MOUNTLAKE TERRACE – For those who preach practice makes perfect, Maddy Kristjanson is your poster girl.
Kristjanson credits extra hard work for her incredible errorless streak on the softball field. The idea that she has never committed an error in a Mountlake Terrace uniform during her three-plus seasons is mind-boggling enough. The fact that she has played at shortstop or pitcher since her sophomore year makes the feat more impressive.
Kristjanson, a senior who has committed to Seattle University, has been a vacuum for the Hawks. She was flawless in center field as a freshman, when the team had senior Mindy James anchoring the infield, then moved to short the following season while also handling some pitching duties.
Since moving to the infield, Kristjanson has been error-free in 177 total chances.
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“I would say Maddy lives up to Terrace’s mascot’s name as she is like a hawk going after its prey,” Meadowdale coach Dennis Hopkins said. “Nothing gets by her. She had amazing vision and range to get to the ball. She sees everything on the field and makes the right throws. The only thing other teams can do is try not to hit the ball within her reach.”
And Kristjanson isn’t one who tries to play it safe.
“She makes routine plays look effortless and difficult plays look easy,” Mountlake Terrace coach Shannon Rasmussen said. “She’s always willing to get dirty and dive for balls that are just out of her reach and she often comes up with it.”
Kristjanson’s father, Stan, who has helped coach her at the club level since she was a kid, calls her a natural.
“She’s just smooth and relaxed,” he said.
And willing to take as many extra ground balls as she can get, during practice and after.
“I definitely take a lot of pride in my practice and all of the hard work I’ve put in,” Kristjanson said.
Many Saturdays at Mountlake Terrace, you’ll find Stan hitting grounders to Maddy, who then throws to older sister Amanda at first base. Over and over and over again.
And she seems to be even sharper in game situations.
“I feel like I play better under pressure most of the time,” Maddy said. “So, when that ball’s coming to me, I kind of get a jolt of adrenaline and that kind of helps me push through and keep playing hard and not want to make mistakes.
“Mistakes will happen, but most of the time I just try to not think about it and just let myself do my thing, I guess, and just stay calm and relaxed….At this point, it just comes natural to me.”
That applies when she’s at the plate, too. She batted better than .520 the past two seasons and currently sits at .500 through five games this spring with four home runs and 11 of her team’s 20 runs batted in.
“Offensively, Maddy is the person you want at bat when you need a big hit,” Rasmussen said.
Kristjanson also has played soccer and basketball for the Hawks throughout her prep career and will leave with 12 varsity letters. But she has concentrated on softball at the select level with the Lady Sharks the last few years.
Yes, she has made occasional miscues with her club team, where the overall competition is higher. But even there they are rare, according to Sharks coach Matt Wilcox. And when Kristjanson puts on that Mountlake Terrace uniform, she’s nothing short of perfect.
“I’ve seen her make an error or two on our select team,” Wilcox said, “but when it comes to high school, I don’t know what it is, she just does not miss balls. That’s legit.”
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