Women’s softball showing they’re the real deal
By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor
“I always have high expectations, and with this team this year it doesn’t change. We have a very talented squad, and I am very excited to see how far these girls take it; it’s their season to run with. They have to play their game and execute the little things right. The confidence is there and they are excited to get going.”
Coach Michelle Peters had faith in her team right from the very start of the season, and now as the squad heads into May and the playoffs, that faith is being proved well-founded. Comfortably perched atop the NWAACC North Division with a 15-1 regular season record—22-4 including tournament play—the Royals are flying high. With four games left, the team is riding a nine-game winning streak and showing no signs of stopping after blowing out Edmonds 18-1 (mercy rule after the fifth inning) in their final home game.
Along with the group’s success, several players have made their presence felt in various individual statistical categories as well. At the plate, a pair of Royals cracked the top 15 as both Hillary Strelau (.602) and Allison Wiens (.471) have posted ridiculous batting averages. In terms of pitching, both Tori Belton (1.96) and Morganne Blattman (2.00) are in the top 10 for ERA while Belton is also in the top 10 for wins with 9. Looking through the team’s stats though, it’s clear each and every player can, and has, contributed to the squad’s accomplishments. The one difficulty a top-performing team faces is when asked what’s the key to their success; as put by Veronika Boyd, “Our defence has been really good… and our bats aren’t bad either; our pitching is awesome as well. Just solid all-around.”
Statistics don’t tell the whole story though, and one highlight for the Royals this season has been their character. Case in point: participating in the Swing for a Cure tournament, a tourney which raises money for breast cancer awareness. It was a cause the team had approached coach Peters about back in October, and something that clearly struck a chord with her:
“I’m blown away by this team in the sense of their character. The coach’s philosophy last year was all about character and I have a huge expectation on that as well. These girls think outside of the box, care about each one of their teammates, and are beyond respectful of every team in our region and in our league. They’re always a class act. For them to approach me about this cause really demonstrates the maturity of them and their character on many different levels. I couldn’t be more proud. These girls are something special.”
The squad went 2-2 in the tournament against some tough competition while showing that they can win off the field as well as on it.
And now as the Royals head into the playoff season, there’s a buzz about the team, knowing that their potential still hasn’t been reached yet. “There’s more yet to come,” commented Blattman. “We’re really happy with where we’re at, but we can still improve.”
The squad hasn’t disappointed yet; why doubt them now?