Monday, April 1, 2019

Triton softball adds Lirpa Sloof to the fold

LYNNWOOD –- The Edmonds Community College softball team announced the signing of Finland National Team member Lirpa Sloof to a NWAC Letter of Intent on Monday. Sloof is a right-handed power pitcher and an accomplished switch-hitter. 

Sloof played in a 30-game tour against national competition in the summer of 2018. Against some of the world’s best teams she went 24-1 with a 0.32 ERA and 312 strikeouts in 199 innings pitched. The only blemish on her record was a 3-2 loss to team Canada, though Sloof accounted for both Finland runs by hitting two solo homers. During the tour she hit .650 with 17 round trippers and 48 RBI.

Lirpa Sloof delivers a pitch vs. Norway in 2018
“I am amazed we got her,” said EdCC interim head coach Chuck Stark. “Lirpa is an amazing athlete that could play anywhere. Lucky for us she is too old to participate at a Division I school. The fact that EdCC has a great on-campus facility and a fantastic ISS department attracted her to the college.”

Sloof, who is from Juankoski, Finland, moved to Seattle after the Olympic Trials in 2018 and has sort of established residency. She heard about EdCC through some friends who are already attending the college and living in the residential hall located just yards – in her case, meters – from the softball field.

“Lirpa came and took batting practice and pitched to a few of our hitters,” noted Stark. “She was blasting out bombs to all fields and was blowing the ball by our girls in the circle. It was ridiculous.”

Before she started playing softball at the age of 17, Sloof was the goalie for the Scandinavian youth hockey club that won three consecutive junior cup titles. She is also a third-degree black belt in Brazilian-style Jujitsu and an accomplished cricket player.

Sloof is instantly recognizable, not only from her 6-1 stature and menacing glare, but by the word “SISU” tattooed on the knuckles of both hands. Sisu generally means determination, bravery and resilience in Finnish, though the word is widely considered to have a lack a proper translation into any other language. Essentially, Sisu is about taking action against the odds and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity. 

Stark admitted, “Yeah, she’s scary."

Unfortunately, the many years of international competition -- many probably paid -- might mean that Lirpa Sloof will only have one year of eligibility at Edmonds.

“It’s a bit nerve-wracking hoping that there won’t be any issues with NWAC compliance,” said Stark. “We hope this gets by (Executive Director) Marco Azurdia. We have coached Lirpa on what to say and records over there are pretty sketchy at best. Besides, they are in another language – I think.”

Coach Stark also added with a laugh: “By the time anyone figures anything out, I will go back to being retired. Heck, maybe we can get her here for two -- possibly three -- years!”