Friday’s 2A Softball: Bearcats Live to See Another Day
Formidable Foe: Ridgefield Uses Four-Run Sixth To Put W.F. West Away in Semis
By Jordan Nailon
LONGVIEW — W.F. West had to settle for a split here at the 2A District 4 Softball Tournament on Friday as they defeated R.A. Long 12-2 before falling to Ridgefield 6-5 in the semifinals.
The Bearcats came out with dangerous sticks in their first game with 13 hits to power their dozen runs. W.F. West scored five runs in the first inning and kept adding on throughout the contest until a two run home run by Taylor Barker ended the game early in the sixth inning.
Ava Fugate got things rolling with a leadoff home run in the first inning and added another blast in the fifth frame to help push the game toward mercy-rule territory. She finished the game with four hits. Paetynn Lopez added a blast of her own along with two other hits to help power the Bearcats offense, and Jasmine Gallea also got to trot around the bases after launching a home run in the fifth inning.
Kamy Dacus pitched all six innings for W.F. West and notched five strikeouts along the way to help secure the opening round win.
For their troubles W.F. West was awarded a date with Ridgefield in the semifinals. The Spudders went up 2-0 in the first inning but the Bearcats battled back to tie the game up in the top of the third inning thanks to a two run home run by Ashlyn Whalen that scored Gallea. W.F. West then went on to take a three run lead with a pair of runs in the fifth frame and another in the sixth.
Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning the Spudders mustered up some mojo of their own and managed to plate four runs to take the lead.
“We had a couple of balls that we booted around a little bit and they had a couple of well placed hits. It was one of those games where I don’t think there was anything drastic that we needed to do differently. It was just little things that added up,” explained W.F. West coach Caty Lieseke.
That four run inning left the Bearcats trailing by one run with only three outs left on their tab. Sarah Jenkins pitched the first six innings for Ridgefield but they turned the ball over to their ace, Kaia Oliver, to close out the seventh and she did not let them down.
Ridgefield coach, Dusty Anchors, passed away earlier this week after a long history of heart problems and Lieseke believes that the Spudders are playing with a little extra something on their side as a result.
“I know that they are a team that has a lot that they are playing for just because of the circumstances of this week. I do think that brought some energy and brought them some drive to really want to play well,” explained the Bearcats’ coach.
Whalen had three hits, including her home run, and two runs scored in the game for W.F. West. Lopez and Gallea each added a pair of hits for the Bearcats in the loss.
Lieseke emphasized that at this point in the season there is no time for her team to lick their wounds.
“We swung the bats well. It’s not exactly how you want it to go. It was a good day. Not a great day but we’ll be back tomorrow,” said Lieseke. “We talked after the game and said alright, that happened. That was a good team. It was a good game. We did what we could and we’ve got to move on now. By the time we get home tonight we’ve got to be prepared for what’s next.”
W.F. West will face Aberdeen in Longview at 11 a.m. on Saturday in an attempt to snag one of the final spots to state.
Tigers See Their Season End at Districts
Slip Away: R.A. Long Scores Six Runs Over Last Five Outs to Sink Centralia
LONGVIEW — Centralia suffered a pair of heartwrenching losses here at the 2A District 4 Softball Tournament in what turned out to be their final day of the season. The Tigers lost a tough contest to Ridgefield 4-0 in their opener before watching R.A. Long walk off with an 8-7 win in extra innings in their do-or-die nightcap.
In their tournament opener against Ridgefield the Tigers put up a good fight against a team that will be playing for a district title on Saturday.
“They played one heckuva first game against a really good Ridgefield team. I think we held them to one run all the way into the fifth inning,” noted Centralia coach David Orr. “They just had a really dominant pitcher and it was hard to get any hits off of her.”
Kaia Oliver pitched the first six innings for the Spudders and held Centralia to just four hits. Sarah Jenkins pitched a scoreless seventh inning to preserve the Ridgefield win.
The only time Centralia had any kind of threat brewing on offense came in the sixth inning when Ella Orr and Sophie Duffy had back-to-back singles. Elizabeth Hubbard added two hits to round out the Tigers hit tally.
The Spudders scored their first run in the opening frame before McKenzie Ulrich settled into a groove over the next three innings. An error in the fifth inning helped Ridgefield to plate two more run and Ridgefield’s ace, Oliver, parked a home run to extend her team’s enduring lead.
Orr noted that his team didn’t seem to suffer any sort of hangover from that disappointing loss as they posted four runs in the first inning against R.A. Long in their loser-out affair.
“We came out hot. I think they kind of put it into cruise control a little bit,” explained Orr. “You’ve got to play all seven innings. It’s a tough lesson to learn. We had two outs and up by five. I would have never guessed that this would be the outcome.”
Ulrich and company managed to keep the Lumberjills off the scoreboard until the sixth inning when Cassidy Donaldson drove a pitch well over the fence in centerfield for a two-run blast.
Those runs didn’t seem to matter much at that point since Centralia held a 5-0 lead before the home run. Moreover, a two run single by Jadyn Hawley in the top of the seventh got both runs back and seemed to set Centralia up with another playoff date on Saturday morning.
R.A. Long had other plans, though. The Lumberjills scored five runs on five hits in the seventh inning in order to tie the game up and send it to extra innings. Then in the eighth the leadoff Lumberjill got on base with a hit by pitch before a single moved her into scoring position. The next batter dropped what was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt but the throw to first sailed into right field and allowed the winning run to score.
Kylie Sharp had two hits and a run scored for Centralia in the game while Courtney Spriggs added three hits, a RBI, and a run. Hannah Porter had two hits and two runs scored in her final game as a Tiger.
In the face of the season ending loss Coach Orr tried to provide some perspective to his team. He noted the play of Sharp, Duffy, Orr and Hawley as just a few of the reasons he’s excited about the future of Tiger softball.
“We started off the season with a tier of goals that we wanted to hit. We wanted to do well in league. We wanted to get to Districts. Obviously we wanted to get out of Districts and eventually win state. That’s our goal. It’s a process but we’re moving in the right direction,” Orr said. “We’ll be right back at it next year.”
BEARCATS 12, LUMBERJILLS 2 (6 inn.)
R.A. Long 010 010 — 2 3 2
W.F. West 510 222 — 12 13 4
Batteries: R.A. Long — Lexi Strahan and Kenzi Hame; W.F. West — Kamy Dacus and Paetynn Lopez
SPUDDERS 6, BEARCATS 5
W.F. West 002 021 0 — 5 10 0
Ridgefield 200 004 X — 6 6 3
Batteries: W.F. West — Kamy Dacus and Paetynn Lopez; Ridgefield — Sarah Jenkins, Kaia Oliver (7) and Emma Jenkins
SPUDDERS 4, TIGERS 0
Centralia 000 000 0 — 0 4 1
Ridgefield 100 002 1 — 4 8 2
Batteries: Centralia — McKenzie Ulrich and Hannah Porter; Ridgefield — Kaia Oliver, Sarah Jenkins (7) and Emma Jenkins
LUMBERJILLS 8, TIGERS 7 (8 inn.)
Centralia 401 000 20 — 7 15 2
R.A. Long 000 002 51 — 8 12 0
Batteries: Centralia — McKenzie Ulrich and Hannah Porter; R.A. Long — Lexi Strahan and Kenzi Hame