Meadowdale off to perfect start in Wesco 3A play
Last updated 4/18/2019 at Noon
Junior pitcher Kate Houghton is back in the circle and that is good news for Meadowdale.
Houghton, who suffered a hip injury in the second game of the season, returned to the lineup at the start of league play and has helped lead the Mavericks to a 6-0 record in the Wesco 3A (8-4 overall).
Despite less than ideal weather conditions, Houghton dominated the opposition, striking out 17 in a 5-1 victory over Everett and then mowing down 12 batters in five innings of no-hit ball during an 11-0 rout of Arlington in Wesco 3A softball action last week.
“I think I threw pretty well,” Houghton said of her performance against the Eagles. “It feels good just to be out there. It was a little hard with the rain, but you’ve just got work through it.”
Meadowdale coach Dennis Hopkins said the Mavericks are still being cautious with Houghton and he considered holding her out against the Eagles.
“We want to build her stamina,” Hopkins said.
While Arlington struggled to make contact against Houghton, the Mavericks teed off against the Eagles for 16 hits. Junior shortstop Kelci Studioso and junior third baseman Olivia Dimmock each went 3-for-3 with two doubles. Teammate Sophia Ward also hit a pair of doubles and drove in runs in her first two appearances at the plate.
“The bats are starting to come together,” Hopkins said.
The Mavericks took a 2-0 lead after two innings and then scored four runs in third and five in the fourth. Studioso and Houghton both had doubles that scored two runs.
The Mavericks, who also defeated Shorewood 11-0 on Monday, April 15, have scored 11 or more runs in four of six league contests.
“We’re making good contact and not getting ahead of ourselves,” Ward said. “We’re laying back and being confident.”
When Houghton was out, the Mavericks were forced to shift players around on defense.
“The defense has been good,” Houghton said. “We’ve been trying everyone just in different spots and just seeing what’s working and how we work together since we have a lot of new players, especially without JV. It’s just a lot more people to account for.”
Meadowdale does not have a junior varsity team this season. Partly as a result, the Mavericks have three freshmen on the roster, one of whom is Ward.
“She’s been doing good,” Houghton said. “I’m just making sure to talk to her about what’s working before every game. She’s calling pitches.”
Meadowdale opened league play with an 18-4 victory over Stanwood and then edged Snohomish 4-3. The Mavericks then pounded Marysville-Pilchuck 11-1 in a game where no Meadowdale batter struck out.
“We had to go through the hard part to start the season in league play,” Hopkins said. “Now we’re figuring out everybody else. We don’t take anybody for granted.”
The Mavericks try to have team bonding activities, such as a group breakfast or lunch, at least once every couple of weeks.
“That really helps bring us together,” Ward said.
“They’re starting to work better as a group,” Hopkins added.
Meadowdale’s string of six straight state tournament appearances was snapped last year when the Mavericks fell one game short at districts. The desire to get back to state is driving Houghton and her teammates
“We’re all just so motivated for the postseason,” she said.