Tears were streaming down the faces of a plethora of Mercer Island girls softball players following the final contest of the 2017 season.
The Liberty Patriots defeated the Islanders 18-13 in a high scoring matchup between KingCo teams on senior night on May 5 at the South Mercer playfields. Mercer Island finished the 2017 season with an overall record of 6-14. Mercer Island seniors Kayla Varney and Camryn Steiner, who were on the varsity roster for the past four seasons, were honored prior to the start of the game for their memorable high school careers. Mercer Island head coach Dale Watanabe had nothing but absolute praise for the dynamic senior duo on the softball field.
“Those two are ladies of character. They’re outstanding young women and they are going to go far in life. I’m looking forward to seeing the kind of things they will be doing in the future,” Watanabe said.
The Islanders mental toughness and character was on display against the Patriots. Liberty sent 14 batters to the plate scoring eight runs in the top of the third inning, building a 9-5 lead. In the top of the fifth the Patriots added four runs extending their lead to 13-6. The Islanders weren’t fazed by Liberty’s onslaught of offense in the top of the fifth. Mercer Island scored seven runs in the bottom of the fifth, tying the game at 13-13. Unfortunately for the Islanders, the Patriots responded with five runs in the top of the sixth which ended up being the final runs of the contest. The Islanders pounded out 16 hits in the loss. Mercer Island sophomore Angelina Barokas went 4-for-5 with 4 RBI in the loss. Jessica Ramseyer went 3-for-5 at the plate and Steiner went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI in the final game of her high school career. Watanabe was impressed with his team’s resolve despite trailing for most of the game.
“There is a lot of heart here. They support each other and they don’t give up. It has been like that all year. I’m really proud of these players and can’t say enough about their character and their willingness to just keep going,” Watanabe said.
Steiner, who was the Islanders starting shortstop, said the Islanders were a much better than their overall record showed.
“I feel like throughout the years the program has been growing immensely and we are becoming better and better each year. Our scores [record] this year did not reflect how we did as a team. I’m really excited to see how it [the program] becomes in the future,” Steiner said.
Varney said team chemistry is a cornerstone of the Mercer Island softball program.
“This team is like no other team I have ever been on. It is interesting to see a group of girls that you would never expect to come together and form a team,” Varney explained. “This team is representative of all grades and all different types of friends coming together to form a true team. We’ve worked so hard and it is just really awesome to see this team come together. I’m going to remember the team bond.”