Oak Harbor’s Macy Oliver hopes her life goes to the dogs. More precisely, the Huskies.
Oliver wants to play softball for collegiate powerhouse University of Washington, and recently she took a positive step toward making that dream come true.
This summer the rising eighth grader was selected to play for Team Seattle, a 14U team coached by the UW and Pacific Lutheran University staffs.
Team Seattle is considered the premier youth team in Washington and begins training Sept. 8.
“I’m really excited that I get to work with the UW coaches,” Oliver said.
Her father Gerry Oliver is equally psyched: “(I’m) stoked that she gets a year with the best coaching in Washington. Heck, not too many kids can say, ‘I practice at U-dub and use their training facilities.’”
Team Seattle will compete in elite tournaments throughout the country, but the emphasis of the program is on training and not competition.
“Believe it or not, this is less softball games and more about growth and learning proper practice habits,” Gerry Oliver said. “I’m excited to watch her grow with this opportunity.”
This will be the first time in several years that Macy, 13, will be competing in her age group; the past few years she has played up a division. She just completed a year with the Snohomish Shock, a team of primarily eighth- through 10th-graders. Macy was the youngest and only seventh-grader on the roster.
“Not too many seventh-graders can say they have played in 18U tournaments and 16U tournaments and won against competition that was three-to-five years ahead of them,” Gerry Oliver said.
Being the “baby” on the team wasn’t a problem, according to Macy.
“I did really well and felt like I belonged,” she said. “They treated me just the same.”
Playing for the Shock against older competition, Oliver pitched 102.2 innings, struck out 66 and posted a 4.57 ERA. At the plate (she played in the outfield when not pitching), she hit .350 with 24 RBI.
One highlight of the summer season was helping the Shock to a 17th-place finish in the 180-team Colorado Sparkler tournament in July in Aurora. The event, hosted by Premier Girls Fastpitch, is considered one of the country’s top tournaments.
Macy Oliver earned her spot on Team Seattle with a unique devotion to the sport. In addition to traveling to Snohomish twice a week for practice, she met with private coaches for pitching, hitting and agility training once a week.
Oliver admits that the five-day-a-week training schedule and tournaments on the weekends cut into her social time, but it isn’t a problem because she loves softball and hanging out with her friends on the team who are like-minded.
She also studies in the car (“school comes first”) on the trips to and from practice to maintain her spot on the honor roll.
If fact, she believes softball has made her a better student, improving her work ethic and forcing her to better manage her time.
“It has also taught me how to better interact with people,” she said.
Gerry Oliver isn’t worried that his daughter might be missing out on typical teenage experiences.
“She enjoys what she is doing, and I don’t pressure her to do so,” he said. “When you have the type of success she has had, that is the reward you strive for. She is at the age where she knows what she wants.
“To be at her level takes time and commitment, with the understanding school and grades come first. No gray area on that.”
“We (along with wife Cindy) get to experience new places all over the United States,” he added. “We also make sure to do some other things while on the road that are not softball-related. These are memories that we will have forever, and spending quality time as a family is one of the most important things you can do as parents.”
Gerry Oliver said when Macy is tired, he makes sure she takes as much time off as needed.
As for now, Macy is all in. Time for a young dog to learn some new tricks.