Mount Baker softball coach Ron Lepper has at his disposal a powerful and potent lineup.
Senior Emma Lallas, juniors Aleks Toivola and Emily Yost, as well as sophomore Emily Brandland make up an order that terrorized Northwest Conference pitching this season to the tune of 8.5 runs per game. And yet for all their exploits, it's the small, quick Lacey Postlewait at the top of the order that makes so much happen for the Mountaineers' offense.
"When she gets on base, we've scored her every time," Lepper said in a phone interview. "I think she's kind of embraced that (role) and been able to put a lot of pressure on the defense with her speed down the line."
The facts are unquestioned - every time this season that Postlewait has led the game off with a hit, she's scored, both Postlewait and Lepper said.
Early leads built up by Postlewait and her band of power hitters helped Mount Baker to a 17-7 overall record and a district title, but unfortunately it wasn't enough for Mount Baker in a tough loss to Seattle Academy in the tri-district championship game. But all that aside, Postlewait and the Mountaineers earned their berth into the state tournament, and will play Cashmere in the first round at 10 a.m. Friday, May 30, at the Columbia Playfields in Richland, Washington.
Being a left-handed hitter has proven useful for Postlewait batting out of the leadoff spot. But it isn't as though she's a one-trick hitter, slapping the ball on the ground and beating out throws few would. Lepper has seen her mature as a hitter, although her legs, are still her greatest asset, both said.
"Being fast, even if my hit was bad, I can make the kid rush the throw," Postlewait said in a phone interview. "Sometimes I can chase down hits, too."
Against Seattle Academy in the tri-district title game, she had little trouble finding gaps and putting her speed to good use. A slap-liner past the third baseman in the first inning would have been a single for most, but Postlewait captured second without even a moment's hesitation.
Just like that, she was in scoring position.
In her second plate appearance, a sharp liner off her bat reached the wall, affording her yet another opportunity to show her speed, only this time it wasn't a double - it was an inside-the-park home run.
"I get up there and I just tell myself I'm going to look for my pitch and drive it. I don't go up there and look for a walk," she said. "Once I see something I like, I chase it. (Lepper) tells me he would like if I laid off those a little. ... It sucks when you get up there and start the game off bad."
It's in her nature to be aggressive, something Lepper said he's been working with her to be more selective and patient. But on the other hand, he said, he doesn't want to rid her of the spark she plays with.
"When she gets on base, good things happen for us," Lepper said. "We're pretty fortunate."
Reach Alex Bigelow at email@example.com or call 360-715-2238. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for other Whatcom County sports updates.