July 19, 1999
Front Row (left to right): Janna Tonahill, Jessica Magraw, Callie Webster, Valerie Kenny. Middle Row: Danielle Everett, Ashly Wick, Ashley Morrison, Emily Gould, Heather Hansen, Anne Phippard, Michelle Linscott. Back Row: Coach Tina Hansen, Coach Mike Gould, Coach Pete Hansen, Head Coach Marty Wick, Coach K.C. Webster, Coach Bruce Morrison.
by Marshall Haley, staff reporter
WOODINVILLE--The Hurricanes, a 12-and-under Northshore fastpitch softball team managed by Marty Wick, became Washington's first team in 30 years to win the National Colorado Fireworks Tournament.
"Every one of our players made at least one big play during the tournament to help us win a game," said Wick. "I'm very proud of the girls, not only for their win, but for the teamwork and sportsmanship they showed on the field. It's a real honor to coach such a great group of girls who only know how to play one way: giving 100 percent all the time."
The Hurricanes were seeded fourth among 12 teams after round-robin preliminary play. In the double-elimination championship round, they beat state champions from Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, and one of California's top teams.
"Those teams had a geographical advantage over us, playing in that heat," said Wick. "Some Texas and Oklahoma teams had played as many as 140 games before the tournament. They play 11 months out of the year. That's hard to compete against."
A couple of 2-1 wins, over Colorado in the semi-finals and an earlier win over Texas, were decided in the seventh inning. A 6-1 extra-inning win over Oklahoma was tied 1-1 after the regulation seven innings. The Hurricanes were undefeated going into the championship game against the Texas team they had already beat.
"It was about 105 degrees for that 12:30 game," said assistant coach K.C. Webster. "Both teams had already played a game at 10:30 a.m., and they were really dragging from the heat. About halfway through the game, the umps called a timeout and sent both teams to their dugouts to cool off. We had tarps over the dugouts and several of those giant water containers from McDonald's. Some of the girls wore washcloths dipped in ice water under their caps, others just soaked their caps with ice water."
Texas won that first endurance contest, 11-9, forcing a second championship game a half-hour later, said Webster. The 'Canes finally prevailed, 4-2, in the second title game that ended at 4 p.m.
"The amazing thing was that there was any ice water left for the girls to pour a container over Marty after the game," said Webster.
"The most impressive thing to me was how well our girls can get the bat around on 50-55mph pitches from 35 feet away," said Wick, who played college and semi-pro baseball in Eastern Washington. "That's the equivalent of a 95-mph fastball from 60 feet. Jim Ferraro, the Colorado tournament director, emphasized the high level of competition from teams around the nation and said the Hurricanes displayed an outstanding level of talent and have a great future in softball."
The select team drew most of their players from Northshore schools, with other players from the Eastside and North Seattle. Three Woodinville players, Ashley Wick, Danielle Everett, and Callie Webster, played on the Little League state champion team for 9-10-year-olds in 1997, said Webster. Bothell's Val Keeney also played with those girls in 1996 on the team that finished fourth at state.
The team does fundraising to pay for their trip to the tournament, including selling programs at Safeco Field's opening last Thursday. They attribute a large part of their success to hours of volunteer time from coaches, parents, and the community, said Wick. He gave special thanks to coaches Pete and Tina Hansen, K.C. Webster and Mike Gould for their time and contributions. Wick also praised Mike Dale and Susan Cook from Northshore School District Support Services for their field and facilities support, Aaron Horrocks, Kathy Tonahill, and Easton Corporation for equipment donations, and Edmonds Community College softball coach Lonnie Hicks, who taught the girls the importance of sportsmanship and how to play as a team.
Some of the Hurricane players have won over 110 games the last two years, playing in 11 tournaments from Washington to Ohio. The Hurricanes' final 1999 season record was 60-10, with 2 ties, while winning 6 tournaments.