Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mountlake Terrace moves up in softball standings

Kristjanson hits six home runs in five games

By David Pan
Weekly Herald Sports editor
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — The Mountlake Terrace softball team wants to be playing at its best as the postseason gets under way. If last week is any indication, the Hawks are headed in the right direction.
Mountlake Terrace recorded four victories in four games and moved into second place in the Western Conference 3A with an 8-3 record (11-4 overall). Everett (10-0, 14-0) looks to be on its way to the league title.
“It’s been a great week,” Mountlake Terrace coach Kim Stewart said.
The Hawks started off with a 10-0 rout over Mariner and following up with victories over Meadowdale (8-4), Oak Harbor (13-1) and Marysville Getchell (13-5).
Sophomore Maddy Kristjanson has spearheaded the offensive attack with six home runs in her last five games, including a pair of key two-strike round-trippers against the Mavericks.
On the road at Oak Harbor, Kristjanson struck early with a first-inning home run that her parents, who were running late, unfortunately missed.
“That was kind of a bummer,” Kristjanson joked.
What’s been no joke is the sophomore standout’s production at the plate.
“She is making contact with the ball,” Stewart said. “It’s not just home runs. The balls she’s hitting are pretty dog-gone hard.”
Kristjanson was 3-for-3 with two doubles and six RBI as the Hawks wrapped up the week with the win over the Chargers April 27 at Mountlake Terrace High School.
“We’ve definitely just been connecting with the ball and working well together,” Kristjanson said. “I think we’ve finally clicked as a team and started to work together, especially at a key time of the season.”
Kristjanson also picked up the victory against Marysville Getchell and Meadowdale. She and Rene Bos have shared the pitching duties this season.
Not only does the arrangement save the wear and tear on both players’ arms, but the pairing helps to keep the opposition off-balance.
“I feel like it’s working out. We have completed different pitching styles,” Bos said. “She’s more speed and I’m more movement and I feel like us two working together covers all our bases. … I think we’re a great pair.”
Bos threw against Oak Harbor, while senior Jesse Printz started the Mariner contest.
“Our pitchers have done a great job of keeping us in each game and keeping the ball down, so the defense can make some plays,” Stewart said. “I’m very happy with our defense.”
The Hawks’ depth has proved to be an asset with reserves stepping in and performing well when starters were sidelined.
“We have a couple of players that can play anything and they’ve really helped us when we’ve had missing players,” Bos said.
Stewart noted that freshmen Sammy Harter, Cassandra Cariker, Hannah Wilcox and Huntersmith have helped the Hawks in the field and at the plate.
“Whoever we put in is stepping in and getting hits for us,” he said.
The newcomers to the team have played a high level, whether it was coming in as a pinch-runner or getting some key hits, Kristjanson added.
“The freshmen have definitely stepped up when we needed them,” she said. “They’ve definitely done their jobs.”
Mountlake Terrace has clinched a district playoff berth but seeding is far from settled as Glacier Peak, Meadowdale and Lynnwood are within a game or two of the Hawks.
Mountlake Terrace still has games against Lynnwood and first-place Everett.
“We still have some pretty tough games ahead,” Stewart said. “We’re not putting much thought into the playoffs. We’ve still got a lot of work to do.”