It took Shoreline Christian School just three seasons to put together a state tournament caliber softball team.
The Crusaders made their first appearance at the Class B state playoffs last year and with just two starters from that 14-5 team moving on, a return trip in 2004 seems in order.
“The girls had a taste of state last year,” Shoreline Christian coach Jim Hunsaker said. “They want to get back.”
The only prominent hole the Crusaders needed to fill was behind the plate. Senior Allison Vanderwerff, a fixture at shortstop the past three years, has assumed the catching duties.
“She’s got the best hands on the team and one of the best arms,” Hunsaker said.
The best arm belongs to senior pitcher Heather Waller, the Northwest B League’s reigning MVP. Waller’s strength and stamina have improved from last season as well as her velocity.
“She’s been working at it since November,” Hunsaker said. “She has a couple different pitches she’s developed.”
The Crusaders also return Cristina Nelson at third base and Anjel Wahlman in center field. The seniors received all-league honors last season.
This year’s seniors were freshmen when Shoreline Christian launched its fastpitch program and have served as the backbone of the team.
“We started with a freshman class that was real excited about playing,” Hunsaker said. “Those girls have matured and the team has improved every year.”