Off The Press
July 9, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
Softball, reporter come full circle in summer game
There are always certain places from our youth that remain entrenched in our memories, no matter what.
For me, one such place is Kirkland’s Everest Park, where in 2000, as a member of the North Issaquah Little League softball 9/10 all-star team, I enjoyed one of the best summers of my life.
Exactly 13 years after our team took second place in the District 9 tournament, I returned to the fields to cover the Issaquah/Sammamish softball all-star team July 5. As you can imagine, I was hit with an overbearing wave of nostalgia.
The memories began flowing as soon as I entered the parking lot accompanied by my dad, who was always one of my biggest cheerleaders when I played.
The first thing that jumped out was the line of cars, with windows decorated with the names of the all stars. A summer all-star season just would not be the same without that tradition.
With paint sticks in hand, I fondly remember scribbling my nickname, “Tia,” on my parents’ car window, while I’m sure they secretly wondered how they were going to get it off once the season ended.
As I got set to watch the game, I took a moment to peer across the Everest Park complex. It looked exactly the same.
I could just picture myself wearing that white cotton jersey and the purple shorts again. I could almost see my teammates out on that field, warming up for a game in those prized purple-and-gold jackets.
As much as I loved making the all-star team so I could spend my summer playing softball, the real prize was that jacket. That jacket meant that you were special, and I couldn’t wait to wear it when I got back to school.
It still hangs prominently in a closet at my parents’ home.
Watching the Issaquah/Sammamish hitters battle at the plate, I reminisced about my big hits in the tournament 13 years ago.
I remember hitting a triple in a game, standing on third with a smile bigger than you can imagine. I recall drawing a walk off of elite Eastlake Little League pitcher Stephanie Fox, a legend who would go on to star at Western Washington University.
Similar to my team more than a decade ago, Issaquah/Sammamish failed to make it to the state tournament. A solid Redmond team stood in their way, while an unforgettable Eastlake team stood in ours. Eastlake eventually went on to win state that summer, and eight years later, when they were all seniors in high school, they did it again.
There were a few tears at the end of the July 5 game, with everyone knowing the season was over, but as coach Amy Huryn told her players, “This isn’t the end. We’ll come back next year.”
Huryn, who coached me more than 10 years ago, could not be more right. Not only will the memories of this summer last a lifetime for these girls, but they are likely to continue well into high school, where they will shine alongside the very same teammates of this 2013 all-star season.
That’s how it happened for me. After starring for that North Issaquah team, just four years later, a few of those same girls joined me on the Skyline High School softball team.
And to think, it all started at Everest Park. Talk about coming full circle.