The Auburn Riverside Ravens figured they’d be young this softball season – and they are.
They didn’t figure on being South Puget Sound League 3A champions.
But they are.
The Ravens made it official last Thursday, rolling to a 6-1 victory against Sumner in the regular-season finale.
“This is really a nice (championship),” said AR coach Chris Leverenz, whose more experienced 2007 team also finished on top, albeit in a tie with Bonney Lake. “You never want to say that you like one team more than the other. But this group of kids has been so pleasant, and it’s so great for them because they’re so young.
“We thought we would have to mold them. This is like icing on the cake.’
The Ravens, who wound up 13-1 in league play (their only loss being to runner-up Enumclaw) will bring a 15-3 overall record into this week’s SPSL-Seamount League playoffs at Service Park Ball Fields in Kent. They have a bye into the semifinals and are guaranteed a spot at district no matter what happens this week.
Auburn Riverside won’t have to play in Thursday’s first two rounds, and will take the field for the first time on Saturday at 1 p.m.
When that time comes, Leverenz says it’s no secret what the Ravens must do.
“We have to keep hitting,” she said. “Our defense is good. But we’re such a hitting team offensively, we just have to keep the bats going.”
Most of the time this spring, that certainly wasn’t a problem. The only times they got out-hit was in the three games they lost: 12-8 by SPSL North Division champion Kentlake, 12-4 by Kentwood of the SPSL North, and 12-4 in that 6-1 setback to Enumclaw on April 24.
In almost all their other games, the margin on the hit count was lopsided in Riverside’s favor – 15-0, 12-3, 13-3, 13-5, just for a few examples.
Leverenz was more than happy to put it all into her scorebook.
“Sometimes, it’s better to have a team that surprises you,” she said, referring back to last year’s veteran team that had high expectations and did advance to state, but fell short of a trophy. “This year has been nice – no expectations. This feels good, in some ways.
“It’s so exciting – now, I’m going to start expecting it,” Leverenz added, laughing. “We win here, and we’re used to that.”