After throwing a no-hitter in an 11-0, five-inning victory over Timberline to open the Idaho 5A state softball tournament at Pocatello, Lake City pitcher Casey Stangel and her teammates had a semifinal match with a berth in the state title game on the line.
The Timberwolves will get the chance to defend their state title today after they took down Mountain View 9-2.
Lake City will take on rival Coeur d’Alene for the state championship after the Vikings beat Capital 3-0 and Meridian 7-4.
While Stangel was a first-inning throwing error away from a perfect game in the circle, at the plate she accounted for four of the Timberwolves’ 11 runs.
Stangel had an RBI double in a four-run first inning that saw back-to-back home runs by Katie Rowe and Hailey Jackson.
She added a three-run home run to deep center field in the second to give Lake City a 7-0 lead.
“I thought we came out swinging the bats very, very well,” Lake City head coach Laura Tolzmann said. “I thought every kid in the lineup came out attacking the ball and I thought we were well-disciplined in the batters box.”
With a big lead, Stangel relaxed. Timberline put just nine balls into play, with two being fly outs.
The offensive barrage continued in the fifth as the Timberwolves closed the game out with four more runs, the last of which came on a two-RBI double by Jackson. Stangel finished the game with seven strikeouts.
Many of the fans at Capell Park were hoping to see a matchup between Lake City and Mountain View. Those fans got their wish in the second semifinal.
Unfortunately for the fans from Mountain View, Lake City jumped out early and never looked back even as Stangel was having issues with the mound.
“I know it just seems that everybody thinks that we just have good pitching,” Tolzmann said. “I think we have shown that we are really good hitters and play good defense, too. So it is not just pitching.”
As the game progressed, the hole in front of the pitching rubber got deeper and deeper. Both pitchers had to adjust their deliveries which is what the Lake City coaches think attributed to Stangel giving up the two runs.
The Timberwolves scored three runs in the top of the first with RBI singles from Rowe and Jackson.
After adding a run in the second, Lake City added four more in the fifth with the big blow being a three-run home run from Rowe.
Mountain View scored its two runs in the bottom of the fifth.
“I know Mountain View is a good team and we were excited to play them since we were both No. 1 seeds,” Tolzmann said. “But we just came out and played our game and did what we do and came out swinging.”
Rowe finished the day 4 for 7 with a home run and six RBIs. Stangel added four hits and five RBIs.
CdA and Lake City, looking for its second consecutive title, meet at noon PDT.
Lakeland lost 18-6 to Kuna in its opener at the 4A state tournament in Twin Falls, but later defeated Rigby 10-7 to stay alive.
The Hawks play Twin Falls this morning in the consolation final.
Timberlake beat Buhl 10-3 in its opening game at the 3A state tournament at Ramsey Park in Coeur d’Alene, before falling 16-3 to Homedale in the semifinals.
The Tigers play Bear Lake for third today.
Priest River – which lost 11-0 to Fruitland and then beat Kimberly 14-7 – faces Buhl in the consolation final.