SELAH, Wash. – There won’t be any State 2A softball championships for the Great Northern League’s two entrants, but each had a moment to shine on the state’s biggest stage on Friday.
Colville won its opener 7-2 over Anacortes, then fell 5-1 in the quarterfinals to unbeaten W.F. West and was eliminated from the tourney by hot-hitting Port Angeles 8-5.
Deer Park also won its first-round game, riding Kylie Sweeney’s 12-strikeout, two-hit shutout performance to a 4-0 victory over Orting, before being shut out 3-0 by Lake Washington and committing an uncharacteristic four errors in a 5-1 loss to Anacortes.
Colville’s Indians (21-4) got a gutsy performance from senior pitcher McKenna Cabbage, who was clearly struggling by the end of their first-round victory over the Seahawks from the powerful Northwest Conference but had to stick it out. Colville’s No. 2 pitcher, Gracie Schauls, had sprained a finger during an impromptu practice stop in Moses Lake on the way to the tournament.
“We hadn’t planned on pitching anybody else unless we got in trouble or lost,” Colville co-coach Jim Ebel said. “The umpire had a very tight strike zone, and he wasn’t giving McKenna the corners and she just couldn’t seem to get her change-up over.”
Emily Poling’s two-run, bases-loaded single in the third got the Indians’ offense going, and the fact that Anacortes had intentionally walked the previous batter to get to her gave Ebel an extra taste of satisfaction.
“I’m really happy for her,” Ebel said. “They walk the bases full to get to her and the senior comes through. That was a big hit.”
The Indians made a pretty serious comeback against Port Angeles, down 8-1 going into the final two innings before they got two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh, and brought the tying run to the plate with two runners on for McKenna Iverson. Iverson hit the ball hard – but right at the first baseman, who made the grab and stepped on the base for an easy double play.
Big hits were hard to come by for Deer Park (16-10), but Sweeney was a workhorse on the mound, throwing nearly 300 pitches over the three games and driving in three runs between the first and last games of the Stags’ tournament stay.
For Deer Park, which began the season with an almost entirely different lineup than last year’s senior-heavy team, getting a win at state with a young squad bodes well for the future.
“We had a great season,” coach Desiree Sweeney said with a smile. “And we only lose two seniors.”