After losing four seniors to a team that finished seventh in the 3A girls state softball tournament last spring, spirits and expectations understandably might be a little lower for the Mountlake Terrace Hawks for their 2014 season. But the outlook at Terrace is as bright as the weather has been for the team’s afternoon practices this past week.
Head Coach Shannon Rasmussen is also beaming as she heads into her second year leading MTHS softball. Turnout for the program was way up this spring and resulted in not only a full roster of players for the varsity team, but a chance to field a junior varsity squad for the first time in school history.
Rasmussen spoke enthusiastically about three underclassmen that made the varsity roster and could contribute right away to the squad. “The major additions to our team this year are two freshmen, Gabby Calhoun and Kira Doan, and a sophomore, Ashley Fitzgerald,” Rasmussen said. “All three are pitchers and will be sharing time on the mound.”
The three new hurlers all have mound experience from playing on local select teams, and will be called upon to allow the team’s top player, Maddy Kristjanson, to play elsewhere in the infield.
“We’re stronger on defense when Maddy’s playing her natural position of shortstop,” Rasmussen explained.
Kristjanson, who has already committed to playing for Seattle University next year, is considered one of the top college recruits in the area. Her time at shortstop last year was limited as she was called on to pitch in many games.
Kristjanson’s importance to the team goes beyond her ability to excel at two key positions on the softball diamond; the 5-10 right-hander led the team in batting last year with a .532 average and .922 slugging percentage during the regular season. She is also called upon by the coaching staff to help teach the younger players on the team in various aspects of the game.
“It’s awesome to have Maddy and her leadership,” Rasmussen said. “She’s a model for the other girls on the squad. If I need someone to show how to do something, I just call Maddy over.”
Other seniors expected to make an impact for the Hawks this year are Hannah Baisch, anchoring third base, and Amanda Aversano, suiting up for assignments in both centerfield and behind the plate. Beyond Kristjanson, Baisch and Aversano, the team will have options for their game line-ups.
“We have a lot of versatility this year, with girls who are able to play multiple positions,” Rasmussen said. “There will be a lot of competition for playing time.”
The softball team begins the season on Saturday, March 15, with the Edmonds School District jamboree. All four high schools will play in round-robin games that begin at 10 a.m. and will continue throughout the day.
The Hawks’ first home game of the season is scheduled for Tuesday, March 18 against Lynnwood; first pitch is set for 4 p.m. You can view the team’s complete schedule here.
— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski