After holding North Thurston High School scoreless for six innings, Enumclaw’s fastpitch team watched in dismay as a high ball soared toward left field.
And then came a flash of pink — and victory for the Hornets.
Senior left-fielder Alicia Cassell leapt into the air and snatched the ball hit by Rams sophomore infielder Isabella Weight to give her team an 8-0 shutout in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict softball tournament at Sprinker Fields in Spanaway.
“At first, I was like ‘Oh my gosh, it’s over my head,’ but when I started tracking it, I knew I had it in the bag,” said the pink headband-clad Cassell. “I was really glad I could save it for the team.”
Enumclaw coach Mike Eckhart said he wasn’t surprised that the first-time selection to the all-South Puget Sound League first team prevailed.
“People underestimate how quick she is,” he said. “At first I thought (the ball) was going to keep going, and then she started catching up, and I thought, ‘I think we’ve got this.’ ”
Enumclaw’s sophomore ace, Quinn Breidenbach, stunned the Rams by striking out 12 players.
North Thurston pitcher Ciarra Davis said that despite starting out with good momentum, the Rams were not quite prepared for Breidenbach’s skills. They tallied just four hits to Enumclaw’s 15.
“We haven’t had a chance all season to face a pitcher like that,” said Davis, a junior. “We made simple errors we have done a thousand times, and I think we got lost.”
Breidenbach was succinct about her performance.
“I work hard,” she said, “and I get results from working hard.”
Undefeated Enumclaw advances to play Prairie in the semifinals. The Falcons defeated Bonney Lake, 5-2, on Saturday.
Timberline lost its quarterfinal game against Mountain View in what coach Charles Porche said started out slow and culminated in an inability to hit the ball.
“I think that a little bit of the enormity of the moment, so to speak, is what got to us,” he said.
Still, Timberline will get another shot at advancing to the state tournament today, against Wilson, after beating Peninsula, 6-5, in the consolation quarterfinals.
Mountain View will play its Greater St. Helens League counterpart Columbia River in Sunday’s semifinal. The Chieftains beat Kennedy Catholic, 7-3, in the quarterfinals.
Top-seeded Fife defeated White River, 5-2.
Trojans coach Michelle Nixon said her players have benefited from years of playing together. Leading the effort was junior Lauren Spencer, who parlayed a strong screwball and change-up into six strikeouts.
“I’m very, very proud of these girls,” she said. “They have worked hard the last three years to make this happen.”
After trouncing Renton, 19-2, in the first round, Franklin Pierce was felled by mistakes and lost, 10-3, to Port Angeles.
“It was disappointing, but errors always kill,” Cardinals coach Jennifer Bruce said. “If you have too many errors, you’re not going to win the game. We got down on ourselves a little bit for having a couple and couldn’t come back out of that.”
Fife will play Port Angeles in the 11 a.m. semifinals, while Orting will face Sequim.