By Jon Saperstein Herald Writer
EVERETT — It can take quite a bit for Everett’s Lexie Levin to be nervous before a game, but that was definitely the case before Tuesday night’s Wesco 3A softball showdown with Glacier Peak.
The Seagulls senior pitched her team deep into the 2010 state tournament and is certainly battle tested, but the Grizzlies were her toughest 3A opponent so far this season.
“When I was warming up, I wasn’t doing too good, so I was even more nervous,” Levin said.
However, after allowing runners in scoring position a couple times early in the game, Levin settled down and blanked the Grizzlies on the way to a 2-0 victory for Everett.
“It just kinda came together in the game and my defense did really good behind me,” Levin said.
She struck out three, allowed three hits and walked three to improve her season record to 6-0.
“She’s a very smart pitcher,” Glacier Peak coach Brad Johnson said. “So she keeps it low. She keeps it high. She keeps the speed changing on you. You really have to be a disciplined hitter to hit those kind of pitches.”
Levin, who also bats cleanup, had a hard-luck day at the plate, going 0-for-3. Others provided the offense Tuesday, getting key hits in the fourth and fifth innings.
In the fourth, Chloe Kesterson roped a one-out single and stole second. That brought up Olivia Juarez, the Seagulls’ No. 7 hitter, who belted a pitch by Glacier Peak’s Callie Bircher for an opposite-field double. The ball bounced off the right-center field fence, scoring Kesterson and giving Everett the only run it would need.
“I was just trying to throw my hands through the ball and it went,” said Juarez, who was 3-for-3 on the night. “I was happy with it.”
The next inning, Everett’s Kiki Harper used her speed to triple down the left-field line with one out. She scored on CJ Shaver’s ensuing single.
Bircher tossed a solid game against one of the best lineups in the area, but took the loss to drop to 3-3.
“She was great,” Everett coach Casey Chaffee said of Bircher. “She had us off balance. She had us guessing. We had to change some stuff up halfway through the game and make some adjustments.”
The Grizzlies pushed Everett to just their second seven-inning game of the season. The Seagulls’ other seven games have been shortened by the 10-run rule.
“It was an awesome win,” Chaffee said. “It was a good change of pace. This was great to actually play seven innings and play a tough, good team.”
The Seagulls (5-0 league, 9-0 overall) face another tough team today when they play Lynnwood. Entering Tuesday the two teams were both undefeated atop the league standings, but Lynnwood (5-1, 6-2) was upset by Mountlake Terrace and now is a half-game behind Everett. That loss hasn’t dampened Everett’s excitement to take on the Royals today.
“That’s going to be a good game,” Levin said. “That’s probably going to be our toughest game this week … I’ve heard things that they were pretty good.”
Chaffee and the team expect a tough opponent, but they also expect to win. Levin made it clear Tuesday night what the Seagulls are shooting for this season.
“Our goal is to be undefeated,” Levin said. “It’s a big goal. We set it high. We just think that we have the skill and the talent to be undefeated. We just have to try hard and give it our all every game and don’t think low of our opponents even if they don’t have the best record.”
Glacier Peak, meanwhile, will try to regroup, hosting Shorecrest today. The Grizzlies are still trying to fill the gaping hole left in their offense by the departure of starting shortstop Annie Reynolds, whose season ended when she tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the team’s game against Marysville Getchell.
“I thought we did pretty good … today, but the hits we got weren’t powerful hits,” Johnson, GP’s coach, said. “I really wanted to see more power in our lineup.
“It’s kind of a work in progress right now, but I think we are going to get there.”
At Everett H.S.
Callie Bircher and Kaitlyn Davis. Lexie Levin and Kayla Deditius. WP—Levin (6-0). LP—Bircher(3-3). 2B—Juarez (E) 1 3B—Harper (E) 1 HR— Records—Glacier Peak 4-2 league, 6-3 overall. Everett 5-0, 9-0.
Jon Saperstein covers high school sports for The Herald, follow him on twitter @jonsap and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org