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Lakewood fastpitch splits first summer doubleheader
MOUNT VERNON It was all fun and games for Lakewood fastpitch when they took on Cascade Conference rivals Granite Falls June 20.
Though Lakewood fell 2-1 to the Tigers at Skagit Valley College, the girls won a second game 9-0. It was the first time in months that the stress of winning had been lifted from the girls shoulders, said coach Steve Barker after the game.
The neatest thing is to see them relax and play softball. In our league we get a 20-game season. Eighteen of them are league games and we go right into district tournaments, Barker said. The team is composed of varsity, JV and middle school players, he added, explaining that the eight-game tournament in Mount Vernon gives the girls a chance to just have fun and try out different positions.
For instance, summer team member Rachel Bachlund spent several innings of the game against Sedro-Woolley behind the plate for the Cougars. And although four-year starter Kally Behen pitched games against Granite Falls and the Sedro-Woolley B team in the June 20 doubleheader, Barker said he is planning to have Amanda Bean pitch the June 27 games.
Bachlund had the Cougars only RBI of the first game, bringing in first baseman Hayley Bustad in the sixth inning.
Barker said after the games that, given the close score of the Granite Falls game, the Cougars probably could have won if they had played all their starters.
They stayed with a constant lineup with players playing their usual positions. We moved our players around. We wanted our girls to relax and have fun playing softball, Barker said, adding that by moving players around, he hopes to improve his next squad by tapping into some new talent.
At this point in the tournament though, its too early to say whether theres a diamond in the rough.
But the Lakewood girls get to polish their skills against some familiar faces. In addition to facing Granite Falls, the tournament includes teams from Anacortes, Whidbey Island and a pair of Sedro-Woolley teams.
And Barker is having a good time playing ball too.
Crediting softball dads/assistant coaches Larry Bean and Jim Barrio, Barker said hes able to take his focus off the specifics of coaching the team and watch the girls just play together.
It allows me to sit and daydream and look to the future, he said.
The Cougars are scheduled play doubleheaders Wednesday nights for the next three weeks, wrapping up their summer schedule July 18 with a week off for the July 4 holiday.
At Skagit Valley College
Lakewood 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Granite Falls 0 0 0 1 0 1 2