The undefeated Royals will face undefeated Edmonds this week
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
It seems that the dream start for the Royals continues to roll along. The team coasted for another 2–0 weekend after thoroughly defeating Shoreline Community College in 12 innings. They have a couple days of rest before they play again, but eyes are all on this coming weekend where they play Edmonds. However, they first have to deal with an eager Olympic College squad biting at their heels.
With the Royals slated to do battle against Olympic College on Tuesday, it’ll be a bit of a bump in their normal schedules. However, it shouldn’t be too tough for the Douglas College squad to do what they need to do. Olympic College currently sit on the standings with a record of 2–6. Throughout their season so far, it seems pretty evident that there are really only two results for them. They either squeeze out a tight win, or they get blown out like tires hitting a landmine. My bet is on the latter.
The real story of this series will be the performance of Kira Staley and Jesse Goddard. With both pitchers contesting the number two starting spot behind Keeley Ainge, their performance will be something to keep an eye on. In the last outing against Shoreline Community College, Staley got the curtain call after a tough four innings which saw her forfeit three runs and six hits. Jesse Goddard made her season debut and got the Royals out of the game only forfeiting one run. Is this to say Goddard has made a big enough impact to force herself into a starter position? Maybe, maybe not. The skill level between the two pitchers is extremely close. We could even see them splitting a game against Olympic College just to make sure that Jesse is ready for Edmonds.
I have no doubt that the Royals will win over Olympic College. I’m thinking they do it in 10 innings total, but it could go to 12. What is the real talking point here is the team’s level of exertion after the games against Olympic College. Because waiting for them at home on the weekend will be Edmonds Community College.
Edmonds Community College sits atop of the NWAC North Division standings at 10–0. So far, they have ruthlessly dismantled all other NWAC teams that have come before them, and they’ve done it cleanly. Of their 10 wins, 7 have seen them keep their opponents to under four runs. They are truly one of the best teams in NWAC right now, and the Royals will have a chance to hand them their first losses of the season.
If there is one person you could pinpoint as the key to Edmonds’ success, it would have to be Lesieli Aholelei. The Hawaiian-born freshman has pitched the Edmonds team to 7 of their 10 wins so far. She has an ERA of 2.81, and a crazy 51 strikeouts on the year. Oh, did I mention she bats? Let me run some stats by you: In 57 at bats, she has 32 hits, 12 home runs, and 36 RBI. That’s right, 12 home runs from a pitcher. Oh and she’s hitting a 0.561. Yeah, don’t mess around with Aholelei… She’ll send the ball to the moon and then throw it right back at you the next inning.
It’s going to be a tough series for the Royals. I don’t doubt that Aholelei will be pitching both games for Edmonds. And you can bet she’ll be batting in both too. I’m not sure what Royals’ head coach Michelle Peters has up her sleeve, but this might be the game to pull it out.
It’s going to be a solid game from both sides. It could be a low scoring affair, or a high one, or maybe both. I’m thinking game one will see a low scoring tussle as Ainge and Aholelei toss bricks at their respective batting lineups. Game two might see the score skyrocket as fatigue sets. I literally cannot predict who is going to come away with points here. I want to say 1–1, but it could so easily be 2-0 either way. I guess we’ll have to wait and see! Edmonds will play the Royals at their home field at Softball City in Whiterock. Games are at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.