by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Twenty-eight victories, no defeats.
And a state championship — in fact, the first outright, unshared state championship ever nailed down by a Sequim High athletic team.
That’s the legacy of the 2011 Sequim Wolves fastpitch team.
“It feels great,” said first-year coach Joel Lewis, who led her team through the picture-perfect season.
It was definitely a season to remember. Sequim fastpitch had never finished higher than fifth at state.
Lewis stresses teamwork, saying the title isn’t due to any one player or a handful. “I think it’s the whole team,” she said. “Everybody stepped up.”
“The definition of a team.” The Sequim Wolves fastpitch team finished the season 28-0, bringing home the school’s first-ever outright state title in any sport. Photo by Lisa Jensen
The Wolves arrived at the state tournament in Selah 24-0 and West Central District champions. Friday and Saturday, May 27 and 28, they picked up another four straight wins at the state tournament to nail down the state title.
While they had regularly pounded teams through the season — opponents required the “mercy rule” in 18 of the Wolves’ 24 games this season — the final weekend was different, with Sequim picking up wins 12-10 against Lynden, 14-7 over Othello, 8-7 against arch-rival Anacortes, and finishing with a pitcher’s duel — 2-1 — in the championship game against Ellensburg.
“No surprise,” Lewis said. “When you get to that level you know you’re going to play some good teams.”
On the mound
Demiree Briones, the Sequim ace, pitched all but 1.2 innings through the weekend. Freshman Makayla Bentz, pitching in relief in game one, picked up the win over Lynden.
Briones said staying on the mound wasn’t all that difficult, pointing out she had once been called on to pitch five games in one day. “I just get stronger as the day goes along,” she said.
Briones said she wasn’t surprised the final game was so tight. “I was surprised we weren’t hitting more,” she said, but “we were drained.” Briones said the narrow victory against Anacortes had left the girls both physically and emotionally exhausted. “That was the championship game,” she said. “That was the toughest game of the tournament.”
Briones noted the Anacortes girls had removed them from the tournament two years before. “We definitely wanted revenge. We were so focused and everybody came through.”
The championship “means a lot to us,” Briones said. “All of us worked hard all year around. We practiced all summer and winter and it paid off.”
“We are the definition of a team,” Briones said.
Olympic League MVP Lea Hopson also said the Wolves won as a team. Regarding her own performance stats, Hopson said, “I don’t know and I don’t care. I just know we won as a team.” For the record, Hopson, who next year will play ball for the College of Southern Idaho, scored 10 of Sequim’s 36 runs in the tournament.
Lewis said the crowd support from Sequim fans was impressive. “We had a big following,” she said. “It was great.”
The team of 16 included just 3 seniors. All three — Hopson, Cindy Miller and Maddy Zbaraschuk — were first- team all-league players.
Briones described their contributions, saying, “Cindy Miller is a great second baseman. Maddy is a dominating catcher. And Lea Hopson was the league MVP.”
So what happens next year?
Lewis isn’t concerned. Winning this championship “was amazing,” she said.
And “these girls deserved it.”
“I’m still enjoying this,” she said.
Reach Mark Couhig at email@example.com.