The Wilson softball team certainly did not start out the 3A state tournament the way they wanted. But the Rams responded in a big way, following a 5-2 opening loss to University with five straight wins to claim third place on May 25-26 at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.
The Rams were locked in a scoreless tie with University heading into the fourth in the opener, as Wilson pitcher Janessa Flynn and Titans’ starter Brittany Hecker both established command. But University broke through in the fourth, loading the bases with no outs before shortstop Karly Schuh lined a double to center to score three runs and then scored on an overthrow to third base.
“We threw it around a little bit,” said Wilson head coach Ron Balmer. “We’re generally a pretty sound fielding team, so that was a little out of character…(Schuh) hit the ball hard to center, but it should have been two runs on that play instead of four.”
Flynn was solid the rest of the game, as she finished with seven innings pitched and allowed just two earned runs on five hits, with one walk and five strikeouts. The Rams’ offense finally broke through in the sixth, as Riley Jornlin singled to score Kaysha Fox and advanced to third on a fielding error, and Alexa Olague followed with a sacrifice fly to left to score Jornlin. But that was all the damage Wilson did against Hecker, as the junior allowed just three hits all game.
“She wasn’t that much different than a lot of girls that we’ve hit hard all year,” Balmer said. “We finally got a couple (runs) in the sixth, but we just didn’t do a very good job of hitting the ball hard.”
The Rams quickly rallied for an 8-3 win over Lake Washington in game two, as Olague singled in the first inning to score Jornlin and later scored on a single by Darian Grimm to make it 2-0. Fox drilled a solo homer to dead center in the second, and Wilson continued to pile on in the third. Taylor Clark lined a two-run homer to left to make it 5-0, and Julie Davis later tripled to center to score Carsen Stanley and Kylie Bretzel.
“We just came out, and we were like ‘we’re not going to lose,’” said starter Alex Flynn, who shut out the Kangaroos over six innings and allowed seven hits and one walk, with seven strikeouts. “I felt on, and I just went out and did it for my team…I have to give credit to them. They do all the work. I just sit back and throw strikes.”
“It’s a lot easier to play when you have the lead,” Balmer added. “You can be a little more aggressive in the strike zone…once we got that big lead (Alex) did a good job of throwing strikes.”
The Rams continued the momentum later in the night, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh on Grimm’s two-run double and Alex Flynn’s walk-off single for a 3-2 win over Meadowdale. The Rams continued to break out the bats on May 26, starting off with a 15-2 win over Camas before getting revenge with an 8-3 win over University. Wilson then cruised to a 10-1 win over Juanita to claim third place, led by Janessa Flynn on the mound.
Making their first-ever appearance at the 4A state tournament, Bellarmine was quickly eliminated, falling in its first two games on May 25 at the Merkel Sports Complex in Spokane.
The Lions fell 12-7 to Bothell in the opener, as Rachel Barcena’s sacrifice fly and Kelly McLaughlin’s run-scoring single tied it 2-2 in the second inning, but the Cougars scored the next five runs to take control. Barcena finished with two RBIs, while Alexis Mendez, Sarah Sorensen and Becca Sorensen also tallied RBIs for Bellarmine. The Lions committed six errors in the field that led to nine unearned runs, as starter Courtney Schwan pitched a complete game, allowing 10 hits while striking out 10 batters.
Bellarmine later fell 6-4 to Narrows foe Central Kitsap to be ousted, as Haley Dusek and Alex DeStephano each had two runs batted in for the Lions. Schwan was again solid on the mound, allowing just two earned runs, walking none and striking out two. The loss ended a season of firsts for the Lions, who added the school’s first-ever Narrows League regular season and tournament championships along with the state appearance.