Softball team working for trip to Florida

The girls of Blaze 97 monkey around. - Photo courtesy JASON OTTO
The girls of Blaze 97 monkey around.
— image credit: Photo courtesy JASON OTTO

MARYSVILLE Fulfilling the wish of every Super Bowl MVP and every little girl, the Marysville Blaze 97 fastpitch team is going to Disney World this summer.

But while they're at that age when going to Disney World should be the answer to all their dreams of make believe, these girls aren't going for the princesses.

The Blaze team has sharpened their teeth on a 27-game schedule, going 14-1 in USSSA tournament play and earned the right to play for the USSSA fastpitch world series, which just happens to play in Orlando, Fla.

Princesses aren't even the first thing that comes to mind for these girls. Alyssa Crain, a veteran of last year's Stilly Valley 9/10 all-star team says she's most looking forward to riding the Tower of Terror, while her teammates concur by nodding vigorously.

Of the 14 girls that play for Blaze, 10 were on their league's all-star team last year, with eight coming from Marysville Little League. And although girls like Crain had a state championship team ahead of them and the prospect of a regional run or Little League World Series appearance in their future, the girls say Blaze is right where they want to be.

The girls' experience in Little League all-stars last year the first year they would have been eligible for the all-star team varied a lot. While the Marysville exited the tournament in two games, Kayley Miller's South Everett team placed third.

"It's better," said Kayla Tocco, explaining the jump to select teams.

Strong play on both sides of the ball helped Blaze 97 jump to the top ranking of all 25 USSSA teams in the state. Pitching duo Alexis Pike and Kymber Devlin have proved a force from the mound. Pike, the team's ace pitcher, has a record of 8-1 in USSSA play, with half her wins going down as no-hitters, according to coach John Otto.

Devlin, the team's number two, has a perfect 6-0 record in USSSA, throwing one no-hitter.

At the plate, Otto's daughter Abi leads the team in hits and batting average, with a .571 record this season. Abi is trailed closely in batting percentage by Kaitlyn Bombach, while ChloƩ Otto, Abi's cousin, helped kick off the team's slugging with their first home run two-thirds of the way through the season.

"Since then, we've hit two more," coach Otto said.

Of course, young ladies don't typically have plane fare to Florida lying around, so the team has arranged several fundraisers to help support the girls' trip.

The team will host a garage sale, for which they are accepting donations, July 4-5 at Teri's Daycare, 6305 88th St. NE. The next day, they're hosting a car wash at the Marysville Les Schwab, followed by a fundraiser at the McDonald's on 88th Street in Marysville. From 5 to 8 p.m., 20 percent of proceeds will benefit the team.

"We're really picking (fundraisers) the girls can do," Otto said.

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