LACEY, Wash. – During both of its State 3A fastpitch tournament games Saturday, the University Titans were on the brink of doing something only one other fastpitch team in school history had done – earn a state trophy.
In 12 previous trips to the state tournaments, the 2003 University team that won the 4A state title is the only time the school has won a state trophy in fastpitch. This year’s squad came up one win short of achieving their goal of bringing home a trophy after losses to Everett, 8-5, in Saturday morning’s semifinal, followed by a 8-3 loss to Wilson, a team the Titans defeated in their first-round matchup Friday.
Everett went on to face undefeated Kamiakin in the 3A state title game, falling 6-1. Wilson eventually earned the third-place trophy after its 10-1 win over defending state champion Juanita.
For the second straight year, the Titans (22-5) played four games at state, but failed to earn a trophy.
“If they take away something,” U-Hi coach Jon Schuh said, “then next year, hopefully, we’ll figure this thing out.”
Following its 8-5 loss to Everett, the Titans again faced a Wilson team they defeated, 5-2, on Friday morning. Facing a different pitcher – Alex Flynn – for 51/3 innings, University grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second as Kendra Bruno scored from third base on a wild pitch. Wilson outhit University 12-9 and did the majority of its damage in the fourth and fifth innings.
In the fifth, Wilson sent eight batters to the plate and strung together four consecutive hits. Janessa Flynn’s one-out, two-RBI single gave the Rams a 5-1 advantage.
Wilson entered Saturday’s rematch fresh off a 15-2 five-inning consolation win over Camas.
“Once they (Wilson) scored a couple runs, they were back on their rollercoaster,” Schuh said.
In the bottom half of the fifth inning, U-Hi senior first baseman Hailey Wasselman, who was a combined 4 for 7 in two games Saturday, had an RBI double that scored Alyssa Hall to cut the deficit to 6-3.
U-Hi finished 22-5 and earned its third consecutive state berth.
“They’re just wonderful,” said Schuh of his seniors. “That’s the hardest part. At the end of the year, it’s saying goodbye to the seniors.”