AR hopes forecast calls for a trophy

She spends seven innings almost every softball game throwing heat.

  • Monday, June 2, 2008 7:03pm
  • Sports

She spends seven innings almost every softball game throwing heat.

If the Auburn Riverside junior pitcher Amanda Fitzsimmons had her way, she’d spend the same seven innings absorbing some heat. Not from opponents’ bats, but rather from that golden globe in the sky, which has put in far too few appearances during this soggy spring.

Things changed last weekend when the thermometer and Fitzsimmons got hot simultaneously.

With temperatures in the 80s, Fitzsimmons struck out 13 in a 2-0 first-round West Central-Southwest District tournament victory against Olympic, 12 more in a 2-0 quarterfinal win against Capital and six in the semifinals as the Ravens beat Enumclaw, 3-0. She even had three – all of them in a row – in one inning of relief in AR’s 6-5 loss to Timberline in the final.

“I actually perform better in the heat. My shoulder gets sore when it gets cold,” said Fitzsimmons, who had shoulder surgery before the season.

It’s not expected to be either warm or cold – just upper 60s to low 70s this weekend when Fitzsimmons and the rest of the Ravens try to turn up the heat in the Class 3A state tournament at South End Recreation Area in Tacoma.After falling one win short of a trophy in 2007, Auburn Riverside, which brought a 19-5 overall record into Friday morning’s opener against North Central of Spokane (results unavailable). The tournament continues today with semifinals, consolation play and two trophy games: one for the championship, one for third place.

“We have our defense, and when we slack on defense, we have our offense to pick it up,” said Roxie Schwarz, who squats behind the plate and catches Fitzsimmons’ heat. “We have a mental game, and we know how to keep each other up.”

The easiest way for the Ravens to do that is simply to win games. But even when that didn’t happen – such as in last week’s district title game, when Timberline escaped with that 6-5 decision – Riverside opted for silver clouds rather than dark ones.

“It’s a tough district. All the teams are very good teams and have a chance to compete at state,” said senior outfielder and leadoff hitter Katie Grad, noting that two of the Ravens’ seven South Puget Sound League 3A rivals – Enumclaw and Bonney Lake – also made the 16-team state field. “It wasn’t exactly where we wanted to be (finishing second). But we have to look at it from the bright side.”

Katie Sellers, who pitched the championship game save for one middle inning of relief by Fitzsimmons, also saw the district tourney as just the tune-up the Ravens needed.

“After last weekend, I think we’re ready,” Sellers said. “We all want it, and we all want to win.”

The Ravens’ offense delivered in every game in district play, out-hitting all four opponents: 6-1 against Olympic, 9-2 against Capital, 4-2 against Enumclaw, and even 8-6 against victorious Timberline in the championship contest.

“We got a lot of our confidence back,” Fitzsimmons said. “Saturday, we were a lot more confident at the plate.”

Grad pulled no punches in saying that it’ll take all of that and then some to haul home some hardware from Tacoma this weekend.

“It all depends on what game we bring,” she said. “Everyone has to be there on the field, and everyone has to come with their bats ready.”

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Sports

Former Seattle Sounders Lamar Neagle to coach Federal Way Football Club

Federal Way native looks forward to “giving back to the community that helped raise me.”

Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices

Before practice begins, parents must understand COVID-19 protective protocols

Pictured: A Mercer Island High School swimmer competes in fall 2019. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced the girls swim and dive season will be moved to “Season 3,” which begins March 1. File photo
WIAA gives schools option to delay start of prep sports until December

An updated plan moves girls swimming to Season 3 and makes fall cross country an alternate season.

Stock photo
King County announces $600K in grants for youth sports

On July 27, King County announced the recipients of the 2020 Youth… Continue reading

The Todd Beamer Titans football team in Federal Way during a 2019 summer practice. File photo
WIAA modifies prep sports calendar; football moved to spring

Washington’s high school athletics governing body announced its revised plans for the… Continue reading

WIAA delays start dates for fall sports

Football practices to begin Sept. 5, all other sports planned for Sept. 7.

Betting surges at Emerald Downs even without fans in grandstands

Mobile, off-track wagering breaks $1 million on opening day

Emerald Downs changes opening day to June 24

Live racing to return at Auburn track but without fans

Emerald Downs announces revised 2020 stakes schedule

Racing starts June 22; first featured race Aug. 2

Emerald Downs to open for horse racing June 22

No fans initially at Auburn track; fans can wager from home

FILE PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds
T-Birds issue ticket refunds, exchanges for cancelled games in Kent

17,000 tickets sold for three March contests at ShoWare Center