SELAH — Sequim senior Isabelle Dennis has been the backbone of the Wolves’ return to the Class 2A State Softball Tournament this season, and a vital contributor to the squad for much of her high school school career.
The Wolves (15-6) will open the state tournament against the Selah Vikings (12-13) today at noon at Carlon Park in Selah.
“She’s a solid defender and a solid hitter for our offense,” Sequim coach Tim Lusk said. “She leads our team in batting average. She’s just a good reliable player at second base and a pitcher who can come in on a whim, throw strikes and get out of an inning. She started out the year and threw seven games for us before LeeAnn came on. She has thrown some good, strong games. She beat PA, she threw well against Olympic’s hitters and some of the real horses.”
Dennis, a repeat first-team All-Olympic League pick, said she’s willing to play anywhere to help the team.
“I’d like to say I’m a very supportive teammate,” Dennis said. “Someone you can throw anywhere. I dont care where I play, I just want to be out there.”
Lusk has enjoyed coaching Dennis since her sophomore season with the Wolves.
“She’s always been easy to work with. She listens, she wants whats best for the team. Two years ago at district she had to play at first base and she filled it just fine. She’s always been a solid, relaible player for us.”
After a year away, making it back to state was important to both player and coach.
“It was very important,” Dennis said. “We emphasized going into districts to play for each other and win for each other because making state is such a good experience.”
Lusk said reaching state each year has been his goal since he took over for former Sequim head coach Mike McFarlan (now an assistant for the Wolves).
“We talk about it every year, when I took over coaching the team my goal was to continue on the legacy that Mike had built,” Lusk said. “We got there the first year, missed out last season, so it was great to get there again for the girls.”
And Lusk thinks his team can do some damage at state.
“I think we got a great draw — Selah came on strong at the tail end,” Lusk said. “We just have to play our best. If they play the way they have the last half of the season we will be in good shape.”
Dennis described the Wolves as “well-rounded” and said the opposition at state shouldn’t underestimate “the team’s talent level.”
“Our defense doesn’t have any holes and when we come prepared to hit we can hit,” Dennis said. “Going into district our energy changed and we had a lot of momentum.”
Lusk said the team’s resiliency also has impressed him thus far.
“I will say one thing for the girls this year, they never quit,” Lusk said. “We’ve had it in the past where we’ve gotten down and stayed down. There’s always belief in their mind they can come back.”
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]