Gracie Barnett

Gracie Barnett looked to throw across the field after fielding a ball during practice.

Ilwaco’s Gracie Barnett was named Second Team All-Pacific League softball, while Jaymie Patana, pitcher Arianna Bell, Lindsy Agee and shortstop Kaytlenn Wheldon were all named honorable mention.

Barnett led the team with a .474 batting average and added further value as a pitcher, hurling 22 innings and striking out 25 hitters. In the field, she played shortstop and first base.

Patana started the year at catcher, but a shoulder injury forced to change positions. The injury didn’t slow her bat, as she hit .469 while leading the team in extra-base hits and RBIs. Patana was relegated to being designated hitter for some games but also played first base, the outfield, and occasionally shortstop.

Bell hit .333 in her senior year. Throughout her career, Bell has eaten up innings on the mound, often pitching in both games of a double-header. Ilwaco developed deeper pitching this year, allowing Bell to show off her glove at shortstop. But the team still found itself relying on her arm, especially against some of the tougher opponents.

Coach Barbara Patana said she thought Bell could have been voted higher than Honorable Mention had she not missed three games for school activities. “I think had she made those games, league voting could have gone a different direction. Two of those were against Chief Leschi, which is not a strong team, and that’s a chance to accumulate stats.”

Bell pitched 21 innings.

“Going into the year, it wasn’t my intention to have her be the starting pitcher,” coach Barbara Patana said. “But we needed her and she threw strikes when we needed her to.”

Wheldon, the regular third baseman, hit an inside-the-park home run against South Bend, highlighting a strong first season of softball.

Agee, a freshman, took over at catcher for Patana early in the year.

“She did a great job,” Barbara Patana said. “She’s young, and we didn’t anticipate putting her at that position right away, but she worked very hard.”

Ilwaco finished the year 5-7 in Pacific League play.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or aaroncmead@gmail.com.

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