Reviewing the season with head coach Michelle Peters
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
The pressure of the NWAC Softball Championship is nothing new for the Royals’ coach Michelle Peters. She’s led the Royals into the championships for years already, and each one is a different experience. This year was ended with an experience every coach knows, but rarely wishes. The team finished second, falling in the Championship game against NWAC powerhouse Mt. Hood.
Despite the end result, Peter was “very happy how this season played out.” As any coach would, she credits the team’s success this year to the players, who made it all possible. “Players exceeded my original expectations and worked extremely hard to ensure they were contributing every day towards the team’s success and goals. The girls were always open to learning new things, and I truly believe we got better every day because of it. Each game, either win or lose, they learned something new and ensured they worked on it to be better the next game. Because of their unreal ability of adapting to situations and adjusting during games in so many ways along with their playing experience, raw talent, and love for the game, the team was a special team all year long.”
However, Peters wasn’t the only one who thought highly of her team. Several players from the team were honoured as NWAC All-Stars and All-Americans. Ace pitcher Keeley Ainge was named a first team All-Star and was the only pitcher from the North division to receive the honour. Infielders Madison Heggie and Taylor Woodward were selected as first team All-Stars, while Laura Baldry was named a second team All-Star. Outfielder Dallas Tilley was named a first team All-Star, and Daniella Vilio was named a second team All-Star. Catcher Jordan Britten-Yung was also named a first team All-Star, while utility player Michaela Moore was named a second team All-Star. Woodward was additionally named an All-American, and was the only player from the Royals to receive that honour.
For Peters, it was the work that occurred off the field that she credits for their success on the field. “Team dynamics played a big role in our improvement and success throughout the season. The team dealt with some early and late adversity prior to season and had to work together to get through it. The second they all bought in, they never looked back and that’s when we began to take off as a family. They all trusted each other and believed in one another. Those bonds took time, but when it came together it was wonderful to watch.”
When it comes to the team’s success overall, Peters isn’t shy when giving the credit entirely to her team. “Each one of them got us to the championship game. Our bench, our starters, our coaches. Yes, we have some very nice athletes, but they were all stars this year in different games and different situations. Our battery (pitchers and catcher) held this team strong all year and our defence really improved daily, witnessing some wonderful moments and high level plays, while our offence was explosive at times and tough to beat one through nine. Truly anyone could change the game with one swing of the bat this year.”
The team was exciting to watch this year, and with the right circumstances, they stand a very good chance of taking it all next year.