EVERETT — For the first time in 10 years, the Marysville All-Star Little League team won the district softball championship game in a doubleheader against Mill Creek June 23.
It came together as planned for M-ville.
“We spent hours a day planning all of this, and it came together really well,” manager and coach Heather Rollings said. “The girls have taken to heart what was said and have gone with it.”
Marysville dropped its first game against Mill Creek June 16, which forced them into the consolation bracket. But M-ville battled its way winning two games to meet Mill Creek again at Phil Johnson Fields in Everett.
“The first time we played them we were like ‘they’re a powerhouse — they have a lot of funding and select players’ and we have only one select player on our team,” Rollings said. “But our girls came together as a team, gave good effort and fought.”
M-ville trounced Mill Creek 7-2 in the first game, where pitcher Sonya Cappello had 10 strikeouts.
“She dominated,” Rollings said. “She hardly had any walks.”
But perhaps most remarkably was catcher Kaiyln Thai, who caught for both games.
“That’s tough for a 10-year-old,” Rollings said. “And she didn’t even catch at all last year.”
Thai was also a crucial base runner. She scored three runs in the final game including, the game winning run courtesy of the RBI by teammate Makenzie Becker.
“That’s something we emphasized from day one,” Rollings said. “We’re going to win games with the small ball with the bunting and stealing the bases.”
But Mill Creek gave M-ville a contentious second game, in which they jumped to an early 2-1 lead. M-ville managed to tie it, but Mill Creek exploded to a 7-3 lead.
“They were so pumped, and they new the situation. They’re smart girls. We prepared them really well,” Rollings said. “We just told them, ‘Put the ball in play and things will happen.'”
M-ville’s bats came alive at the right time, with four runs scored in the fifth inning to tie 7-7. M-ville’s pitching and fielding sustained the tie until the seventh inning, when the game-winning run was scored.
“Don’t let the crowd or umpires get in your head,” Rollings said. “You can sleep tomorrow. You can take the easy route and just give up, or you can fight, and they chose to fight.”
M-ville finished 6-1 overall in the tournament and will be heading to state tournament in Vancouver.