It’s been argued that it’s never too early to start thinking about next year. However, just two weeks removed from winning a state title Adna softball coach Bruce Pocklington would beg to differ.
“As soon as you win people start asking, ‘Well what about next year? I’m not ready for that. I’m still enjoying this year,” said Pocklington, who had already been voted Coach of the Year in the Central 2B League prior to winning the state championship.
With awards and recognition still rolling in for his team Pocklington certainly has plenty of reasons to want to stop and smell the roses. Adna was able to land three players on The Chronicle’s All-Area team this season, including sophomore Haley Rainey who was selected as the All-Area MVP.
Rainey, a pitcher and infielder by trade, tossed 20 innings during league play and wracked up 39 strikeouts along the way to go with a palty 1.40 ERA. At the plate she commanded just as much respect with a .684 batting average and a .703 on base percentage. Rainey added 27 RBI to the back of her softball card, along with 11 doubles, three triples, and four home runs.
“It’s pretty nice to have a big horse like her in the lineup and she’s just a sophomore. She’s thrown a ton of innings for us the last two years and she’s pretty tough to hit when she’s on,” noted Pocklington. “We had 10 freshman last year and she wants to be a leader on our team. She leads by example. She’s got a lot of energy. She’s a hard worker. She’s very coachable and she’s one of our team leaders just because she’s pretty good offensively and defensively.”
For her part, Rainey has been far more focused on the lofty accomplishments of her teammates than any personal achievements she accumulated along the way.
“It was an amazing feeling really. We all just wanted it so much and to be able to win it for Emily Sliva and her comeback. It just meant so much to us,” said Rainey, who was also voted MVP of the Central 2B League. She added that the Pirates were not afraid to speak the name of their ultimate goal out loud to each other throughout the season. They had their eyes set on the state championship trophy and nothing else would work as a substitute.
“We had a checklist of goals that we wanted to accomplish this year and we’d keep reminding each other,” Rainey noted.
Fellow Pirates Payton Aselton and Skye Snow, who were both first team C2BL selections, joined Rainey on the All-Area team. Aselton, a senior shortstop, batted .690 with a .769 on base percentage in her first season of competitive softball since middle school. She also scored 22 runs, drove in 15 runs, and legged out a pair of triples and a trio of doubles in league play. Snow, a junior pitcher and first baseman, batted .536 with a .618 on base percentage in league with 13 runs scored and 14 RBI. In the pitcher's circle, Snow struck out 30 batters in 30 innings with a 1.75 ERA against Central 2B League opponents.
Pocklington called Aselton a “difference maker” for Adna this season and said that he was proud of his team for the way they matured from one year to the next.
“The girls were all new to me last year so we were young in my system I guess and we really grew up this year. We grew our confidence and played some tougher opponents in non-league and we got over the hump to win big games that I didn’t think we could have won last year,” explained Pocklington.
Just down Pleasant Valley Road in Napavine, Ada Williams was again able to swing her way onto the team. Williams, a senior corner infielder and pitcher, hit .593 this season in league play with 33 runs and 37 RBI. She tallied 32 hits in all with nine home runs in the bunch. Williams was a first team C2BL player this year to help Napavine into the district playoffs.
Across the freeway and out State Route 508, it was Amy Henderson of Onalaska who played her way onto the All-Area squad. The senior pitcher/infielder batted .486 with a .702 slugging percentage for a Loggers team that reached the state playoffs. Henderson added 13 doubles, three triples and 27 RBI at the plate while striking out 37 batters in 42 innings from the pitcher's circle. Henderson was also voted onto the C2BL first team.
Down in south Lewis County, it was Jenna Jones of Winlock and Kyleigh Holmes of Toledo who earned spots on the All-Area team. Jones, a senior, batted .567 with 14 runs, two doubles, four triples, and a home run in league to help the Cardinals to the playoffs. She also tallied 68 strikeouts and a 3.63 ERA in nine league games and was voted onto the C2BL first team. Meanwhile, Holmes roved all over the field defensively and managed a .444 batting average. The senior added four home runs, 36 RBIs and 12 stolen bases for a Toledo team that reached the district playoffs. Holmes was recognized earlier this year as a second team C2BL player.
Over on the other side of King Road, near the Lewis/Pacific County line, the Titans of Pe Ell-Willapa Valley landed three players on the All-Area team. Kamryn Adkins, a senior, helped to anchor the Titans pitching staff while batting .431, with a .511 on base percentage and a .737 slugging percentage. She also scored 39 runs with five doubles and five home runs. Katelyn McGough scored 50 runs with eight doubles and eight home runs this season. The junior outfielder also tallied a .539 batting average, a. 622 on base percentage, and an impressive 1.092 slugging percentage. Lastly, junior infielder Britney Patrick batted .554 with 31 runs and 54 RBI. She totaled 11 doubles, 10 triples, and eight home runs while getting on base more than 59 percent of the time and amassing a staggering slugging percentage of 1.216. All three players would have been first team selections for the Pacific 2B League if Patrick hadn’t been named MVP first.
In the 2A ranks Rochester, Centralia, and W.F. West all put players on the All-Area team.
Rochester’s Delaney Glazer, a senior, was voted a second team player in the Evergreen 2A Conference at the end of the regular season. She batted .448 and led the team in runs to help the Warriors reach the playoffs. Glazer also struck out 108 batters in 79 innings with a 2.04 ERA.
Kylie Sharp, a junior from Centralia, was also a second team selection for the EvCo. The Tigers’ shortstop batted .411 with a .535 batting average this season. She tallied 30 hits in total with three doubles, two dingers, 19 RBI, and 23 runs scored.
Over at W.F. West a quartet of Bearcats managed to make the All-Area team. Kamy Dacus, a freshman pitcher, was voted pitching MVP of the EvCo this season thanks primarily to her efficiency in the pitchers circle. She tossed 130 innings on the season with 186 strikeouts and a 2.15 ERA. Dacus also added three home runs with a .409 batting average and a .682 slugging percentage. Ashlyn Whalen, a junior, was named the Co-Offensive MVP of the EvCo earlier this spring and managed to make the All-Area team as well. Whalen hit .506 with a .606 on base percentage, 36 RBI, 47 runs, nine doubles and 11 home runs. Catcher Paetynn Lopez overcame fatigued catcher legs all season to put up some monster offensive numbers. She hit .393 with a .857 slugging percentage and an on base percentage of .480. Lopez, a junior and a first team EvCo selection, also drove in 39 runs, scored 37 times, and cranked out a dozen doubles to go with seven home runs. Annika Waring, another junior, was also a second team EvCo selection. This year she tallied a .419 batting average with a .558 slugging percentage. She also drove in 29 runs, scored 20 of her own, and tallied seven doubles and one home run.