Mt. Spokane conquered its greatest obstacle at the perfect time.
The Wildcats defeated Shadle Park 5-3 in a 3A State softball tournament loser-out game on Friday at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey, Washington. It was Mt. Spokane’s first win over the Highlanders in four tries this season.
Topping the Highlanders in the state playoffs makes it even sweeter for the Wildcats, says Mt. Spokane senior Jadeyn Cronn.
“I told our team before we even got here, we’re going to beat them in the one game that matters,” she said.
Mt. Spokane won its first game of the tournament to enter the winner’s bracket, knocking off Glacier Peak 3-1. Wildcats’ starter Jesse Dupuis pitched a gem, throwing a complete-game three hitter to pick up the win. Her only mistake came in the form of a solo-home run from Abigal Donney in the third inning.
Earlier, Shadle Park was placed in the loser’s bracket after a 9-4 loss to Marysville-Pilchuck. The Tomahawks whacked three home runs in the winning effort, including back-to-back shots from McKenzie Justice and Kylie Lopez.
The Highlanders responded in their first loser-out game with a 13-2 win over Eastside Catholic, which set up a Greater Spokane League showdown with the Wildcats after Mt. Spokane lost 8-3 to Enumclaw.
Quinn Breidenbach, the Gatorade State Player of the Year in 2015, was dominant at the plate and on the mound for the Hornets. She was 2 for 4 at the plate with three RBIs, including a two-run home run in the fifth inning, and struck out 11 Wildcats in a complete-game four hitter.
The Wildcats didn’t carry their struggles into the matchup with Shadle. Mt. Spokane jumped out early on Jaya Allen and scored five runs in the game’s first two innings.
The Highlanders mounted a comeback, as Breanna Barnes hit a two-run triple and Allen smashed a solo home run to center field to cut the lead to two in the sixth inning. But it was too late, as Dupuis shut out the Highlanders in the final inning to seal the victory for the Wildcats.
Mt. Spokane faces Kelso in a loser-out game on Saturday at 9 a.m. The winner will take on the loser of Meadowdale-Marysville-Pilchuck in the semifinals of the third-place bracket.
Shadle Park’s season ends with the loss. Although the Highlanders’ state run ended early, Shadle Park will lose only three seniors and will return a host of important players, including Allen, their star pitcher.
“Next year we are going to be senior heavy,” said Shadle head coach Guy Perham, referencing his seven seniors-to-be for next year.
The Wildcats, who advanced to the second day of the state tournament for the first time in school history, are hoping to accomplish more on Saturday.
“It would be really nice to bring home some hardware,” Wildcats head coach Casey Adams said.