By David Krueger Herald Writer
Everett softball player Lexie Levin follows a very strict team rule that helped the Seagulls make it to the 3A state championship game this season.
As a matter of fact, Levin somewhat embodies the rule.
“We have this ‘one pitch rule,’” Levin explained, “where we can be mad for one pitch and then we have to be done.”
That rule — and Levin — helped lead Everett to a 22-2 record and a second-place finish at the 3A state championship. Levin’s season, which featured a .508 average, .885 slugging percentage, 39 RBI and two home runs, helped make her The Herald’s Softball Player of the Year.
A senior, Levin played on the Seagulls varsity team all four years and she saved the best for last, helping Everett to its highest finish at the state softball tournament. While she would have liked to finish the year with a victory, Levin said that she was still proud to be part of such a historic run.
“It was just a really cool experience,” Levin said of the state tournament. “We always say that we made history because Everett has never made it to the state championship. … We did get second, and that’s amazing.”
The Seagulls rode Levin’s arm — and bat — in the district playoffs as they qualified for the state tournament. Levin was the starting pitcher in all three games for Everett, and hit a game-winning RBI triple in the bottom of the last inning of the district championship game to seal a 14-13 victory over Sedro-Woolley in a wild game on May 19.
“She’s clutch,” said first-year Seagulls coach Casey Chaffee. “She doesn’t get rattled. She doesn’t get anxious under pressure. I don’t think she was in a pressure situation all year where she didn’t get a hit. She loves competition, and she likes to be in situations like that. I would too if I got a hit every time.
“Whether we’re up by 10 or down by five in the state championship game, her demeanor doesn’t change. I think that set the tone for us this season.”
Levin, along with twins Chloe and Lauren Kesterson, were the senior captains for this year’s Everett team. She was nominated halfway through the season because of her strong work ethic.
According to Chaffee, Levin would come to practice early and stay well after it ended, getting extra practice swings in.
“She was just working her tail off,” Chaffee said.
Chaffee enjoys having Levin on her team, and not just because she’s a great softball player. The coach said Levin is nice to everybody she encounters, and is “hilarious.”
She also enjoys and appreciates Levin’s humbleness.
“She isn’t all about Lexie,” Chaffee said. “That’s why she’s so good. A lot of girls that are really good are all about themselves. She isn’t.”
Levin also took on additional responsibilities to help her team. On her select squad, she primarily plays outfield and first base. However, a week before the season Levin started pitching and getting ready for the upcoming season.
All she did afterwards was post a 17-1 record with a 1.72 earned-run average.
“She will do and play wherever the coach needs her to and whatever the team needs,” Chaffee said. “As a team we needed her to pitch. She’s definitely a pitcher.”
Levin has mastered striking out batters. But don’t ask her how she does it.
“I don’t know any skills,” Levin said. “People ask me what they’re doing wrong while they’re pitching and I honestly have no idea.”
Chaffee’s mother, Margo Leiter, coaches Levin’s select team, the Lake Breeze. With All-Area pitchers Ronnie Ladines (Arlington) and Alyssa Reuble (Meadowdale), Leiter says the team is all but set pitching-wise.
However, she was impressed with Levin this season and said that, if she asked, Leiter would probably give her a chance on the mound.
“She definitely has improved a ton,” Leiter said of Levin’s pitching. “I guess it’s up to her. If she wanted to I sure would let her.”
Leiter also helped guide Levin through the recruiting process, helping the Seagull settle on Western Washington University. Next year Levin heads to Bellingham, where she will likely play in the outfield and major in pre-medicine.
Initially, Levin said she “wanted to go as far away as possible.” But, after visiting Central Michigan University, she decided staying close to home — and her family — wouldn’t be so bad.
Chaffee thinks Levin will be just as successful at Western as she was at Everett. She recalled a particular practice earlier in the season, after Levin had gone hitless. Levin stayed after and practiced for an additional three hours.
“She’s not OK, being mediocre. I think next year she’ll be a standout player at the college level, which isn’t easy to do as a freshman,” Chaffee said. “She loves the game of softball and she’s willing to put in the time and the energy it takes to get successful.”
She also follows the rules.