Claire Farwell loves softball, and she doesn’t care who knows it.
Although a three-sport athlete who also competes in volleyball and basketball, softball is her favorite. The 15-year-old Enterprise High School sophomore plays for the Wallowa Valley Cubs combined high school team as well as summer softball in La Grande.
“I like everything about it,” she said. “I like the team aspect where I can contribute –– and win,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve put more time into it than either basketball or volleyball.”
Farwell played summer softball with La Grande’s Union County Lightning team, getting plenty of practical experience under her belt. She’s been playing summer ball in Union County for several years and is also the only returning high school softball player who played summer ball.
“We didn’t have a Juniors team here when I was in junior high, and I really wanted to play softball,” she said. “Jeff Edison (Cubs assistant coach) got me a tryout with the 14-year-olds (La Grande team) when I was 12. I knew I wasn’t going to make the team, but the coach from the U-12 team called me that spring and said, “Hey, do you want to play?” I was like –– yeah.”
She noted the difference between high school and summer ball.
“I think summer ball is more competitive,” she said. “You see teams that aren’t that good, but you also see teams than can beat our high school team or stand with them pretty easily.”
The Union team, which recently ended its season, traveled extensively. Its last tournament was in Selah, Wash., near Yakima, and they played as far south as Boise and Fruitland, Idaho.
The Lightning team did well, placing second in several high-profile tournaments.
She doesn’t have a preference for either of the two teams for which she plays.
“I like my teammates on both teams,” she said. “They’re different age groups, and the coaches on my teams are both really good.”
Farwell credits her parents, Lisa and Troy Farwell, for supporting her success, including driving her to practice.
“My parents are very committed to me,” she said. “Since I’m only 15, I only have my driver’s permit, so I usually drive home from practice, because I don’t want to be stressed about getting there late.”
She practices with the team in La Grande once or twice a week depending on tournament schedules.
On top of that, she also works at Wallowa Lake cleaning vacation cabins.
“I stay pretty busy,” she said with a laugh.
Farwell plays multiple positions but generally is at second base or shortstop, and she even pitches on the Cubs JV team, although she’s particularly fond of the catcher’s position.
“I really enjoy catching; I can be in on every play,” she said. “I don’t like pitching that much because it’s pretty stressful.”
She added she was most comfortable at second base because she spends the majority of her time at the slot.
The summer season ended, but Farwell is looking ahead and has already tried out to play for next year’s team.
“I’m thinking I made it because it’s the same coach, and he’s probably going to want the same team,” she said.
Farwell plans to play the sport through her high school years but isn’t yet sure about playing at the college level.
“I feel like college sports are just stressful from people I’ve talked to,” she said. “You don’t have a college life. I might look into it, though, because I really enjoy it.”
She hasn’t decided on a career yet, but is considering teaching or orthodontics.
“My mom’s a teacher, and I like kids, but I haven’t looked at colleges yet,” she said.
Farwell said that the next season with the Cubs may provide some opportunities for her to branch out.
“I think we lost seven seniors, and that was about half our team,” she said. “It’s leaving a lot of slots open.”