Marysville Getchell’s Thea Hatch is mobbed by her teammates after hitting a home run for the Chargers during a 17-7 victory Monday at Stanwood. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Marysville Getchell’s Thea Hatch is mobbed by her teammates after hitting a home run for the Chargers during a 17-7 victory Monday at Stanwood. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Marysville Getchell softball players enjoy a breakout season

The Chargers have made gradual improvements over the past four years and are now among the area’s best.

Breakout seasons are becoming a recurring theme this school year for the sports programs at Marysville Getchell High School.

In the fall, the school’s football team earned its first .500 season since 2013. In the winter, the Chargers’girls basketball squad set a single-season team record for wins and the boys’ program posted its first .500 campaign.

The Chargers’ softball team has kept the torch going this spring, racing out to a 12-1 record, including a perfect 7-0 mark in Wesco 3A/2A play. The team clinched its first-ever winning season with a 17-7 five-inning victory over Stanwood on Monday.

“It’s very cool to have been watching all the programs develop, especially our football team this year,” junior pitcher Brionna Palm said. “We’re known for more of the academic side and not being very good on the sports side, but seeing it kind of even out and excel more on the sports side is very cool to watch.”

Getchell has gotten off to its scorching start on the diamond behind a high-powered offense that’s churned out a league-best 11.2 runs per game, and its pitching staff has been nearly as effective in preventing runs, ranking third in the conference in runs allowed at 3.8 per game.

Marysville Getchell’s Brionna Palm hits during a game at Stanwood on Monday. The Chargers won 17-7 in five innings. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Marysville Getchell’s Brionna Palm hits during a game at Stanwood on Monday. The Chargers won 17-7 in five innings. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

“After the first couple of days of tryouts, I had that feeling that this was going to be a really good year for us,” senior third baseman Hannah Kranz said. “And, as it’s playing out, it has been a good year. I’m just excited for the rest of the season, and I know we’re going to be able to compete with some of the better teams (in the league) this year.”

One of the keys to Getchell’s success is familiarity. Four of the Chargers’ six seniors are four-year varsity players, and all six have been in the program since freshman year. Two juniors are in their third varsity season and many of the girls have played together since Little League.

“We all have such a great bond with each other,” Kranz said. “Even with some of the new girls coming in this year, they’ve just meshed with us so well, and I think that’s why we’ve been doing so good. We just all have such a great connection and we have such a great time on the field together.”

As Getchell’s players have grown together on the diamond, they have taken incremental steps to reach this year’s breakout season.

The Chargers went 3-17 when this year’s seniors were freshmen and followed that with the team’s first-ever .500 season in 2017. Last season, Getchell didn’t quite get back to .500 overall, but the squad was able to earn its first .500 season in conference play.

“They took their lumps. Even last year, they took their lumps,” Chargers coach Mike Moran said. “So far this year they’ve done some good things. We know what’s ahead of us. We still have to play the teams that have been perennially good the last four or five years. That’s a great opportunity.

Marysville Getchell’s Thea Hatch throws a pitch against Stanwood on Monday during the Chargers’ 17-7 win over the Spartans in Stanwood. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Marysville Getchell’s Thea Hatch throws a pitch against Stanwood on Monday during the Chargers’ 17-7 win over the Spartans in Stanwood. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

“We get to challenge the best around the area in our league. That’s why they play. That’s why I hope everyone plays — to challenge yourself and do well against good, established teams.”

A challenge surely does lie in front of them.

Getchell’s next three games are against Everett (9-3, 5-1), 2018 3A state runner-up Snohomish (8-2, 4-1) and 3A semifinalist Marysville Pilchuck (8-5, 6-1). Each matchup will be pivotal in the race for a league title and postseason positioning.

A matchup with Meadowdale — the only other Wesco 3A/2A team with an unblemished record in conference play — also looms as the Chargers’ regular-season finale. The outcome of that game could have major implications for the conference title, and the postseason as well.

“I’m so proud of the girls and (Coach Moran) for coming this far,” senior catcher Shannon Patton said. “Looking back from freshman year, we barely won any games. Coming from that to this is just amazing. I’m just so excited to see how far we go and how we’ll do against the tougher teams coming up.”

How far they’ll go has yet to be seen, but how far they’ve come has been nothing short of impressive for a program that went 22-80 over a five-season span from its inaugural season in 2012 to 2016.

One thing that’s certain is that the team’s upperclassmen will enjoy the home stretch of their final season together on the field.

“It’s very sad for me knowing this is my last year playing with them,” Palm said. “It’s definitely going to be an emotional last couple of games. … All the seniors, they’re all like big sisters to me and I love them to death. It makes the experience that much more enjoyable, even if that means it’s going to end sooner or later.”

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