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Softball Aims for State Trip

Jaxon Owens, Editor-in-Chief

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The PHS softball team has been successful over the last couple seasons, having won three consecutive league titles, including a state championship in the 2014 season.

Softball head coach Tony Batinovich believes that this team has a good of chance as any other team to claim the State title.

¨I think we will be very competitive and should challenge for a district playoff spot.  They are very skilled and are very good players, if we play well and earn our luck we have as good a chance as anyone else in the state, ¨ Batinovich said.

Senior Kennedy Robillard, who is a pitcher on this year’s team, explains how playing softball has kept her more connected to PHS.

¨I feel so much more connected to my school because I am out there on that field representing the Puyallup High School name and I get to share the field with my teammates, who are some of my best friends. I am able to create those relationships with them and when I see them around school, I know they are always people I can count on,” Robillard said.   

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA), controls all the rules and regulations for the state of Washington’s sports and activities; Batinovich is not in love with all of them.

“I coach for PHS, not the WIAA. The WIAA are the regulating body of athletics and activities in the state of Washington. I am not a big fan of the academic rules. I find them, along with our district’s rules to be unfair to those who play sports because they are held to a higher standard than other students and those that represent us outside of school,” Batinovich said.

Why Robillard loves playing softball goes beyond herself.

Senior Natalie Joyner´s favorite memory from being on the softball team goes back to her freshman year.  

“Probably my favorite memory over my time on the softball team, was when we won state my freshman year. I think that year, it really showed our hard work and everything we put into each season,” Joyner said.

This year, the South Puget Sound League website changed the name of the sport from softball to softball-fastpitch, Batinovich responds to the name change.

“The name of the sport is softball. That is what it is called at the college level, professional league and internationally. I am not sure why the name fastpitch is used any more. At the start of high school softball, the name was to distinguish it from the older sport of slow-pitch. The name of the sport is softball,” Batinovich said.

For Joyner, softball runs in the family.

“I first started playing softball when I was around five years old. My family has always been around softball and baseball. My mom, my sister, my brother, my dad all played softball or baseball, so my entire family pretty much played,” Joyner said.  

After winning one state championship, for Robillard, she is setting her goals for another.

“I think getting back that state championship has always been a goal, since that freshman season set such a high expectation… I am always trying to recreate that.  We had a pitcher that year, Marissa Miller, who was our best pitcher then and I feel that I am that pitcher now and I just want to duplicate what she did and be that person on our team that carries us through,” Robillard said.  

Robillard plans to stay local to continue her softball career.

“I plan to continue playing softball and I plan to do that at Pacific Lutheran University(PLU),” Robillard said.

While Joyner plans to head outside the state of Washington.

“Next year I plan to go to the University of Northern Colorado to play softball,” Joyner said.

Batinovich is also the head volleyball coach and he explains why he got into coaching in the first place.

“Volleyball was because of a friend named Rick Todd (who coached here at PHS in the early 1980s) and softball because I was a baseball player at one time but continued to play both slow-pitch and modified men’s softball after college,” Batinovich said.

Joyner believes that the experience gained from previous years will serve them well.

“I believe that winning the state tournament my freshman year will give us experience of being in and playing in the State tournament. We will know how it feels and if we go this year it will be my third time going to state and that will give us an edge in just how experienced as a team we are,” Joyner said.

Joyner explains why the team’s previous experiences will give them an edge going forward.

“I believe that winning the state tournament my freshman year will give us experience of being in and playing in the State tournament. We will know how it feels and if we go this year it will be my third time going to state and that will give us an edge in just how experienced as a team we are,” Joyner said.

“I love playing softball for the competition aspect, it is always what I have done. I also love the fact that it is a team sport and that is part of what I really appreciate, I know when we are out on the field, I know that my teammates always have my back and I have theirs,” Robillard said.

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Softball Aims for State Trip