Vikings plan to bring home hardware
The past two seasons have been especially memorable for the Bellevue Christian Vikings softball program.
The Vikings advanced to the Class 1A state tournament in 2016 and 2017. Last season Bellevue Christian earned seventh place in the Class 1A state tournament in the Tri-Cities.
“We made it to the second day,” head coach Ryan Kelly said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Kelly, who has led the Vikings softball program since 2002, said seniors Katie Pippel, Celina LaBossier, Annie Whitton and Jasmine Hathaway have been mainstays in the program over the past several seasons.
“We’ve been pretty blessed the past four years or five years,” Kelly said.
Pippel will be the Vikings ace in the pitching circle. Hathaway, who was a starting outfielder in previous seasons, will move behind the dish as the starting catcher in her senior season. LaBossier will start in the outfield and Whitton will play third base.
“I know this group of seniors with the mark they’ve left on the program, I know their goal is to get back to Richland (site of Class 1A state tournament) and maybe bring home some more hardware,” Kelly said.
Over the years the Vikings have played non-league games against 2A, 3A and 4A opponents. Kelly said his team eagerly anticipates the challenge against schools with much larger enrollments. The Vikings will face the Bellevue Wolverines (March 27) and the Interlake Saints (April 17).
“It is getting our team really good experience. We’ve played a lot of those games in the past and we’ve won a couple of them. It helps us and we don’t shy away from the challenge,” Kelly said. “We’re thankful for those games. You have to play up to that level.”
Head coach: Ryan Kelly
Last year: 21-5 overall (Earned first place in the Class 1A Nisqually League during the regular season)
Key players: Katie Pippel, P; Celine LaBossier, OF; Annie Whitton, 3B; Jasmine Hathaway, C
Team to build on last season’s epic run
Bellevue Christian Vikings head coach Blane Berry will never forget what his team accomplished during the 2017 season.
The Vikings, who barely advanced to the playoffs after finishing in third place in the Nisqually League during the regular season, found their groove in the playoffs.
“We made it to the state round of 16 which was super exciting for us. We were playing good ball when it mattered the most,” Berry said. “We snuck into that last playoff spot (third seed) in our league, got third in districts and then made it to state.”
Pitching will be the Vikings greatest strength this coming season. Berry said he has five pitchers who have the ability to control the game on the bump.
“We keep preaching pitching and defense. That will carry you all the time. We’ve got more pitching depth than we have had in the past. We’re really optimistic,” Berry said.
Berry said pitcher Eric Kats was a clutch player last season and is expecting big things out of him this year.
“He finished really strong and won a couple of big games for us down the stretch. He should be one of the best pitchers in the (Nisqually) league,” Berry said.
Infielder/pitcher Daniel Teramoto is going to be one of the Vikings top players in the batting order.
“Daniel is a really solid all-league player. He has been all-league the past two years in a row as an infielder and is a tremendous hitter,” Berry said.
Experience is on the Vikings side as well. The Vikings may be a young squad with just three seniors, but nearly all of them were part of last year’s varsity squad.
“We have a kids who have played a lot of baseball,” Berry said.
Head coach: Blane Berry
Last year: 7-12 overall (Captured third place in the Nisqually League)
Key players: Eric Kats, P; Daniel Teramoto, P/INF/; Mason Green, P; Jeff Jewett, P, Grant Porter, P; Mick Larsen, 1B