Softball wins, softball wins!

All sporting victories feel good, but regular-season wins don’t normally come under the heading of feeling “unbelievable” unless they are for a championship. But the pride that the Mercer Island girls softball players felt when they defeated Federal Way 8-4 on April 7 at the South Mercer Playfields was a testament of dedication and hard work.

“Everyone hit well,” said Islander softball coach Jessica Steinle. “It was true team effort.”

The win put an end to the Islanders’ 38-game, nearly two-year long, losing streak. The last time when the team earned a victory was on April 10, 2006 against Interlake, 7-5. The Islanders have won a total of two games during the past three seasons.

“That one win did wonders for their confidence,” said Steinle. “It has been tough, but we are starting to see results.”

The change in the team is evident in all aspects of the game.

“I make them run for every strikeout they get,” said Steinle, who is committed to seeing the program get back on its proverbial feet. “When we put the ball in play, we have a better chance to score. It is as simple as that.”

The Islanders scored more against Federal Way than they have during the entire season. The Islanders have also scored, at the halfway point of the season, more than they did all last year.

“Everyone is more aggressive at the plate,” said Islander senior Carrie Williams. “The win really did help morale. This team has become so close, and we are starting to feel good and try that much harder.”

The Islanders fell behind 1-0 but came back through a very consistent hitting assault by scoring two in the second, one in the third, one in the fourth, two in the fifth and two in the sixth.

Islander Patty Chew went 3-for-3, while Williams was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Leigh Wunderlin was 1-for-4 with an RBI.

“Our positive attitude in that game helped us to get the win,” said Islander Chloe Snethen. “We never got down on ourselves, and we saw we could hit the pitcher and took advantage of that.”

The Islander defense was just as strong, as they did not commit an error behind starting pitcher Kharis Goldman’s complete game victory.

“Our defense has been coming around,” said Steinle. “We are improving every game.”

Goldman has been a workhorse for the team this season with freshman pitcher Emily Kahan having surgery for a torn ACL. Both the varsity and junior varsity teams have just three pitchers total. That number almost fell to one on Thursday against Sammamish, when Goldman was hit in the elbow with a line drive.

Mercer Island took an early 1-0 lead but gave up five runs during the bottom of the second inning. The Islanders got one back during the third but left two runners in scoring position. The aggressive tendencies of the Mercer Island hitters has yielded obvious improvement for the team. The Islanders lost to Sammamish 15-1 earlier this season.

The injury to Goldman, who wanted to continue but couldn’t, made Mercer Island forfeit the game with no pitchers to put in the circle.

“She just got smoked in the elbow,” said Steinle. “She couldn’t grip the ball, and we have a few days off. It’s better just to give her a rest.”

Mercer Island played Newport on Monday (after Reporter deadline) and will travel to Mount Si for a game at 4 p.m., today.

Team breaks losing streak

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