MONROE — The Snohomish softball team graduated a particularly talent-laden senior class from last year’s state runner-up squad.
But with another wave of hard-hitting sluggers filling the powerhouse program’s lineup, this group of Panthers is already off to quite the start.
Snohomish exploded for a 10-run fourth inning and rolled past host Monroe for a 13-3 five-inning win Wednesday night in a non-league showdown of state runners-up from last season.
“The 2018 class was a big, talented class, and a lot of these (girls were) behind them, just so anxious to get on the field,” first-year Panthers coach Patti Lande said. “They got to watch and learn all those years, and now they’re just excited to be here. … They’re all stepping up.”
It already was the second mercy-rule win of the season for Snohomish, which opened with a 19-9 non-league rout of Skyline in a six-inning contest Tuesday. The Panthers (2-0) scored a combined 32 runs in 11 innings during the two blowout victories.
“Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever coached a team with this much power,” said Lande, who is coaching at the high-school level for the first time after coaching select softball for the past decade. “It’s pretty awesome. … It’s nice to have those kinds of tools in the toolbox.”
Snohomish pounded out 14 hits Wednesday, including six of the extra-base variety.
The Panthers broke open a 2-0 game in the top of the fourth, exploding for eight hits while sending 16 batters to the plate during the 10-run frame.
During the marathon inning, Anna Robinson roped a three-run triple down the left-field line to give Snohomish a 6-0 lead. Isabelle Hansen later ripped a two-run double to the fence, and Taylor Khorrami added a two-run single to make it 12-0.
“They feed off each other’s excitement,” Lande said. “So once the ball gets rolling, it really is exciting to watch.”
Hansen crushed a towering solo home run to right field in the fifth inning, launching the ball over the tall fence at Monroe High School for a 13-0 lead. The power-hitting senior finished 3-for-4 with a homer, two doubles and four RBI.
“We have so many power hitters,” Lande said. “I was originally pretty nervous that people were going to walk her. But if they walk Izzy, they’re going to get to another one of our power hitters. We just have a lot of power.”
The Panthers rode a 24-game win streak into last year’s Class 3A state title game, where they lost a 13-inning heartbreaker to Bonney Lake after being on the wrong end of a controversial call in the 12th.
Snohomish graduated six all-conference players from that runner-up squad, including Division I-bound stars Bailey Greenlee and Sami Reynolds. The lone returning all-league player is Hansen.
“It kind of left us with shoes to fill, and so far we’re trying to all step up and fill them,” Robinson said.
Jordan Crawford pitched all five innings for the Panthers and earned the win.
Freshman Emma Nagy took the loss for Monroe. The Bearcats (0-1) also graduated a number of key players from last year’s team, which fell to conference rival Jackson in the 4A state title game.
“We have a great core group here,” Monroe coach Ashley Tuiasosopo said. “We lost a lot of players, so there’s going to be some chemistry building that you’ve gotta do. … We’ve got some young kids in here, and we’ll be fine. We’ve just gotta learn to come together, and that’s why you play these games.”