For Wilson’s seniors, the bottom line was that they simply weren’t going home without a title.
It was one of the steps toward their ultimate goal of winning state, and the Rams took another step Saturday by winning their first West Central District III 3A championship, 7-4, against Camas at Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway.
“It’s awesome,” said senior catcher Alexa Olague, who went 2-for-4. “We’ve been waiting for four years. We’ve never been this far before. I’m so excited I can hardly explain it.”
Added senior pitcher Janessa Flynn, “I’m just glad we stayed composed and come out on top.”
Wilson coach Ron Balmer said that being “senior loaded” has benefitted his team. Six of the 13 returning starters are seniors who have been playing together since freshman year.
“I was sort of looking forward to having a good season,” he said. “Winning districts is just a bonus.”
Flynn admitted to being rattled by the Papermakers, who had gone scoreless in the first five innings, scoring twice in each of the final two innings. At one point, she strongly voiced her displeasure to Olague.
“Once someone’s on, they’re on,” she said in calling Camas a strong hitting team. “Anyone on the plate could have crushed it, so it was a relief to have my infield and outfield supporting me.
Flynn went 2-for-4 and senior first baseman Kylie Bretzel was 2-for-3 with a triple.
Earlier in the day, junior pitcher Alex Flynn helped the Rams beat Peninsula, 3-2, in the semifinals. The Seahawks shut out Enumclaw, 2-0, in the consolation finals to clinch the third seed out of districts.
Rogers won its third district championship in three years with a 6-5 win over Bellarmine Prep. It will be the Lions’ first trip to the state playoffs.
Rams junior outfielder Kim Klock drove in sophomore outfielder Alyssa Wilke, who entered the game as a courtesy runner for sophomore pitcher Tess Dixon, in the eighth inning. Dixon went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs.
“I’m very proud,” said Rogers coach Jacy Ramsey. “We were making really good contact from the beginning. Strikeouts weren’t even an issue on our side. … We were hitting, we were swinging, and we were swinging well. It was just a matter of having it being the time to fall for you.”
Senior outfielder Ashley Maxwell, who hit the tying run in the seventh inning, said that it was nice to rebound after finishing second to Kentlake in last year’s tournament.
“It was just nice to be able to keep going and push us toward that win,” Maxwell said. “I’m super excited. We were in the districts championship last year and it’s nice to come out with a win.”
Also advancing is Jefferson, with the third seed out of Class 4A, in a 9-5 win over Emerald Ridge.
Junior pitcher Erin Scott struck out eight in a two-hit shutout and her sister, Ashley, a freshman, drove in all three of the Saints’ runs as Interlake won its first district title with a 3-0 win over Franklin Pierce. The Saints shut out all three of their opponents at districts to earn their first-ever state berth.
“We’ve come so far,” Erin Scott said. “We were one game away from state last year.”
An 8-4 win over White River gave Fife the third seed to state.