It's no coincidence Lauren Maley's success in the circle parralled Ferndale's first-ever run to the Class 3A state softball tournament.
The junior pitcher finished the season 20-4, owning a 1.45 ERA while throwing seven shutouts and leading the Golden Eagles to a 1-2 record at state. She was also a force at the plate, hitting .368 with three home runs and 38 RBI.
It comes as no surprise, then, that Maley was voted the All-Northwest Conference Most Valuable Player, guiding Ferndale to a 22-4 record and an NWC title.
Ferndale's Holly Hilton was named the All-NWC Coach of the Year to go along with Maley's MVP.
The junior starter was a true work horse for Hilton and the Golden Eagles, pitching 135.1 innings, striking out 174, walking 35 and allowing just 26 runs all season.
Joining her on the first team were teammates Abigail Bauthues and Scarlett Nyenhuis. Both were strong bats in the middle of Hilton's lineup to go along with Maley and fellow junior Kadence Kane.
Representing Lynden in the first-team selections were starting pitcher Tanna Benson and infielder Trisha Snydar.
Both Benson and Snydar were key pieces for the Lions as they made a run to the Class 2A state tournament, eventually finishing third after defeating Anacortes 6-1. Lynden opened the tournament with a pair of shutout wins over Ellensburg and Capital before falling to eventual-state champion Lake Washington in the semifinals.
Mount Baker's Emma Lallas and Aleks Toivola were first-team selections after the Mountaineers finished second in the 1A softball championships. They fell to Elma 6-1 in the title game, but it was Toivola who tossed shutouts in the first two rounds to help Baker get to the title game.
Rounding out the first-team picks from Whatcom County schools were Sehome's Gabby Gorosave and Morgan Henry. The Mariners finished on the outside of the 2A playoff picture, capping a 7-11 season record.
Second-team selections included Lynden Christian's Shelby Brown and Kasey Luna, Lynden's Mandy Warner and Hannah Rothwell, Blaine's Lexi McElwain and Lexi Greguski, Nooksack Valley's Chloe Gardner and Brianna Turner, Ferndale's Drew Westford and Mount Baker's Emily Yost.
Reach Alex Bigelow at email@example.com or call 360-715-2238. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for other Whatcom County sports updates.
All-NORTHWEST CONFERENCE SOFTBALL TEAM
Most Valuable Player
Lauren Maley, Ferndale
Coach of the Year
Holly Hilton, Ferndale
Riley VanderVeen, Burlington-Edison
Amber Writer, Anacortes
Tanna Benson, Lynden
Kalia Chu-Greenough, Sedro-Woolley
Brooke Writer, Anacortes
Aleks Toivola, Mount Baker
Emma Lallas, Mount Baker
Morgan Henry, Sehome
Gabby Gorosave, Sehome
Kylee Lambert, Burlington-Edison
Scarlett Nyenhuis, Ferndale
Ashley Queen, Sedro-Woolley
Trisha Snydar, Lynden
Abigail Bauthues, Ferndale
Shelby Brown, Lynden Christian
Lexi McElwain, Blaine
Kasey Luna, Lynden Christian
Drew Westford, Ferndale
Cassidy Mast, Sedro-Woolley
Hannah Rothwell, Lynden
Chloe Gardner, Nooksack Valley
Suzie Lubanski, Sedro-Woolley
Lexi Greguski, Blaine
Jacki Smith, Burlington-Edison
Emily Yost, Mount Baker
Mandy Warner, Lynden
Brianna Turner, Nooksack Valley
Kylie Hayton, Burlington-Edison