Sports

KSS fights, falls to familiar foes

Klahowya’s Brittany Devitt fires a throw to first during the Eagles’ wet, season-ending 11-1 loss to Sequim at districts Saturday. - Photo by Aaron Managhan
Klahowya’s Brittany Devitt fires a throw to first during the Eagles’ wet, season-ending 11-1 loss to Sequim at districts Saturday.
— image credit: Photo by Aaron Managhan

TACOMA — Rain wasn’t the only thing streaming down the faces of some of Klahowya’s softball players Saturday.

The Eagles, eliminated in an 11-1, five-inning loss against Sequim, exited the 2A West Central District tournament with a tearful realization: The end had arrived.

“It wasn’t too tough coming in facing them,” Klahowya shortstop Brittany Devitt said of playing Olympic League foes North Mason and Sequim. “The hardest part is that this is the last game I’ll play with my friends. We’ve been best friends since we were 9 years old. It’s just hard to say goodbye to them. It’s too bad. But things happen for a reason.”

Devitt was one of five Klahowya seniors who saw the Eagles season end at districts for the third consecutive year. The team last made state in 2004.

“It’s hard, but we went out there and did what we could,” fellow senior Kelly Kela said. “As our last year, we wanted to go out there and do good. We went out there every game and tried our best. Yeah, we lost a few games. But we tried.”

Ivy Detweiler, Michelle Persall and Sumer Skelly also were senior starters for Klahowya. The Eagles finished the season 11-10. Klahowya began districts with a nail-biter, joining their baseball counterparts in ending Fife’s season with a 2-1 win Saturday morning.

Klahowya starter Kazandra Holliday got the complete-game win and catcher Jocylynn Meadows drove both runs in with a double. Kim Houde also went 2-3 for Klahowya.

The second round wasn’t as kind, as the Eagles saw the first of two Oly League counterparts in North Mason. The Bulldogs rolled 10-1 en route to the 2A district title. Breanna Stanley saw some time on the hill in relief of Holliday, who went 2-2 with a double at the plate in that contest.

Against Sequim, the team simply ran out of time.

“It’s tough. For the seniors especially,” first-year Klahowya coach Richard Romero said. “They’re not gonna get another chance. They were really counting on getting there. Our goal was to get to state. You can’t fault the girls for their effort. They never quit fighting to the very end.”

While he’ll miss all of his seniors, Romero knows he’ll be lucky to see another like Devitt any time soon.

“The leadership, Brittany especially,” he said. “A player like that comes in once every 10-15 years. I just wish I could have been with her all four years.”

Devitt, bound for Indiana University, said while the loss was sad, there’s more happy moments to look back on than anything else.

“Being able to share memories with my friends,” Devitt said. “Breaking the home run record last year. And so many others. It’s been a really good experience. It’s too bad it had to end before we went to state.”

Kela too said growing up with her teammates is something that took the team’s relationship far beyond the foul lines.

“Our team was just always really close. We’d always hang out,” Kela said. “Just to know you’re a part of a group that’s really accepting. Having all these friends so close. That’s the best part.”

Romero said the year was a learning experience for him and he hopes to come back stronger next season from a coaching standpoint.

“For me, it was a steep learning curve,” Romero said. “I learned a lot. I’m going to be much more prepared next year.”

And with some youth coming in, Klahowya will need all the talent it can get in replacing a large senior core. Key players like Meika Bumbalough, Holliday, Meadows and more will return as well.

“We’ve got a lot of young players coming up,” Romero said. “I look forward to working with them.”

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