Kiki Milloy doesn’t think it’s the loudest she’s ever screamed following a softball victory, but her ear-piercing holler certainly conveyed that it was an emotional evening for the Redmond softball squad.
Milloy struck out a Garfield batter with a runner on first base to finalize the Mustangs’ 2-0 victory and 3A SeaKing District championship on May 18 at the Southwest Athletic Complex in West Seattle.
Redmond (22-1 overall) is headed back to state, where the Mustangs took first last season — and when Milloy feels she unleashed her most booming yell after winning the final game.
Laughter and smiles were aplenty following the win over Garfield.
“Because this game was so down to the wire, there’s a lot of energy the whole time,” Milloy said. “So when I can get that final out for my team, I was just so pumped because I knew that they had worked hard the whole game for me, and I wanna give back to them.”
Redmond tallied first in the bottom of the third inning when Lindsay Tsujikawa scored from third base on a passed ball. Audrey Walker had a key single to drive Tsujikawa into scoring position. The Mustangs scored again in the fifth inning when Milloy sprinted home on a passed ball. Milloy started the inning with a towering double to left field.
Garfield threatened to tie the score in the fourth inning, but stranded runners on second and third after a Milloy strikeout put the Bulldogs to rest.
Right fielder Kaia Bradford is thrilled to be in the starting lineup as a sophomore and learned what it took to be part of the Mustang fold as a freshman.
“(It’s a) very do-your-job kind of aspect, so you really have to rely on your teammates and trust each other, build each other up, just try to create something even off the field where you can talk to people and create a bond,” Bradford said, adding that everyone has each other’s backs, from the players on the field to those cheering and supporting in the dugout.
Across the outfield from Bradford, there’s Lauren Lund in left. She feels the most crucial part of the Mustangs’ success is that they’re all in it together.
“It’s great because I’ve never been with a group of people who love each other so much that I would do anything to help Kaia succeed, I would do anything to help Kiki succeed, anything to help the bench succeed,” Lund said.
Redmond faced some pressure situations at districts that it didn’t experience in the regular season, Lund said, and the Mustangs will be working to bring a solid mental game to state.
“We battled through,” Lund said of districts. “I think that with more practice, we’re gonna get so much better at it, and it’s just gonna help us in the state tournament.”
Coach Alison Mitchell feels the Mustangs are competing well and they’ll flip the switch on this week to prepare for state, which is May 25-26 at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.
In the grind-it-out games like the Garfield contest, Mitchell said the players need to stay confident in their abilities.
“I trust my players, and even if something was gonna happen, we made some mental mistakes, they trust each other too,” she said. “All we’ve talked about all season is, even if you’re having a bad day, 1 through 9, there’s another kid who’s gonna pick you up.”