Wilson rallies for 3A fastpitch victory
The thought of her Wilson High School fastpitch career ending without a state trophy crept into senior Janessa Flynn’s mind during the sixth inning.
The 3A Narrows League and West Central District III champion Rams trailed Meadowdale, 2-0, in a loser-out consolation game of Friday’s opening day of the Class 3A state fastpitch tournament. Their offense was at a standstill against Mavericks ace Alyssa Reuble.
“It kind of scared me,” the University of Howard-bound Flynn said.
But a seventh-inning rally ensued, started by Flynn, as the Rams scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning for a 3-2 come-from-behind victory to remain alive in today’s consolation round of the tournament at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.
Wilson had four of their five hits in the seventh inning. Flynn and Taylor Clark had back-to-back singles to start the inning before Darian Godfrey’s two-RBI double tied the game at 2. With runners on first and third following Kylie Bretzel’s bunt single, Alex Flynn’s bloop single scored Stephanie Ehant with the dramatic winning run.
“I don’t like to lose,” said Janessa Flynn, The News Tribune player of the year. “I think we were impatient a lot (early on). We took a lot of first-pitch strikes.”
Wilson’s goal of reaching the 3A state title game was dashed early Friday morning, when University out of Spokane, one of today’s four state semifinal teams, held the Rams to three hits in a 5-2 loss. If Wilson wins out today, the Rams could claim the third-place trophy.
In the winner’s bracket, defending state champion Juanita (23-1) faces undefeated Kamiakin (26-0) in one 9 a.m. semifinal. University (22-3) plays Everett (24-1) in the other semifinal. The winners face off in the 2:30 p.m. title game.
Juanita’s senior pitcher, Notre Dame-bound Allison Rhodes, struck out a combined 29 in the Rebels’ 3-0 win over Mountain View and 5-2 victory over Camas.
For University, coach Jon Schuh said there was a bit of a letdown after the regional tournament, coming into state as the No. 3 seed. But on Friday, the Titans followed their win over Wilson with an 11-3 victory over Bonney Lake in the quarterfinals behind a seven-run third inning. This will be the team’s first state semifinal appearance since 2003 – the year the program went on to win the 4A state title.
“Being 2-0 is a lot better than being 0-2,” Schuh said. “We haven’t played very well as of late.”
University, however, will be without senior third baseman Sandra Cleveland for today’s semifinal game. Cleveland was ejected during the third inning (unsportsmanlike conduct) of the Titans’ quarterfinal win over Bonney Lake, striking a sliding baserunner across the head after she slid into third base. Per Washington Interscholastic Activities Association rules, Cleveland will sit out for one game.
Bainbridge had its consecutive 3A state title game appearances snapped at three when the Spartans lost their opening-round game to Camas, 2-1. The Spartans bounced back with consolation victories over Mountain View (3-0) and Enumclaw (6-4) to remain alive.
Wilson is the only Pierce County team that didn’t get knocked out Friday, as Bonney Lake (1-2), Peninsula (0-2) and Enumclaw (1-2) were eliminated. Enumclaw topped Shadle Park, 5-3, in its opening-round game before falling to Everett and Bainbridge in consolation. The Seahawks of Peninsula, champions of the SPSL 3A, fell 4-3 to Meadowdale and Mount Si.