LACEY, Wash. – The University High School softball team left Lacey with some hardware. It just wasn’t the trophy the Titans were eyeing.
University claimed fourth place at the State 3A softball tournament, losing to Meadowdale 7-2 in its seasonal finale at the Regional Athletic Complex on Saturday.
It marked just the second time in school history the program has placed at state and the first since the Titans won the 4A crown in 2003.
University claimed its lone state title by defeating Prairie, 3-0, in the finals 10 years ago.
The Falcons found a way to even the score a decade later.
The Titans opened the day with a heartbreaking 10-9 loss to Prairie in the semifinals.
The defeat came unexpectedly as thoughts of a University state title-game appearance were very much alive after the Titans pushed five runs across in the first and had a second-inning lead of 6-0 and a fourth-inning advantage of 8-2.
Back battled the Falcons, scoring three runs in the fifth and four in the sixth before adding the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh to send the Titans to the loser’s bracket.
“That was an emotional roller coaster,” University coach Jon Schuh said about the loss to Prairie. “We certainly didn’t play well. We gave them some freebies. We didn’t run the bases well. Anything that could go wrong did.”
Brooklynn Tacke went 3 for 3 with a home run, while Taylor Morales had three RBIs in the loss.
Not dwelling on the defeat, University quickly brushed itself off and hammered Bainbridge, 8-0, in a loser-out contest to advance to the trophy round.
“That showed a lot,” Schuh said. “To get that close to the state title game and lose is heartbreaking. I think this team showed a lot rebounding like that.”
Brittany Hecker was dominant, both on the mound and at the plate where she went 4 for 4 with a pair of homers, a double and five RBIs against the Spartans.
“Our goal after the loss (to Prairie) was to leave here with a trophy,” Hecker said. “Only one other team in school history has done that. We wanted to be the second.”
University’s loss to Meadowdale in the game for third- and fourth-place gave the Titans a record of 21-7 on the season.