The crack of the bat leads the ball to fly through the air for a home run. All the effort they have put in throughout the year, backed by the competitive nature of each player, leads to their grand plays.
Many players compete on more than just the Shorewood team. Cate Wheaton, freshman, is on two teams. “I’m on a select team and a little league team,” she said. Skylar Tillman, Katie Ponomarchuk, and Rebecca Carson are also all on select teams. Tillman and Carson both play on Washington Shock.
Many athletes on the team have been playing for multiple years. “I started t-ball when I was about 6 or 7 then changed to softball when I was 8 or 9,” Tillman said. No matter how long they have been playing, the girls on the team are equally as dedicated to the game. Ponomarchuk, who has been playing for four years said, “[Softball season] gives me something to work for during the school year.”
Juggling school softball and school work can be challenging especially when you add select into the mix.
“It can be hard juggling school with all the practices I have for Shorewood as well as my other team, but time management is one of the most important things I’ve learned to use. I can’t always hang out with friends because I might have an early morning practice the next day or a weekend tournament. But thankfully my friends are all so supportive of me. It was hard when I first started select and had to make those sacrifices, but looking back on it I wouldn’t change any of it,” Tillman explained.
No matter the challenges they face, they all really enjoy the time they put in, whether it’s at practice or in a game.
Carson said she plays “for the competition and the friendships.” The people of the team have helped their experience be even better than it would have been, they said. Tillman explained: “I love the game and being surrounded by people who share the same love of softball as I do.” Wheaton agrees that the athletes of the team really help each other out. “I know more of the upperclassmen [now] so [there are] more people I can go to for help,” Wheaton said.
Getting to play as a team with players who have similar goals helps them perform to their best. “I love being able to play my favorite game with some of my closest friends while also representing Shorewood – it’s such a cool thing,” Tillman said. But sometimes they get that feeling when they’re all alone up to bat. Ponomarchuk said, “I love getting up to bat and the feeling of just you and the pitcher.”
Working both by themselves and as a team they have created many goals for this season and beyond. “The goal is to make it to districts again or further,” Carson said. They all agree that beating some of the best teams is what will help get them there. Ponomarchuk said, “My dream is for us to beat the Snohomish team.”
But their goals reach even beyond their high school seasons.
Carson, Ponomarchuk, Tillman, and Wheaton share a dream of going on to play in college. Wheaton said that she would love to go on further than that but going pro may not be the best move. Wheaton said “[High school] is just another opportunity to play and gives me more of an opportunity to play in college. It would be fun to go pro but there aren’t many teams in the US and they don’t even really get paid.”
They’re hoping for this season to be their best which could give them a bigger chance to play for college teams. Tillman said:
“I want to be able to lead by example and be the best teammate I can be and hopefully we’ll go further in playoffs than we did last year.”