Lakeside’s and Colville’s head softball coaches crossed paths between fields at Merkel Sports Complex shortly after their teams absorbed agonizing losses in the State 1A tournament semifinals Saturday.
“Tough one, Coach?” said Colville’s Mandy Sumner, commiserating with Lakeside’s Chuck Moffatt.
Lakeside failed to protect a two-run lead and fell 8-7 to Onalaska. Minutes later on an adjacent field, Colville lost to Connell 7-6 in nine innings. The Northeast A rivals rebounded to win their next games to set up their sixth clash this season. Lakeside (25-3) took the final meeting 6-5, earning the third-place trophy and winning the season series 4-2. Colville (24-7) settled for fourth.
“Coming in we were one game ahead of them and it felt good to settle it that we could come out on top,” Eagles junior pitcher Vanessa Ahrendt said. “It was a good way to finish the season.”
Connell defeated Onalaska 9-4 to capture the championship.
Lakeside 6, Colville 5: Kayla Sevier’s two-run single helped Lakeside take a 4-0 lead in the third inning. The margin grew to 6-1 on Nikki Tiffany’s solo homer, but Colville rallied with four runs in the sixth, keyed by Heather Bishop’s bases-clearing triple. Bishop eventually scored on a throwing error.
Ahrendt retired the Indians in order in the seventh to seal the victory.
“Getting that first out in the seventh … that was (Amanda) Hamilton, the offensive player of the year in our league,” Moffatt said. “She hit that shot up the middle and my first thought was, ‘Oh no.’ Out of nowhere (Ahrendt’s) glove came down and she made the play.”
Connell 7, Colville 6: The Indians had a couple of defensive lapses in Connell’s four-run third inning, but battled back with three runs in the seventh. Junior Tasji Urhausen’s two-out, two-strike home run tied it at 5.
It went to the ninth, where teams start with a runner at second base under the international tiebreaker. Connell’s Kate Hawk drove in one run with a sacrifice fly and Ashley Thompson’s single gave the Eagles a 7-5 lead. Colville scored on a wild pitch, but nobody else reached base against Thompson.
“It’s a bummer when the errors are costly and result in runs,” Sumner said. “We did battle back and put on a great offensive display. I believe player for player we’re a stronger team than Connell, but you can’t give up outs and leave runners on base and expect the game to end the way you want when the other team is dominant, too.”
Connell would have done more damage in the fourth inning, but Colville center fielder Erin Torgerson threw a strike to nail Hawk at home as she tried to score on a flyout.
Onalaska 8, Lakeside 7: Lakeside came out hitting, scoring three in the top of the first, but Regan Givens’ three-run homer put the Loggers ahead 5-3. Lakeside went back in front with four runs in the fourth as Tiffany hit a solo homer, Emily Lesser laced a run-scoring single and Michaela Brittos drove in a pair with a base hit.
Onalaska won it in the bottom of the seventh on Givens’ RBI hit.
“We just kind of imploded throughout,” said Moffatt, whose team committed five errors. “We didn’t play our usual, solid defense and we gave them too many opportunities.”
Colville 9, Nooksack Valley 0: The Indians pounded out 18 hits and Jo Rogers tossed six shutout innings. Cassie Cote had four hits and Bishop and Rogers each had three.
Lakeside 5, Montesano 0: The Eagles, 8-1 winners over Montesano on Friday, handled the Bulldogs again behind Ahrendt’s five-hitter. Savannah Rolston, Kirsten Kyllo, Brittos and Ahrendt each had two hits.