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The LEAP Student Blog

'We’re Back and Better Than Ever' by Ciara Mennitto, Spanaway Lake HS
 5/3/2022 12:00:00 AM

Ciara Mennitto
Spanaway Lake High School, Class of 2023

I’m sure we all remember the day we first heard about the COVID-19 pandemic. The day we heard school was canceled, and sports were done. The doors locked and the lights went down and that was it; time to just walk away. COVID hit hard for every student in Washington, especially the athletes. Senior seasons were canceled, upcoming seasons were up in the air, and we were all on zoom missing our time on that field. So, when we heard the WIAA was considering allowing athletes to play again, we all sat there hoping we would get our little bit of normalcy back. I still remember the excitement I got from getting the message my high school softball coaches sent out back in February of 2021, and all it read was “We’re back”. All of our fall athletes were finishing up their season. Our girls soccer took 5th in league and football took first that year.

However, while I may have been on that soccer field, as soon as our season was over, all I could think of was how close I was to my sophomore year of softball. I didn’t get a freshman year because of the pandemic. I was handed my Varsity uniform, and a week later was told to give it back. March 22 came and I headed inside the front doors I had walked out of a year before, unbeknownst to me when I would return. My job that day was to help the freshmen get oriented with high school but my mind was glued on practice that night. 6 hours….4….2….1 hour left… When that final bell rang, I headed straight to the field. At 2:45 we began practice. You could feel the energy from our seniors, how happy they were to be back. How excited everyone was to hit again, throw, run drills. That one practice was the beginning of our return season.

We had a rocky start, going 0-4 against non league teams, one loss being 25-5 to GKHS. To be honest, it wasn’t looking too great for us. However, come April 28, we had managed to turn that around and had a record of 5-7, being 5-3 for our league. We were in the district finals, but who we would play was up in the air. It came down to this game, our senior night, against Lakes High. We came out strong, taking the lead early, and all was looking well for us. Until the second inning when we lost our star shortstop to injury. That was it for her, she was out for districts, and we were out a strong middle and an even stronger hitter. They ended up closing the gap and came our last ups, it was 10-9, bases loaded, with two outs. A hit to the grass wins it. I was standing on 3 with our catcher up to bat. Lakes’ pitcher goes into motion, the balls released, and then..crack..the ball goes flying. I’m watching as I head home and somehow, their CF miraculously robs the grand slam. We were playing Silas HS for round one. Due to our shortstops injury there were some moving parts and we had made adjustments to the field and to the batting lineup. We came out hitting and scored 4 in the first inning. The final wasn’t even close and we run-ruled 15-5. We were going to play Bonney Lake for first place. Bonney Lake was a powerful team and as we stepped on that field for the last time, we knew it would be tough. We struggled our way through, having only two hits all game. We did end up losing, but we placed 2nd in districts, and for most of us that was enough. 

We felt the emotions from our seniors as the game was called and the game they loved came to an end. Sure, we didn’t get a 2020 season, we didn’t think we would get one in 2021. However, when the season came around, and our coaches called, we all answered and came out fighting. For those reasons, I will forever value and remember that 2021 squad and I can only imagine how far we would have gone in a state tournament. They were a tough group, and we came back from a pandemic break. Injuries and COVID couldn’t even hold us back. Every time there was a roadblock, we went around and came back better than ever. Spanaway Lake’s 2021 girls softball team, in my opinion, will definitely be one to remember.

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May 2022

5/3/2022 'We’re Back and Better Than Ever' by Ciara Mennitto, Spanaway Lake HS

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