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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Makinlee Sellevold is GNAC freshman of the year

Fastball. Changeup. Curveball. Screwball. Riseball. Dropball.

Seven pitches, 23 teammates and multiple awa

// Photo by Kesia Lee
// Photo by Kesia Lee

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Freshman softball pitcher Makinlee Sellevold was named “Freshman of the Year,” by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Softball All-Star Team.

Leading the team in number of innings pitched, number of games started, strikeouts, appearances and saves, Sellevold proved to the team she was there to get the job done and always put the Vikings in position to win games.

However, it hasn’t been all fun and games for the freshman pitcher. During her senior year of high school, Sellevold underwent surgery to repair a chipped bone in her ankle.

“I sprained my ankle sophomore year of high school and I played through it thinking it was just always going to hurt the rest of my life,” Sellevold said. “I played basketball, volleyball and softball on it for three years until senior year I finally went to the doctor.”

Finding out that there was a chip in her anklebone wasn’t what Sellevold wanted to hear.

“All the cartilage around my ankle joint had been ruined, so they needed to go in and drill holes in my bone so new cartilage could grow in order for me to not be in pain anymore,” Sellevold said.

With nine months of resting and healing, Sellevold never considered not playing softball for Western and neither did the coaches.

“I was so nervous telling [coach Amy Suiter] I wasn’t going to be able to run for nine months, I was thinking she’s not going to want me anymore,” Sellevold said. “It ended up being OK, she was really understanding and she just said to get better.”

Bouncing back from surgery, Sellevold showed no sign of catching up or slowing down once she was out on the field.

Pitching 219.2 innings throughout the season, more than any other pitcher on the team, her teammates said they feel a sense of relief when she is out on the field.

Fellow freshman Sarah Morrow met Sellevold on the field at Western this year and the stud pitcher has made a strong impact on her.

“I have confidence that she will get the job done, she’s a really good pitcher and works really hard and is pretty selfless as a player,” Morrow said. “I’m scared to hit off her in practice.”

Sellevold’s seven pitch selection has been doing her well as she was not only the Player of the Year, but also was named Pitcher of the Week multiple times throughout the season.

“She has all those pitches and so you never know what’s coming, you get up there and she’s just scary,” Morrow said. “Everything combined into one is scary and the drop curve is kind of crazy to me.

“It’s Makinlee Sellevold as a pitcher.”

When Sellevold found out about the “Freshman of the Year” award, she didn’t make much of it.

“I don’t like the awards and stuff, I just kind of like to play,” Sellevold said. “It still hasn’t sunk in, I’m just playing my game.”

Striking out 100 batters, her 25-9 record points to the hard work of getting back into shape after surgery. Sellevold has a 2.33 ERA and was Western’s go-to pitcher in 2015.

Coming from a not so athletic family, Sellevold first started out playing softball by watching her older sister when the two were little.

“I just fell in love with [softball] and I knew if I were to play any sport in college it was going to be softball,” Sellevold said. “And now I’m here.”

Softball does not stop for Sellevold when the season ends at Western. Although the free time is nice, the plan for her is to go back to her hometown of Everett and pitch with her dad.

“I hope to improve over summer, I’ll be pitching, hitting and lifting at home with my dad,” Sellevold said. “I’ve had pitching coaches growing up, but ever since high school he has helped me and I just go back to him.”

Sellevold did not just have a team to support her but also a family who traveled, cheered and provided the support she needed.

“My family made it to every game besides four,” Sellevold said. “They flew to Hawaii and they were very supportive of me, they also surprised me in California and I started crying.”

The Vikings ended the season with a record of 30-18 overall and 17-8 in conference play.

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