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In this photo from May 17, 2017, Mt. Spokane players celebrate winning the 3A subregional. The Wildcats won two games on Friday, May 26, 2017 to reach the state semifinals. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

State 3A softball: Brittney Coladonato’s home run keeps Mt. Spokane’s state title drive alive

LACEY, Wash. – Mt. Spokane opened the state Class 3A fastpitch tournament Friday morning with a stress-free victory.

The Wildcats’ afternoon game was different. Very different. In fact, no team all day at Lacey’s Regional Athletic Complex staged a more dramatic scene than in the Wildcats’ bottom of the seventh inning against a good Snohomish team.

Wildcats sophomore Brittney Coladonato, down to her last strike with two outs and two runners aboard with her team trailing 4-1, launched a three-run home run to tie the game, sending Mt. Spokane fans into delirium.

Mt. Spokane went on to score a run in the bottom of the eighth to claim a 5-4 victory and advance to championship play on Saturday.

“On the first two pitches I totally biffed it,” Coladonato said. “On the last pitch, I just took a deep breath and bashed it.”

Coladonato’s blast gave life to the Wildcats, who had spent earlier innings mostly baffled by Snohomish junior starter Bailie Greenlee. Through six innings, the Wildcats had just three hits.

In the eighth, Snohomish chose to pull Greenlee in favor of junior Sami Reynolds. She got one out before senior Makenzie Funk reached on an error. Senior Hannah Bell followed with a double to deep center, but Funk could not score. The Panthers drew in their infield, and got Justine House on a strikeout before Jesse Dupuis’s infield dribbler rolled free off Reynolds’ glove, allowing Funk to slide home with the game-winner.

“I feel like the girls on our team have so much drive and potential,” Coladonato said. “The girls on our team just pick each other up.”

The Wildcats got an all-important run in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Hannah Madsen reached on a sharply hit grounder off the second baseman’s glove, and Funk drove her home with a single.

Mt. Spokane junior pitcher Dupuis worked around seven Snohomish hits, striking out seven in her eight innings.

“They just scrap,” Mt. Spokane coach Carl Adams said of his team. “They want to be here, and they play hard.”

Next, the Wildcats will take on top-seeded and undefeated Yelm (27-0) in a 9 a.m. game on Saturday. The Tornados beat Juanita, 7-5, and Holy Names, 7-1, to advance.

“Just keep playing,” Adams said. “That’s what it’s about.”

Mt. Spokane 12, Stadium 1: Dupuis allowed four hits and struck out 12 in five innings in a game shortened by the 10-run rule.

The Wildcats got back-to-back-to-back RBI doubles from Coladonato, Kyla Stern and Madsen to take a 9-1 lead in the third inning. Dupuis, Katie Pratt and Stern knocked in runs in the fourth before Dupuis put down the Tigers’ last chance in the top of the fifth.

Earlier, Mt. Spokane scored three in the first inning on a bases-loaded passed ball and a two-run error on a popup to short. In the second, Madsen, Funk and Bell drove in runs to put the Wildcats up 6-1.