seed out of the West Central District, but they’re not your garden-variety fifth seed. BL, to get to state, had to win four loser-out games this postseason and defeat four higher-seeded teams during their recent district tournament, where they were seeded 12th, the lowest possible seed in the event. The Panthers are currently 16-8 and finished the SPSL 3A schedule 8-7 and tied for third place.

So with that all said, consider this Bonney Lake team Mount Si softball’s version of the Seattle Prep boys’ soccer team, which had come into their recent winner-to-state game against the Wildcat boys’ soccer team having pulled off a big upset of their own to make it to that contest, and nearly did the same to Mount Si in that game May 17. In other words, while on paper the opponent looks beatable, the Wildcats should not count their chickens. This Bonney Lake team has shown, in pretty significant fashion, their ability to beat strong teams, and Mount Si, which, in our read of the bracket, is listed as the second overall seed in the state tournament, will need to come out of the gate right away. They have done that, too, having scored 54 runs, dished out 65 hits and as a team hit better than .400 in the district event.

We noted the performance of Britney Stevens in our Athlete of the Week segment yesterday; another top senior to watch is Central Washington-bound Celine Fowler, hitting .500 this spring and is likely one of the state’s top hitters with that average. Fellow senior Nikki Carroll is right behind Fowler in the offensive department, pounding out a .488 average. Both players OPS ratings are almost 1.2, so both of them will need to keep that rolling in this first game on Friday.

But, as we talked about in our soccer preview when Prep played Mount Si, a big key for the Wildcats that night on the pitch needed to be taking control early and not allowing the opponent to stay in it. That didn’t happen and Mount Si was nearly beat. We think the same keys will need to be employed in this matchup for the Wildcat softball ladies. Take the opponent out of it early and do not allow them to stay around in it, because if that happens, the likelihood for a heartbreaking defeat for scarlet and gray increases.

If Mount Si wins this game, and as we previously noted we think that is possible, it only gets tougher. They’ll likely need to beat a pair of Eastern Regional powers – Shadle Park of Spokane and Kamiakin from the Tri-Cities – to get to the finals, then it is expected Enumclaw will await in the finals. While we expect Mount Si to be a contender for the title, many observers will view the Hornets, undefeated at 25-0 and who beat the Wildcats at the UW back in April, as the favorites to win it all.

It will be interesting to see what happens coming up on Friday. We’ll have more throughout the week, and if we get any more information on BL, we’ll have that for you here.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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