Sports

Slowpitch made Hornet history

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In the spring of 1985, the Enumclaw High slowpitch team was playing a game they loved with a close-knit group of friends. At the time, and even today, it’s hard to comprehend they were making history.

“I remember a very remarkable set of ladies who worked well together,” said senior team captain and third baseman Wendy (Pitzel) King, looking back. “We had a great time. It was one of those magical seasons. “You’re in the moment, especially in high school, but looking back that was pretty amazing. Success happens when you’re doing what you love to do.”

That 1985 slowpitch team will be inducted into the Enumclaw High Hall of Fame Friday night as the first girls’ team to bring home a state trophy‚ fourth place. State athletic and activities officials did not start organizing girls’ tournaments until the mid-1970s after Title IX, the groundbreaking court case that gave female sports equal time with their male counterparts.

“They are pioneers for our girls’ teams,” said EHS Athletic Director Tim Tubbs. “They have the oldest girls’ trophy in our trophy case.”

In addition to Pitzel, the team, coached by Dennis Hagan with a roster provided by Tubbs, included Tiffany Proctor, Celeste Chevalier, Tiare Houk, Kim Gregg, Shelly Jabaay, Krestense Stocker, Carrie Behrbaum, Alicia Taylor, Carlene Teterud, Penny Reich, Linda Hollandsworth and Shelly DuMars.

Tubbs said the team was slow starting, barely making it out of league while finishing with a 10-5 regular season record, but ended up winning the district tournament and hit their stride at state in Mount Vernon.

“It took seven runs to win every game,” Tubbs said.

Seven was the Hornets’ magic number.

The Hornets won the state opener with a 7-1 victory over Monroe and then topped Hanford, 7-3, in the quarterfinals. The team lost to evental champion Woodway 7-0, in the semifinals, but rebounded in the consolation bracket to beat Spanaway Lake 7-4 in a loser-out contest and then lost to Shelton for fourth, 7-6.

“I remember there were a lot of clutch situations, but level heads and good solid softball got us through,” King said.

Enumclaw’s slowpitch program, which later became fastpitch, returned to the state tournament the next four years, but did not win another trophy until placing third in 1993 and second in 1994.

King, who is now a coordinator for Children’s Miracle Network in Yakima, said she loved the game and continued to play until about a year ago. She’s been rounding up her teammates, scattered across the Northwest and United States, for the big event.

“We’re very honored,” she said.

Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.

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