It would appear the Hurricane editorial staff has been on vacation for quite some time. Winter and spring have come and gone and we only now can find the time to capture the exploits of our favorite ballplayers.
The Canes claimed 4 tournament championships and a 3rd place finish during the 2013 spring season. The ladies played very well and overcame a large number of injuries and conflicts in compiling a 21-2 record during that time frame! That record included a 15 game winning streak, which eclipsed last summer's 13 game and last fall's 14 game streaks. These establish the three best Hurricane streaks all time.
These accomplishments have run the Canes recent championship total to 9 of their last 11 tournaments since mid-last summer. They had won 6 straight with 35-3 record dating back to mid-last fall before falling in the semi-final game at the 20th (and final) International Youth Challenge last weekend. They did recover with a pair of big wins in the consolation bracket.
Of course it has always been this reporter’s priority to go beyond just capturing the results. It is much more about the Canes’ approach to the game. It is so awesome to consistently be adorned with comments on the team's demeanor, sportsmanship, camaraderie, etc. Whether it be the parents of pickup players (who generally state something like, "we have never experienced anything quite like that before!") to umpires, tourney directors, relatives or friends of players that show up to watch for awhile, or even fans from other teams, the shared thoughts always make for very proud coaches and parents. Our kids take in new players in an overly positive fashion that is apparently not all that common; we love them for that!
And so, with an end to High School softball and the school year coming to a close, it is onward to summer and the increasingly difficult challenges that lay ahead. The Canes are off to the Hillsboro Invitational this weekend. This represents the first of 4 travel tournaments which surround a couple local outings. All are hopeful the recent successes will serve as a positive springboard toward these endeavors, however, no matter the outcomes, we are all quite certain we will very much enjoy how they play the game!
Congratulations to the Hurricanes on winning the 18U USSSA Fall Championship! That makes 6 tournament championships this year, plus an impressive 5-0 showing at the College Exposure tourney a few weeks ago! In summary, the ladies are currently sitting on a 14 game winning streak! They are 20-0 in their last 4 USSSA Summer State and Fall Championship Tournaments!Weekend numbers:
From a parent and/or coach perspective the wins are nice, but the key to our happiness has been recognizing that win or lose, the kids adore each other, fight hard to pick each other up, and smile and laugh to the extreme. Way more often than not they buckle up and put the pedal to the metal when necessary. But either way, one thing is always the same, post game, when in the outfield chatting, every player is so very clearly appreciative of their teammates, the experience, the opportunity to be part of the environment we have all worked very hard to create for ourselves. They are amazing young ladies!
Looking forward, the dream is that every single player learns to valuable lessons that athletics offer; the biggest being exactly that, thinking forward. It is pretty clear that in life we will all make mistakes, we will all suffer unfortunate events. These will be countered by occasional good fortune and big accomplishments. Either way, it will always be the next step we take that matters most. In simplest terms, the next pitch is the only one that really matters. We are all encouraged to dwell not on what is behind us, what happened previously; but rather to think forward, take the next positive step. Life can be quite rewarding if we always carry that thought with us.
Congratulations again Hurricanes!
NSA Western World Series Champions! The Canes finished their week in Las Vegas with another 5-0 record to follow up the 5-0 record at the 16U USSSA State Tournament a couple weeks earlier. These great accomplishments were on the heals of a 5-2 record and 3rd Place finish at the NSA 18U State tournament, as well as 3 consecutive big wins at the Hillsboro Valley Invite.
Perhaps the most intriguing piece of winning 10 straight, along with 15 of 16, and 18 of 21, is that the player's had just prior to the start of the streak announced that the goal they most wanted to achieve in the remainder of the season was to go undefeated in a tournament. Now they've done it twice!
With regards to Vegas, the ladies were quite strong throughout. Despite multiple heat related scary moments for individuals, the team responded to every challenge, often with huge offensive innings, resulting in multiple double digit scores, including 21 runs in the championship!
That game resulted in somewhat of a, "story for the ages:" there we were playing in 110 degrees, down 4-3 in the 6th inning when everyone's favorite cheerleader dad wandered into the dugout with a big camera and a giant smile and announced, "we need to win this game....it is my birthday!" The ladies laughed a bit at the exuberance, circled up and decided on their pre-batting cheer, "For Dennis!"
-- insert one real long period in the blazing sun for the opposing defense and we base coaches here --
The Canes sent 17 batters to the plate that inning, scoring 12 runs! If that weren't enough, they added 6 more in the 7th, all to ensure a happy birthday for Dennis!
