Communication is key, and Redmond High shortstop Camille Eaton feels her softball squad has a stronghold on that attribute this season.
When the Mustangs’ gloves are on, their defense is thriving, she said. Same can be said for the bats and the thinking caps that have bolstered the locals to an undefeated season as they invade the diamond on Saturday in the 4A KingCo tournament.
Redmond — 18-0 in KingCo and 20-0 overall — will play Newport at 10:45 a.m. at Inglemoor High. The championship game is slated for 1:30 p.m. that day. Eastlake will take on Woodinville at 9 a.m. in the first game.
“I think we have really good bonding between everyone. Everyone kind of clicks. Everyone gets along, and so I think that really helps us have the fire that we have,” said Eaton, a junior who’s batting .373.
Senior center fielder Haley Hanson, who carries a .554 batting average, said the Mustangs must remain headstrong and uncork their usual barrage of hits in order to continue their hot streak.
“Honestly, not let any outside influences get in our head. Coach Alison (Mitchell) always says that it’s about us and no one else. So if we just focus on us and do our job, then good things will happen,” Hanson said.
Leading the way offensively are senior pitcher Kiki Milloy with 12 homers — including two grand slams — 31 RBIs and a .433 average; junior catcher Jennifer Cummings with a .611 average, six homers, 31 RBIs and 10 doubles; senior left fielder Lauren Lund with a .357 average; senior first baseman Lindsay Tsujikawa with a .368 average and two homers; and junior right fielder Kaia Bradford with a .381 average.
On the defensive front, junior second baseman Audrey Walker — who has three homers — noted a triple play against Bonney Lake as being her top highlight this season. Energy was unleashed following the epic play as the Mustangs jumped into each other to celebrate. Hanson described what happened with runners on first and third: Following Bradford’s diving catch, she threw the ball to Tsujikawa, who fired it to Cummings to nail out the runner tagging from third. Cummings then spotted the runner on first moving toward second, and she hummed the ball to Eaton for the tag-out.
Walker moved over to second base this year and enjoys seeing different angles of the field and forming a connection with shortstop Eaton on various plays.
The junior feels she’s grown exponentially since her freshman season.
“The coaching staff has helped build each individual player up a lot, which has helped me also gain a lot of confidence throughout my years playing,” said Walker, adding that she doesn’t let the little things affect her; if someone makes an error, they move on immediately.
“I feel that applies to at-bats in softball but also in life. Obviously, you can’t just carry your struggles with you all the time,” Walker said.
Life and softball often intertwine for Lund, who usually has game scenarios in her mind and answers questions from her non-softball friends, who come by to check out the action on the diamond. She’s stoked to be back in 4A KingCo and renewing rivalries with Eastlake and Woodinville.
Lund also takes on a coaching role of sorts.
“I just like to make sure everyone’s just one big family and make sure everyone’s having fun, always keeping everybody smiling. There’s no point in being sad, it’s a great game and I like playing with all these people,” she said.
When Lund and her fellow players watch Milloy do her thing, they become inspired and amped to step up their games. From the pitchers’ circle, Milloy has notched a 15-0 record with 180 strikeouts. Freshman Grace Haegele is 5-0 with 40 strikeouts from the mound.
“She definitely has that fire that makes everybody get engaged and wanna be there for her because she’s so pumped up all the time,” Lund said of Milloy.