LACEY — All season long the Mountlake Terrace softball team has had a mantra, and they followed it all the way to the 3A state tournament.
Fight like a girl.
The Hawks fought their way to Day 2 of the state tournament, where they lost to Bainbridge 14-7 in a loser-out game at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey. The loss gave Mountlake Terrace a tie for seventh place with Wesco 3A South rival Shorecrest.
But Mountlake Terrace’s motto was about more than softball. It was about fighting through adversity on the diamond or off. And perhaps no one has fought as much adversity this past year than senior utility player Kelsey Watson.
First Watson learned her mother Kellie’s cancer had returned. Then Watson’s father, former Lake Washington softball coach Mike Watson, suffered a fatal heart attack last August while driving home. The Hawks rallied around Kellie and Kelsey, with “fight like a girl” becoming the group’s rallying cry.
All the while, Kelsey Watson kept contributing to Mountlake Terrace, a softball team her father was at one point the leading candidate to coach.
“Kelsey is probably one of the funniest people on our team,” said Hawks first-year head coach Shannon Rasmussen. “She hasn’t let things affect her. She comes out and does what she needs to do to get it done.”
Watson missed the past two seasons with a herniated disc, but was able to return for her senior year. Along with fellow seniors Rene Bos and Hannah Fickle, Watson was a big part of Mountlake Terrace’s postseason run.
Watson finished the regular season with a .328 batting average and a .389 on base percentage. She drove in 16 runs, scored 14 runs and struck out only five times in 70 at bats. Then she shined in the district tournament, hitting key hits to help Mountlake Terrace, the No. 4 team out of the loaded Wesco 3A South league, upset Wesco 3A North No. 1 seed Marysville Pilchuck and 3A South No. 2 seed Shorecrest — which battled back to earn the district’s third state berth.
“She just hit great for us and had some clutch RBI,” Rasmussen said.
At the state tournament, the Hawks found some power. All the while, Kellie Watson looked on from the stands.
Mountlake Terrace, which had hit 15 homers coming into the state tournament, belted nine home runs in four games in Lacey, including grand slams in back-to-back innings in a dramatic 12-8 come-from-behind victory over Enumclaw that continued the Hawks’ season into Saturday.
“Our bats came alive this weekend,” said Hawks junior co-captain Maddy Kristjanson. “We hit the crap out of the ball.”
Kristjanson, who was wearing a camouflage shirt with “Fight Like A Girl Mountlake Terrace Softball” written on the back, said Mountlake Terrace was ecstatic to just make it to Lacey. The Hawks wanted to show up and see how far they could go in the 3A state tournament.
“We’re excited to be at state,” she said. “We wanted to go as far as we could.”
The Mountlake Terrace run — including the upset of Enumclaw, which was 22-5 — helped the Hawks feel like they made a statement at the state tournament.
“It was a fun ride,” Rasmussen said. “I think we came out here and proved we belonged. We played with every team.”
The Hawks’ run ended with the 14-7 loss to Bainbridge. Mountlake Terrace sophomore Hannah Wilcox continued her power surge with her fourth home run of the tournament — she had two homers coming in — as the Hawks went down swinging.
“We knew she had power,” Rasmussen said. “She was the first person to hit a home run on our team this year. She hit our first, our last and lots near the end.”
After each state game the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association officials give a good sportsmanship award to a member of each team. Kelsey Watson, who was named to the Wesco 3A South first team, received the sportsmanship honor for Mountlake Terrace in the last game of her high school career.
“Kelsey has had a phenominal season, with everything she’s been through,” Rasmussen said. “She’s just been great to have around.”
Bainbridge 14, Mountlake Terrace 7
At Regional Athletic Complex
M. Terrace 302 101 0—7 10 5
Bainbridge 415 103 x—14 16 0
Rene Bos, Maddy Kristjanson (4) and Amanda Aversano. Katie Raben and Emily Schneider. WP–Raben. LP–Bos. 2B–Kristjanson (MT), Riley Gregoire (B). HR–Hannah Wilcox (MT), Raben (B), Kate Kinney (B). Records–Mountlake Terrace 15-12 overall. Bainbridge not reported.