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Lakeside falls short against defending champs

RICHLAND – The way the game started, Lakeside softball coach Chuck Moffatt thought his team was destined to play in today’s semifinals.

The Eagles jumped out to a 1-0 lead over three-time defending state champion Connell, and things were looking up. But that early momentum quickly went away as Connell scored in four consecutive innings to pull away for an 8-2 win on Friday at the State 1A tournament at Columbia Playfield.

 “We just couldn’t keep it going,” Moffatt said. “Defensively we made a couple of mistakes and they capitalized.”

Lakeside could not bounce back in a loser-out game after the loss to Connell, falling 3-1 to Nooksack Valley, ending the Eagles’ season.

Lakeside’s quick start to the quarterfinal game against Connell appeared to be a carryover from its opening-round win over Woodland. Trailing 5-4 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Madi Naccarato crushed the first pitch she saw over the left-field wall for a walk-off grand slam and the 8-5 victory.

“I was expecting her to hit a line drive off the wall and us winning 6-5, but I didn’t think she would hit it that far,” Moffatt said.

After taking a 1-0 lead against Connell, the defending champs scored six unanswered runs to lead 6-1 after the fifth inning.

The Eagles tried to mount a comeback, but that was extinguished when Connell centerfielder Hope Sawyer made a diving catch in center field with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning. Connell then doubled up a runner at third base to end the inning after allowing just one run.

Medical Lake could not rebound from an opening-round loss, and fell to Zillah 6-5 in a loser-out game.

The Cardinals opened the tournament with a 10-8 loss to Seattle Christian, allowing a two-run game-winning single with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.