If anything is going to distract Olympia High School softball standout Maddy Stensby, it’s hearing lyrics to any song by One Direction.
In that sense, her teammates were doing Bethel a favor with the 4A West Central District title on the line Saturday afternoon at the Kent Service Club Ballfields when they sang to her whenever Stensby approached the plate.
But even that didn’t really faze her.
Stensby pitched all seven innings and helped bring home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift Olympia past Bethel, 4-2, for the top seed to the 4A state tournament. Taylin Friend broke the 2-2 tie with a two-run double.
Bethel’s Corrin Larter smacked a two-run home run over the center-field fence in the top of the fifth that gave the Braves a 2-1 lead. I was Larter’s second home run in as many days after entering the district tournament with none.
Stensby cracked a few smiles toward a boisterous Olympia dugout as teammates sang the lyrics to One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” But was otherwise unaffected on a day she certainly played beautifully, hitting her 14th home run (the previous single-season school record was six) and pitching 13 innings in a pair of Bears’ wins.
“I just think it’s funny that they love me that much that they’ll sing for me,” said Stensby, who answered “38” when asked where she rates the band on a scale of 1 to 10.
Olympia (25-1) bounced back from its first loss of the season to Gig Harbor in the Narrows League tournament. It beat Curtis, Puyallup, Yelm and Bethel in the tournament.
The Braves earned the districts No. 2 seed to state.Rylee Thomas pitched all seven innings for Bethel (17-8)
“She was so stellar and focused,” Braves coach Rachael Barger said of Thomas. “She’s done a good job all season. That’s what happens when you play a game like this – you can’t make more mistakes than the other team.”