The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

New softball stadium is a grand slam

Hawks host Beavers for inaugural game – under the lights in front of a standing-room-only crowd
By Hawkeye Staff
Senior Delia Glover blasts the first base hit by a Hawk in the new softball stadium.
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©HAWKEYE image credit: Hawkeye Staff
OPENING NIGHT! The Hawks hosted the Ballard Beavers in the first game ever played at the new stadium. While the Hawks fell 9-0, it was standing-room-only as the temporary stands were filled and there were dozens of folks sitting and standing along the 3rd base line to watch the inaugural game under the new LED lights – a first for softball at Terrace.

This was more than a home opener for the Hawks, and yes losing 9-0 to Seattle’s Ballard H.S. would have normally put a damper on the early season.

But none of that seemed to matter much Friday night, March 15 as a standing-room only crowd filled the stands and nearly every available standing or sitting spot outside of the Hawks’ new, glorious home stadium – the place the team would like to become known as “The Nest.”

Yes, Ballard (2-1) has a solid team and a starting pitcher in Colette Howren who tossed a four-hit shutout while striking out nine that kept the Hawks at bay until senior Delia Glover blasted a line drive to right field in the 3rd inning. Historians will note that was the first official Terrace base hit in the new park. And while the Hawks (0-1) threatened to score multiple times throughout the 7-inning contest, they just couldn’t overcome the one crooked inning the Beavers posted where they plated 7 runs on a series of Ballard hits and unlucky breaks for the Hawks.

If tone means anything, then the Hawks are going to be just fine in their Nest on the northeast corner of campus. Nothing but smiles, hugs and high-fives could be seen following Coach Shannon Rasmussen’s post-game chat with the team just outside their new 3rd base dugout. The sense was that these athletes and their fans simply couldn’t wait to get back out on their new yard and play another game. Fans and players will have the opportunity to do that 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21 as the Hawks host Kamiak after an away game on Monday at Glacier Peak. The entire schedule can be found here.

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And take note: All of the Hawks home varsity games begin with the first pitch at 6:30 p.m. since the lighting is so good at the new stadium. That ought to make life a bit easier for parents and family members who used to have to scramble to catch games at 4 p.m. – and it’ll likely make scheduling umpires a bit easier, too. And while the Hawks have yet to play a game in inclement weather, word is that the new field drains well, which means far fewer rainouts as they have endured since the previous field was completed in 1991 and was often not much more than a muddy mess when it rained.

Another major upgrade is the fantastic scoreboard in left field. Not only is it bright and highly visible from just about everywhere in the park, it has several features that neither the old scoreboard nor the current baseball scoreboard offer, such as score by innings, hits, runs, etc. Watch for that addition at future games along with much better sight lines for HBN’s live streaming setup and in-stadium announcing with the new sound system that was piloted last year for baseball and softball. Alumnus Ben Eyman provided the commentary for fans at the opening game and was a strong addition. In the near future there will be a perch behind home plate for the scorer and media as the stands get completed.

One final major improvement that players definitely notice, but perhaps fans may not is that home plate is now in the southwest corner of the field instead of the southeast. It’s a cardinal rule in baseball and softball that home plate and the pitching rubber (or mound) should draw a line that is, essentially, from the southwest to the northeast (at least in the northern hemisphere) and nearly every NCAA and MLB outdoor field follows this rule, but Terrace’s former field was a rare, unfortunate exception. Why? Well, the vast majority of defensive plays in softball and baseball involve throws to first base. But during springtime, the sun sets nearly directly west, and if the home plate is in the southeast corner of the diamond, that means the first baseman must look directly west to receive any throw from the infield. Additionally, batters and catchers would also have to battle the glare as they, too, often face west during play. And, yes, it’s true now that playing right field can be an adventure with the sun, rightfielders know this and understand that it’s part of the game.

In a fitting prelude to the game, Rasmussen had long ago invited former Terrace athletic director and long-time softball coach Kim Stewart to join the festivities to throw out the first pitch. “Stew” stepped to the field with long-time Terrace assistant Herb Hudson as his battery mate behind the plate. But, there was more going on with that ceremonial pitch that what many fans knew – Hudson is a 1968 graduate of MTHS and has been part of the Hawks program for decades and even coached at the feeder middle school for years. So, behind the plate – a true Hawk. But what most didn’t know was that Stewart was a fitting honoree for more than just his connection to Terrace. After all, he’s a 1974 graduate of Ballard High School where he was (at that time) the Metro League’s career scoring leader on the basketball court and was the only player west of the Great Lakes selected for the first McDonald’s All-American Game, known then as the Capitol Classic, where his teammates included the likes of Moses Malone and Butch Lee. Stewart’s time as the softball coach at Terrace saw many of players go on and play at the collegiate level, and the Hawks nearly won the 4A state title in 2009 losing in the title game to Kelso.

 

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