The Lake City Timberwolves softball team is one win from perfection.
Lake City opened the State 5A tournament in impressive fashion Friday, shutting out Rocky Mountain 1-0 and thumping Centennial 14-2 in a run-rule shortened game at Post Falls High School.
The Timberwolves (25-0) take on Timberline (25-2) Saturday afternoon at 1 to decide the state championship.
The Coeur d’Alene Vikings split, falling to Timberline 7-3 before bouncing back for a 1-0 win over Highland in a loser-out game.
CdA (16-8) meets Rocky Mountain (18-10) Saturday morning at 11 to decide the consolation title (fourth place). Mountain View (22-5) and Centennial (16-10) play for third.
Timberline topped Mountain View 4-1 to advance to the final. In the other loser-out game, Rocky Mountain handled Eagle 9-0.
Lake City 14, Centennial 2: After their usually potent bats started slow in the opener, the Timberwolves broke out the aluminum against the Patriots.
LC scored five runs in the first inning, chasing the Patriots’ starting pitcher. Sophomore pitching and hitting phenom Casey Stangel clouted a three-run homer and Avalon Leddy had a solo homer. Another run scored on a wild pitch.
Then the T-Wolves added five more runs in the third and the rout was on. Sophomore catcher Mariah Linahan had a two-run single and freshman Hailey Jackson had a run-scoring single. Two more runs scored on an error.
Stangel, who moved her record to 24-0 as the winning pitcher in both games, can’t wait for the title game.
“We’re ready for the challenge,” Stangel said. “We’ve been preparing for one day all season and that’s (today).”
Every T-Wolf got a hit, and that put a smile on coach Laura Tolzmann’s face.
“It was nice to see us relax,” Tolzmann said. “We got in the box and we were aggressive. We were a little tight in the first game. And it was our first game in 10 days.”
Tolzmann said her team’s approach today won’t be any different than the approach for the first 25 games.
“I know we have a goal,” she said. “We take each game like it’s the (state) championship. So I think we’re ready for the challenge.”
Lake City 1, Rocky Mountain 0: Behind every good pitcher is usually a good defense.
And LC’s makes things easier for Stangel, who didn’t need much help after limiting the Grizzlies to one hit.
“I just smile because they’re so good,” Stangel said of her defense.
Especially good in the opener was junior shortstop Katie Rowe, who made leaping and diving catches for outs.
“Katie is untouchable,” Stangel said.
Freshman Dakota Wilson provided the only offense LC needed when she belted an opposite-field homer in the fifth.
Coeur d’Alene 1, Highland 0: Junior leadoff hitter Kyeli Parker led the Viks with three hits.
“She’s usually our igniter,” CdA coach Larry Bieber said.
Parker, who got on base four times, scored in game’s lone run in the third after a leadoff single. Sophomore pitcher Lindsie Scholwinksi singled in Parker.
CdA had opportunities to score more.
“We left too many on base,” Bieber said. “We said at the first of the season that we wanted to be playing Saturday, May 21st. So we met that goal.”
Timberline 7, Coeur d’Alene 3: The Vikings never got anything going.
“We didn’t hit and we didn’t play defense,” Bieber said after the Viks’ state opener. “Other than that we played pretty well.”
Timberline pitcher Erin Keen had a part in CdA’s lack of offensive production. She pitched effectively, scattering five hits while striking out 10.