Currently unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the state, the 6A target is squarely on the Tualatin Timberwolves and they proudly wear it well.
“I like coming off the bus and having that threat to other teams,” said senior Taylor Alton, who plays third base. “I like it. I’ve been scared of those teams before, so I think we have an edge.”
Edgy and loosey goosey – that's the Tualatin way for a star-studded senior class.
“This is coming to an end and it's my last time playing, ever,” said senior center fielder Zoe Olivera.
The Timberwolves lay it all between the lines behind the leadership of class of '04 THS alum and head coach Jenna Wilson.
“She is like our cheerleader, and our coach and our friend,” said senior pitcher Megan Woodward. “It’s nice to have someone super positive. She is like our Energizer Bunny.”
After playing at Portland State, Wilson is in her eighth season coaching at her alma mater alongside her father Billy. Plus, the all-time winningest coach in state history, Mike Jodoin, joined the staff last season and they let the kids do all of the talking.
“The team chemistry is the biggest thing for us,” said Alton. “That is how we were successful freshman year and sophomore year, not as much and it shows.”
That bond is on display with their pregame group session when each player expresses what she'll bring to the game – “links” was brought over from Wilson's PSU days. Now, they're out to connect and collect the state trophy unscathed.
“I've played softball since I was 9 years old and you've always wanted that state title,” Alton said. “It doesn't happen to everybody.”
It did happen to Alton, then as a freshman starter on the Tualatin club that first and last won it all in 2015 under Wilson.
“When playoffs come, everyone peaks at the right moment so if you are a good team and peak around the playoffs, there is no telling what's going to happen,” said Woodward.
If you have a good pitcher you have a good chance to make the show, and the Timberwolves do in Woodward.
“The rankings don't always tell the truth,” she said. “We may show No. 1 now but there may be another team around that is really good, working hard like we have, so you never know.”
Junior slugger Emily Johansen has already committed to PSU and already set the single-season school record for homers.
“When I know I've hit one, it doesn't feel like I've hit it. That's how smooth it is,” Johansen said.
The road back to the top has been anything but smooth for the Timberwolves. They followed up their 2015 title with a first-round ouster and then a semifinal defeat last spring.
The softball playoffs begin next week, leading up to championship on Saturday, June 2 in Corvallis.
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