Plain and simple: The Redmond High softball team tore it up last season.
The Mustangs completed the postseason trifecta by winning the 3A state title, SeaKing District crown and KingCo tournament championship.
They return 10 players from that super squad and are aiming to get back to state again. Coach Alison Mitchell stresses to her players that challenges await this season.
“All we talked about the first day, just reminding kids, ‘Hey, here’s what we did,’ to kind of set a precedent for the new girls,” Mitchell said. “But we made it very clear, all the coaches did, a unified message to the girls that last year is last year, ‘You put a massive target on your back, so expect everybody’s best this year, and we don’t wanna hear about it again.’”
Tops for Redmond are Kiki Milloy, a junior pitcher; Mara Kipnis, a senior at third base; and Sophia Viola, a senior pitcher. Milloy — already a University of Tennessee commit — earned league most valuable player honors and slammed two homers and notched the win from the pitchers’ circle in Redmond’s 9-5 victory over Yelm for the state title. Kipnis, who has committed to Williams College in Massachusetts, was a second-team all-leaguer and supplied a two-run double in the state title matchup.
Mitchell said that Milloy has continued to grow mentally and physically and is looking to keep breaking the ball in the right spot against batters; Kipnis is a versatile four-year starter who makes outstanding plays in the field and thrives in her leadership role; and Viola, an honorable mention in 2017, has grown from last year and teams up with Milloy for a vital one-two pitching punch with different styles, spins and speeds.
The squad battled fatigue at the state weekend tourney last year, and Mitchell said that strength and conditioning sessions and a specialized warmup routine should help spark their endurance throughout the season.
“It’s a solid core group. I’m blessed,” said Mitchell, noting that this year’s team scenario is a continuation from last season. “We’re really excited about that, ‘cause now we can push the kids even further and see what more they’re capable of.”
At press time, Redmond led the league with a 4-0 mark and was 5-0 overall.
Jennifer Cummings and Milloy each have a pair of homers and Audrey Walker has a dinger as well. In a 7-0 win over Lake Washington, Cummings, Mara Kipnis and Camille Eaton had two hits each and Milloy got the win with a one-hitter and nine strikeouts.
Head coach: Alison Mitchell
Last year: 3A state champions; 20-4 overall, 10-1 in 3A KingCo; KingCo tournament and SeaKing District champs
Key returners: Kiki Milloy, junior, P; Mara Kipnis, senior, 3B; Sophia Viola, senior, P