By Doug Petrowski
“This team will always be special to me.”
For first-year head coach Shannon Rasmussen, the 2013 high school softball season will be one to remember. The former assistant coach at Jackson High School took over the reins of Mountlake Terrace this season and led the Hawks to a 15-12 record and a tie for seventh place at the WIAA 3A State Softball Championships.
After a weekend at the state tournament that may have seemed more like an extended roller coaster ride, Rasmussen reflected on the Hawks’ experience at the tourney, and on the 2013 season as a whole.
“I am extremely proud of what the girls accomplished this year and this team will always be a special to me, not just because it was my first year coaching, but also because of the way that they came together and played like a team,” Rasmussen said.
Creating early-season camaraderie among the squad was complicated considering numerous factors that included a new head coach, a couple of injuries to key starters, and the tragic loss of one player’s father over the off-season to a fatal heart attack.
Team members point to the struggles on and off the field as one of the factors for their strong ties and never-give-up attitude, traits Rasmussen also recognized. “They did what they needed to do, when they needed to do it in order to make our season continue,” she said. “They fought to the end and I couldn’t be happier with the end result.”
Terrace’s “end result” on Saturday was a consolation bracket loss to Bainbridge after going 2-1 on the first day of the state tourney. “We definitely would of liked to have won the game Saturday morning, but we were happy just to be there,” Rasmussen said. “After spending 13 hours at the fields on Friday, our girls were pretty tired and I think it showed in our game.”
The Hawks’ first-day marathon included an extra-inning loss in their opening tournament game, a three-hour break before their second game, and a late game that required the team to battle back from a five-run deficit to ultimately win.
Rasmussen said that the 12-8 come-from-behind victory over Enumclaw Friday night will be one she will not only remember but use as inspiration for the teams she coaches in upcoming seasons.
“In the future I will use this team as an example that the season isn’t over until the last pitch is thrown and anything can happen once you get to playoffs. Especially if you believe in yourself and your team, anything can be accomplished.”
And will those future seasons include coaching at Mountlake Terrace? “I am definitely planning on coming back and leading the Hawks for years to come,” Rasmussen said.