Just as the lyrics her cellphone ringback reveal, wildflower Alana Norman just needs a little sun, a little rain and an open field to play.
That and a ratty old doll named Chucky.
“I found this old, ugly doll in the back of my coaches’ truck, so of course I took it,” the senior Shadle Park softball standout said. “She is our good-luck doll. I dyed her hair green and I bring her to all our games. She lives with me, but I’ll pass her on to someone else after this season is over.”
That leaves Norman a little more time to care for her beloved good-luck charm.
Norman and fellow senior Kaycee Perisho – Shadle’s starting pitcher – lead the top-seeded Highlanders into the 3A regional softball tournament this weekend with a return trip to the state tournament on the line for Norman.
Norman was a freshman on the team in 2009 that George Lynn took all the way to state. Now first-year head coach Guy Perham – a longtime assistant to Lynn – is leading the Highlander (16-9) pack, who scored a big upset over University (18-2) in the district tournament to earn the top seed.
“I’m excited for our chances,” said Norman, who leads the Highlanders with a .545 batting average – including 18 RBIs, 23 runs and 15 stolen bases, which is 13 more than anyone else on the team. “I knew we could do it as a team, but I knew it was going to take a lot, so I’m proud we got the top seed, especially.”
Shadle plays the winner of West Valley-Yakima and Southridge on at 2 p.m. Saturday. The winner of that game automatically moves on to state as either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed.
“I know we can do it as a team,” Norman said. “I’m very proud of the girls, and for me, starting and ending my high school career by going to state would be really special.”
Special is exactly what Perham calls the explosive Norman – also a dominant Greater Spokane League gymnast during her time as a Highlander, including a third-place finish on the vault at the state meet last fall.
Norman’s true passion is softball, though, and she recently signed a letter of intent to play next year at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.
“She’s fast, crazy and powerful and she can make a huge impact on a team and, obviously, against a team,” Perham said.
She’s also versatile. In order to play every card in his deck this season, Perham had to bring Norman in from her comfort zone in the outfield to play shortstop. The move was seamless.
“I had to step up as a senior and play the infield,” Norman said of the move. “I feel like I’ve done well for never playing that position at all. I really enjoyed the action of infield, but I’m excited for college to play outfield again.
“I love the running and diving in the open field.”