Marlins take senior tourney

Torn ribs. A sore back.

Nothing stood in the way of the North Whidbey Little League Marlins last weekend as they captured Oak Harbor’s Senior Softball Little League championship at Volunteer Park.

The Marlins, composed of primarily 13 to 14-year-old girls, defeated La Conner’s top fastpitch softball team 10-9 and wrapped up their season at an impressive 22-2 overall.

“That was the most fun and exciting game I’ve ever coached,” Marlin manager Dave Jackson said. “It was just back and forth the whole game.”

The North Whidbey team started out strong with pitcher Hanna Swayzer shutting down La Conner in order during the top of the first. Something started to feel wrong for the ace pitcher between innings, however.

Fighting a nagging pain in her side, she continued to throw for the Marlins — until the it finally became too much in the fourth inning.

“It was hurting her so bad she couldn’t even breathe,” Jackson said.

With the championship on the line, Swayzer refused to leave the game entirely, heading to center field to play. She later learned that she had a torn intercostal muscle in her rib cage.

“I stuck it, that’s all I’m going to say,” Swayzer said.

Pitcher Kim Mowbray, who missed the last month and a half with an injured back, took over for her first pitching appearance in a long time and closed out strong.

With a tying runner on third in the final inning, Mowbray forced a ground ball out to second that sealed the championship.

“We were just screaming and tackling each other,” said Mowbray of the scene after the game.

Top Marlin hitters for the tournament were Kayla Carrothers, who went 10-for-12 and Swayzer, who went 7-for-11.

“The entire team hit very well and won this tournament because of their outstanding defense,” Jackson said.

To get the championship, the Marlins defeated La Conner 11-0 and the North Whidbey Phillies 14-3.

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