LACEY, Wash. – With a host of underclassmen, including five freshmen on its roster, Shadle Park’s fastpitch team, not surprisingly, frequently turns to its seniors for leadership.
“Coach is always telling us to lead by example,” said Berkley Fisher, one of four seniors on the squad.
Fisher did her part, smacking a home run in the Highlanders’ 5-4 opening-round victory over Mountain View in the State 3A softball tournament Friday at the Regional Athletic Complex.
Later, freshman Jaya Allen followed Fisher’s lead in the quarterfinals, driving in a key late run in a 5-1 victory over Bonney Lake to send Shadle Park into today’s semifinal matchup with two-time defending state champion Kamiakin.
Undefeated Enumclaw faces Glacier Peak in the other semifinal game.
Both semifinals start at 9 a.m. with the winners heading to the state championship at 3:30 p.m.
“We’ve kind of been a M.A.S.H. unit heading into this weekend,” Shadle Park coach Guy Perham said. “Jaya was out Tuesday with the flu. (Sophomore catcher) Leslie Jones has been sick.”
Both showed no signs of illness in helping the Highlanders advance.
Jones went 3 for 4 in Shadle Park’s win over the Thunder, sending the Highlanders into the quarterfinals against Bonney Lake where they raced out to a 2-0 lead after the second inning.
“I think that was big for us, getting out to an early lead,” Fisher said. “We had jitters that first game. A quick lead helped (in the quarterfinals), but we knew it wasn’t going to be enough. We knew we had to keep adding runs.”
Madi Lowery’s solo home run in the bottom of the fourth cut Bonney Lake’s deficit in half at 2-1.
The Highlanders responded in the fifth, getting an RBI double from Allen and an RBI from Amanda Mapes.
Brittney Gately picked up both victories for Shadle.
University, who defeated Meadowdale 4-0 in the first round, failed to make it two Greater Spokane League teams in the semifinals after falling to Enumclaw, 13-2, in five innings in the quarterfinals.
The Titans, a state semifinalist last season, rebounded to beat Bainbridge, 3-1.
University will face Juanita at 9 a.m. today. The Titans now need to win two games to advance to the third/fourth-place game.