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Playing together key to teams' success | Little League softball
Unity, togetherness, teamwork. Those were the terms tossed about by the members of the two Central Whidbey Little League softball teams to explain their success this season.
The "all for one" attitude helped the two clubs qualify for their Little League state tournaments, which begin Saturday, July 12.
The 9/10 team, which also includes two girls from South Whidbey, faces Woodinville at 3 p.m. in Asotin in the 10-team, double-elimination tournament.
The 13/14 team, which includes one South Whidbey player, gets to play closer to home. The Venom travel to Shoreline's Meridian Park to meet Ridgefield at 4 p.m. in its eight-team, double-elimination tournament.
Even 10-year-olds understand the importance of team chemistry.
So, why was the team so dominate in the district tournament, winning its three games by an average score of 17-5?
"We mesh well together," Mollie Bailey said. "We don't disagree."
Coral Caveness echoed that statement: "We work well together; we don't fight like some other teams."
"We get along," Stella Johnson added.
Head coach Lark Gustafson said his club is "cohesive" and has "some good, talented players."
"We have solid pitching with Chelsea (Prescott) and a combination of kids that works," he added.
Bailey said, "The coaches have put us in the area we are strongest at."
Gustafson is concerned about the heat in Asotin, which borders Idaho in the Southeast corner of Washington. Temperatures are forecasted to hit triple digits.
Prescott said the heat should be "no big deal" because the team will be focused on playing.
The young Wolves agreed the trip should be a kick regardless of the outcome of the games.
"Just the fact that we are going to state is amazing," Bailey said.
"We get to camp or stay in a hotel and play with our families and friends," Caveness said. "Win or lose, it doesn't matter, because we will have fun."
Make no mistake, they are in it to win.
"We are doing so good, I know we are going to beat some teams," Johnson said.
Bailey said, for an added bonus, "If we win our first game, we will play our next game on my birthday (July 15)."
For Bailey and Chelsea Prescott, this is their second state trip. They were members of a combined team with North Whidbey that qualified last year.
"Teamwork, without a doubt, is our strength," coach Kevin McGranahan said. "These girls grew up together."
Shortstop/pitcher Katrina McGranahan, the coach's daughter, said, "We are all friends; we are close outside of softball."
"We all work well together," said catcher Sarah Wright.
Central Whidbey is undefeated (17-0) and has not been challenged this year; no team has been closer than 10 runs. The lack of competition and how his team will handle adversity is "a concern," coach McGranahan said. "But this team has always battled back."
Katrina McGranahan said a close game could be good, forcing the team to play harder. If things get rocky, "the team will come together, they always do."
The goal at state is "to play hard," according to Wright.
Katrina McGranahan added, "To have fun and not let anyone hang their heads."
Coach McGranahan said getting to a state has already made this a successful season, but getting "one win would be nice."