Vikings back in the groove, beat E-W

LAKE STEVENS — After beginning the season with six consecutive victories, the Lake Stevens softball team suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of undefeated Snohomish and defending state champion Arlington.

In the two weeks since the Vikings’ offense has exploded, scoring 33 runs in the past three games — all victories. Their most recent win was a 12-0 rout of Edmonds-Woodway in five innings on Monday.

“Our kids are seeing the ball really well and they’re all confident when they step into the plate,” Lake Stevens head coach Sarah Hirsch said. “You can see it when they look down at me and whatever it is I tell them, their eyes are like, ‘Coach, I got this.’ You can just see it. Their body language is huge.”

Perhaps the biggest reason for the Vikings resurgence was their ability to turn their two losses into a positive.

“I think that it has helped them and they’ve realized, ‘Oh, we can play with all those (teams).’” Hirsch said. “I think they’re ready (to play them again).”

The Vikings fell behind 3-0 against Snohomish, but rallied to tie the game at 3. The Panthers needed two late runs to claim the victory and stay unbeaten.

It was a similar story against the Eagles. The two teams were tied at 1 in the top of the sixth inning, but Marissa Rathert’s RBI-single with two outs proved to be the game-winner for Arlington.

Before the Vikings can get another shot at the Panthers and Eagles, they have to get through their crossover portion of the schedule against teams from the Wesco 4A South. The Vikings are 2-0 against the Wesco 4A South so far after handing Jackson its first loss of the season on Friday and Monday’s victory over Edmonds-Woodway.

“We’ve taken it back to one (game) at a time,” Hirsch said. “Confidence-wise they’ve been playing great. They’ve been taking good swings and they’ve been working hard on defense.”

The pitching hasn’t been bad either.

Rayne Sylvester’s complete game one-hitter against the Warriors improved her season record to 4-1.

“She’s good, and when she keeps the ball down she’s really good,” Hirsch said. “She throws the ball pretty hard. I think it’s deceptively harder than it looks. She hits her spots well.”

Sylvester didn’t need much help, but the Vikings’ offense provided it. Lake Stevens finished with 15 hits, highlighted by eight consecutive two-out hits in the bottom of the second inning resulting in six runs. Amie Browder accounted for half of those runs with a three-run home run to right field.

“She hits the downball really well,” Hirsch said. “Anybody that keeps the ball down on Amie, she’s got every shot to put it out of the park. She’s a big strong kid that hits the ball well.”

Cassidy Fifield, the Vikings’ leadoff hitter, finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored. Fifield’s two doubles brought her season-total to seven.

“She’s unbelievable to watch,” Hirsch said. “She’s not a typical leadoff hitter. She’s fast. She hits the ball well. She’s good on defense. She really is the total package.”

At Lake Stevens H.S.

Edmonds-Woodway 000 00x x — 0 1 2

Lake Stevens 363 0xx x — 12 15 0

Cheyanne Strock, Mikayla Monroe (4) and Jackie Lovelace. Rayne Sylvester and Tehya Harney, Payton Beaver (4). WP—Sylvester (4-1). LP—Strock (7-5). 2B—Cassidy Fifield (LS) 2. HR—Amie Browder (LS). Records—Edmonds-Woodway 3-4 league, 7-5 overall. Lake Stevens 4-2, 9-2.

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