The South Whidbey Little League Fastpitch 9-11 team has hit it out of the park and is headed to the state tournament this weekend after clinching a win against North Whidbey.
The Allstars team, which consists of girls between the ages of 9 and 11, will represent District 11 at the upcoming tournament, which begins July 22 in Montesano, Washington.
For what may be the first time in South Whidbey history, a Little League baseball and a softball team qualified for the tournament after becoming District 11 champions. The boys team, South Whidbey Little League Majors Allstars, played July 15 in Poulsbo, Washington.
The girls bested the North Whidbey team last week at Volunteer Park in Oak Harbor. Head Coach Jenny Dill said Calleigh Egerton pitched a very strong 7.5 out of 9 innings played and Abigayle Whitney caught for 8 out of 9 innings played. Jayda Coleman came in from second base to relieve both the pitcher and catcher during the games.
“A notable moment in the championship game was Ellie Linaberry getting to first base on a third dropped strike, then stealing second, third and home to score the game-winning, and 14th, run,” Dill said.
During the two games played, there were a combined 21 hits and 38 stolen bases. Every single girl got on base, and many players contributed multiple hits, including Coleman, Whitney, Phoebe Culver and Sawyer Dill.
Other players on the roster include Jillian Williams, Laila Hose, Lucy Aburto-Flores, Katelyn Ricketts, Savannah Lasick and Athena Miller.
For Jenny Dill, the vice president of the South Whidbey softball program, this is her fourth year coaching softball and her first time sending a team to state. She is joined by assistant coaches Darcie Egerton, Lei McManus and Morgan Batchelor.
“I played Little League here and my team went to state,” Dill said. “When I came onto the board and decided to coach, there were like three girls signed up.”
So she reached out to every friend her daughter had, recruiting as many players as possible. South Whidbey’s softball program grew, from 11 girls in Dill’s first year to about 50 now.