Take me out to the ball game

The 2022 season officially begins for LSHS girls softball, and with rain or shine, they intend to win.


Melanie Delestrez

Strike! you’re out!: Senior Kyleigh Lynn holds up horns towards the outfield after pitching a strike. Lake Stevens’ fans bundled up in the stands at MPHS, as words of encouragement were said from teammates in the dugout. “I’m excited for this season and how far we’ll go,” sophomore Ava Heston said.

COVID-19 cut the 2020-2021 softball season to a short 13 games with a record six wins, seven losses. Coming into the season, softball is set to play a 21 game season, and in 13 games they have a record of 5 wins, 6 losses, and 2 ties.

After the conclusion of winter sports and their post season, now the time has come for spring sports at LSHS to shine. Athletes work outside on the field, track, tennis courts, and in the batting cages.

On April 14, softball took a 10-3 win in the seventh inning vs Marysville Pilchuck High School.

Senior Emily Cardenas gets in the motion to hit the next pitch by the MPHS pitcher. (Melanie Delestrez)

Coached by Sarah Hirsch, a transition teacher at North Lake Middle School, softball has a young group with two seniors that bring leadership and experience.

Senior Kyleigh Lynn, number 12, is committed to continue her education and play college softball at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, Washington.

Senior Emily Cardenas, number five, is committed to play softball and major in nursing at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“Some goals for me this year are number one, to always have fun out on the field, and two, just being a leader and aggressive whenever I’m up to bat around the field,” Cardenas said.

Sophomore Ava Heston was able to play last year during the short season as a freshman. With two more full seasons left of high school softball, there’s a lot to look forward to and accomplish.

Heston studies the infield as she prepares for the play. (Melanie Delestrez)

“My favorite part so far is definitely the team and who I get to play with. I’m able to play with so many people this year that I haven’t seen in a while but I played with them when I was younger,” Heston said.

With the lengthy 2022 season, softball will play against WESCO 4A conference teams twice as well as 11 non-conference games. Each player has one game they’re looking forward to more than others, and winning said game would be a box crossed off a list of goals.

“The Jackson and Glacier Peak games are what I’m looking forward to because they’re our rivals and good teams,” Heston said.

Most softball athletes will have select ball in the off season, where they’ll travel either across the United States, or across Washington to participate in tournaments or games. The idea of playing in the summer or off season on a select team is to continue working on gaining new skills and focusing on what needs to be improved. However, there’s another huge importance of playing on a select team, building relationships.

Players, who are coming from different communities or high schools to form a team and play together for a singular season either during the summer or the off season, creates a respect for play style and an exposure to other areas.

“I’m excited to play Snohomish because I have a really good friend, who I played with that goes there. But I’m also excited for Jackson because they have a good pitcher, and I just want to hit off her. I’ve never gotten the chance to, so this will be the year I get a hit off her,” Cardenas.

Halfway through the spring season, teams are pushing to make a run into playoffs, districts, and eventually the state championships. For many, especially seniors, state is the number one box to check off on season goals.

In the 2018-2019 season of LSHS girls softball, they took second place in the state tournament after falling to Jackson High School. This season, they’re looking to make a similar run but with a different outcome: state champions.

“I think as long as you know, we’re all having a good time, and doing our job up at the plate or out in the field, we can reach state. I know we’ll do good because I trust them,” Cardenas said.

As a game day approaches, excitement and anticipation before games is at a high level. Many athletes perform game day rituals, or pre-game rituals to prepare themselves for the game and as a good luck charm.

“If it were at home, like say a Friday night game, I go home, drink my Body Armor, and get my outfit together while playing music. Then drive down here, get my Red Bull Italian soda and listen to some more music. I just love listening to music before games,” Cardenas said.

Heston will also perform a pre-game ritual before she heads out onto the field.

“For me, I always have to wear my hair the same. I tie it back and then do little bubbles. I just always have to do that same hair style,” Heston said.

As seniors, four years of playing high school softball have taught them lessons in being confident, offered important advice, and friendships. They give their best effort, motivation, and everything they have to play on the field for one last time. Past seniors have given them advice they’ve heard over the years, and now it’s the Class of 2022’s turn to pass down the wise words that have motivated them.

“I would say to the players just to have fun, and don’t be afraid to attack the ball. Just go out there and have fun because that’s the most important thing about softball. It’s just having fun with your friends,” Cardenas said.

We wish you the best of luck during the second half of the season. To both seniors, thank you for playing softball here at LSHS, and congratulations on having the opportunity to continue playing softball at the collegiate level.