Mt. Spokane’s dramatic weekend took a turn toward heartbreak late in the final act of a tense semifinal game Saturday at the State 3A fastpitch softball tournament in Lacey.
The previous evening, the Wildcats got a two-out, game-tying three-run homer from Brittney Coladonato in the bottom of the seventh inning before winning the quarterfinal game against Snohomish 5-4 in the first extra inning.
On Saturday, Mt. Spokane played victim to a Yelm team that scored two two-out runs in the bottom of the seventh to escape with a 3-2 victory and advance to the state championship game.
“That’s high school sports,” Mt. Spokane coach Carl Adams said.
As if that wasn’t enough drama, the Wildcats had to play again almost immediately after the loss in a consolation bracket game. They fell there too, to Lake Washington 9-8, in a game they once trailed 7-0. After everything, the Wildcats leave the tournament without a trophy.
“If you’re going to get beat,” Adams said, “you certainly don’t want to go down without a fight.”
Coach and players admitted it was hard to shake off the sting of the morning loss.
“Every game this weekend has been pretty crazy,” said senior Hannah Bell, “but that one could have gone either way.”
In the consolation game, Mt. Spokane scored two in the bottom of the third, four in the sixth and two in the seventh on Bell’s two-run homer following a Makenzie Funk double. The game ended with the tying run on second base.
Kyla Stern was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs, and Funk was 3 for 4 and drove in two.
In the morning semifinal, the Wildcats got to Yelm starter Drea Schwaier for two first-inning runs. Jesse Dupuis doubled in Funk, who had singled, with the first run and got the other on a Schwaier wild pitch.
Schwaier, a junior who has committed to Whitworth University for her college softball, settled in after that and gave up no runs and only two more hits – singles by Hannah Madsen and Katie Pratt. Schwaier struck out 11 and walked no one.
Meanwhile, Dupuis was keeping Yelm’s offense in check, limiting the Tornados to one hit through six innings.
Yelm got its first run when Ally Choate singled in the third and came around to score when the ball eluded rightfielder Justine House and rolled to the fence.
Choate started the rally in the decisive bottom of the seventh, drilling a one-out triple into the right-center gap. One out later, Jaeden Ells lofted a deep fly ball that fell from leftfielder Coladonato’s glove as she tumbled into the collapsible fence.
Choate easily scored the tying run on the play, and Ells came all the way round to third – and then broke for home. The Wildcats appeared to have a chance to nail Ells at the plate for the third out, but an offline throw allowed Ells to slide in with the winner.
Mt. Spokane finished its season at 21-6. The 2018 edition of Wildcat fastpitch will go on without four top seniors – Bell, Funk, Stern and Riley Barnes. Bell said she’s played ball with her senior mates since they were 9 years old.
“You can’t ask for more from a group of seniors,” Adams said. The quartet were part of teams that made it to state in consecutive years for the first time in program history.
The tears when it was over was as much over the last time playing with this group of people as the outcome of the games.
“Being a part of this team has been awesome,” Bell said. “Everybody just bought into it.”
Redmond beat Yelm 9-5 in the State 3A title game, while Lake Washington topped Bonney Lake 4-1 in the third-place game.
Hoquiam 5, Lakeside 2: The Grizzlies beat the Eagles (21-6) in the State 1A third-place game at Columbia Playfield in Richland.
Earlier in the day, Lakeside beat Bellevue Christian 8-4 and beat Colville (17-7) 6-2 to advance to the third-place game. Colville lost to La Center 8-1 earlier in the day in a state semifinal game.
Hoquiam beat Chewelah 6-2 to advance to the third-place game. Chewelah beat Zillah 12-2 earlier in the day in the consolation bracket.
Montesano beat La Center 8-2 in the State 1A title game.
Toutle Lake 14, Northwest Christian 0: The Ducks (18-5-1) beat the Crusaders (26-2) in the State 2B third-place game at Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima.
NWC beat Dayton 9-3, beat Brewster 7-6 and beat Ocosta 8-6 earlier in the day to advance to the third-place game.
Napavine beat Pe Ell/Willapa Valley 10-1 in the State 2B title game.
Colton 9, Sunnyside Christian 3: Emily Schultheis went 4 for 4 with two runs and three RBIs while Emma Schultheis pitched a complete game with six strikeouts and the Wildcats (22-4) beat the Knights (19-8) in the State 1B third-place game at Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima.
Earlier in the day, Colton beat Oakville 19-2 and Sunnyside knocked off Almira/Coulee-Hartline (23-5) 10-0 to advance to the third-place game.
Pomeroy beat Quilcene 5-4 in the State 1B title game.