Submitted by Oly Archibald
Friday Harbor Tiny Radio
Friday Harbor Wolverines are officially participating in district playoffs this week after beating Darrington on Wednesday, May 9 and both games against LaConner on Friday, May 11.
“Our pitchers Marcella Kirkland and Raylee Miniken were solid and kept Darrington off balance with their changeup pitch,” said coach Kirk Holt, of the May 9 game.
Bristol Halverson had a great over-the-head catch while she played left field, during the first inning, he continued, and catcher Jacqui Olson had a nice throw from behind the play to get a runner out at first base. The final score was 18-2.
On Friday, according to Holt, the girls came out hitting the ball hard against LaConner for the doubleheader. Eight out of nine Wolverine batters squared up the ball in this game.
“Siri Lindstrom pitched well, even though she was sick,” he said, adding that it was a good thing the game only lasted three innings. The final score of game 1 was 16-1.
Friday Harbor continued hitting, with Janya Ott making four for five of her at-bats, according to Holt.
“Grace pauls pitched outstanding,” he said, adding that she had zero walks, hit her spots when she needed, and her change-up kept LaConner off balance. The games final score was 11-1.
In a recent development, Concrete and Darrington decided to not take to the diamond against Friday Harbor in the Northwest 2B District Tournament. As a result, the lady Wolverines will make their fourth straight trip to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association State Tournament in Yakima.
The Wolverines will play the winner of the noon, Saturday, May 19 game between Orcas Island and LaConner for the District Championship at 2 p.m. in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. Wolverine coach Brian Lambright has now taken the Wolverines to state in all four years of running the Wolverine Fastpitch team. Before Lambright took over the program the Wolverines only had six state tournament appearances, now they have 10. The Wolverines won the Northwest 2B League championship going a perfect 12-0 and a 14-7 overall record. The Wolverines are averaging 10 runs per game and giving up just four. Former Wolverine first baseman Hannah Hopkins, who will join Oly Archibald for the broadcasts on Friday Habor Tiny radio 1650 a.m., has a theory about how her Wolverines have become a state power.
“Coach Lambright and coach Holt brought so much intensity to the team my freshman year that at first the players were skeptical. Once the players actually realized they knew what they were doing it all really clicked. The aspects of the coaching they brought to the table made the team rise to the new levels of skill, mental preparedness and teamwork. Adding in coach Pauls and coach Pongs things really started to escalate in the best possible way. The coaches are not the only factor in the success of the team,” said Hopkins. “Without all of the amazing, hardworking, strong, skilled girls that have been on the team the last four years none of this would have been possible. The time and passion each player put on the field every day during practices and games have been incredible. Being a part of this team in years past has really taught me how to work hard and to achieve a goal as a part of a team. So really it is a combination of the coaching staffs ability to motivate and teach and the players want and love of the game.”
After losing six seniors off of last years squad the Wolverines needed some of their players to step up and improve. Assistant coach Robert Pauls said for his money junior catcher Ava Hoffman is the most improved player from last year.
“Ave batted 260 last year this year she is batting 450 and leads the team in home runs with three and leads the team with 25 RBI,” said Hopkins noting she is not surprised at all with Ava’s improvement.
“I have always been impressed how hard Ava works and how she has on countless occasions, stepped up to the plate and played amazingly. I am not surprised at all that people would call her the most improved on the season,” she said. “Even though Ava was an impressive player last year, she always seems to be pushing her self more and more every day she is on the field. This is a trait that seems to run in the family because her sister Savannah is always pushing herself and others on the team to be better too.”
On the mound, the Wolverines have had great improvement from junior hurler Grace Pauls and sophomore Siri Lindstrum. Both Robert Pauls and Hopkins said Lindstrum has really improved from last year and Hopkins said Lindstrum just needed to find her confidence. Wolverine third baseman Bailee Lambright leads the club in hitting with a 576 batting average and is tied with RBIs with 25. Junior center fielder Thea Seitz has two home runs on the season and leads the Wolverines with 36 runs scored.
The Wolverines will now play for the Northwest 2B District championship game Saturday at 2 p.m. in Sedro Woolley. They will play the winner of the noon semi-final between Orcas Island and La Conner. The Wolverines will start state tournament play next Friday, in Yakima with a 10 a.m. or noon opener. The tournament schedule will be announced on Sunday. All of the games will be broadcast live on Tiny Radio 1650 a.m. and at www.fhtinyradio.com. Oly Archibald has the live play-by-play and Hannah Hopkins has the color commentary and game analyst.
Heather Spaulding contributed to this article.