Well, OK, a very happy day for all Canes and fans!
However, as would be our wish as coaches and parents, there was a more significant accomplishment:
There were a group of umpires from all over the entire west that when not umpping kept watching our games instead of the 18U games, repeatedly making a huge deal over the team's execution of fundamentals, but even more so over the teamwork, camaraderie, demeanor, kindness, sportsmanship and overall approach to the game of the kids from Washington. This wasn't just in passing between coaches and umpires, but between umpires and the tournament directors who reiterated the acclaids, as well as between umpires and the parents they walked to seek out in that glorious looking shade down the left field line.
Next up; ASA Western Nationals, a tournament the Hurricanes finished 2nd in last year, but very near the fields in which they had won the Triple Crown World Series just a few weeks prior!
This is a glorious time of year and hopes are high that we will finish well, however, it is clear that this team has reached a pinnacle in understanding, that in the end, it matters not so much whether you win or lose, but rather, how you play the game....
We couldn't be prouder of our young ladies in White, Black and Green.
Best wishes Hurricanes!
The Washington Hurricanes finished 2nd at the 16A ASA Western Nationals in Kent, Washington, August 1-7. That accomplishment was rewarded with an invitation to play in the ASA Nationals next year in Alabama! Only the top two teams in the 44 team tournament received that invitation.
In addition, the Hurricanes recently won the Triple Crown Fastpitch World Series in Park City, Utah. 55 teams competed in 16A and the 'Canes became the first ever Washington state team to win a championship at that tournament at any level.
The Hurricanes won 6 straight bracket games after pool play in that Championship run, logging victories against teams from Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming, and ultimately a friendly Washington foe, the Snohomish Shock, in the finals. The scores were 9-1, 5-2, 14-0, 9-5, 6-5, and 10-1 in the Championship game.
The Hurricanes then added 7 more consecutive victories in the ASA Western Nationals before falling twice to the Castro Valley Synergy of California in the Championship series. Game 1 was a genuine back and forth battle, finally going into extra innings and resulting in a 6-5 loss for the 'Canes. It was the 2nd International tie breaker for the 'Canes, having won a thrilling 9 inning game earlier in the week. The Synergy took control of momentum early in game 2, winning 8-1. Hurricane wins during the 6 day tournament included scores of 8-0, 6-4, 4-2, 3-2, 14-4, 8-4, and 4-2 over 3 teams from California, 2 from Nevada, and 2 from Washington.
After winning both the spring and fall USSSA State Championships and finishing 2nd at the NSA State Championship, as well as grabbing another 2nd in the ASA Regionals in 2010, the ladies made aggressive National competition goals as a first year team at the 16 year old level. As such, they skipped the state tournaments this time around.
While last year a great deal was made of the team's 53 victories (against 19 losses), this year's team was only able to play 53 games total as the ladies first had to finish their High School seasons. After starting 19-2, the 'Canes hit a real rough patch mid-season, but they re-committed to one another and their goals and finished extremely strong. In the end, they had compiled a 37-16 record, including winning streaks of 12 and 13 games, the latter coming in the two National tournaments!
Coach Mitch offered the following thoughts in addition to the summary above, "It was a true testiment to commitment and dedication as the ladies did not play well at all in late June and early July. They had to take a hard look at where they were compared to where they started and where they wanted to be and made an incredible run! In the end they definitely surpassed expectations. Their belief in one another and what they could potentially accomplish, and the effort they were willing to put forth while chasing those dreams was a wonderful thing to be a part of. While that represents a coach's perspective, I believe every parent is equally proud of their daughter's contributions while facing and overcoming such challenges as a team. These are skills that will propel them in life, which is of course the hope, the ultimate goal, the real reason we coaches have dedicated our time to this endeavor."
The 'Canes are now looking forward to Fall Ball, winter workouts, and High School play in preparation for college exposure tournaments and representing their state at Nationals next summer.
The Washington Hurricanes fastpitch strive to provide a safe and healthy environment that is both mentally and physically rewarding for any girl who is willing to accept the challenge and commitment of team sports. The Canes believe that by providing an environment that rewards dedication, determination, cooperation and hard work, the girls will build the foundation they need to ensure their success for a lifetime. Please take a moment to view some of the team's sponsors this year, we appreciate all their help.
To contact the 18U Washington Hurricanes, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org