Enumclaw, Fife claim No. 1 seeds for state fastpitch

Staff writerMay 26, 2014 

Big early innings gave the Hornets and the Trojans fastpitch teams easy breathers in the championship games of their rain-delayed tournaments Sunday at Sprinker Fields in Spanaway.

Riding a lineup knocking the softball all over the yard — and ace pitcher’s Quinn Breidenbach’s electric arm — Enumclaw High School defended its Class 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict crown by walloping Mountain View of Vancouver, 10-3, in the title game.

Not to be outdone on the adjacent Class 2A field, Fife High School took a big lead after a five-run second inning and cruised to a 9-3 triumph over Olympic League champion Sequim, earning its first West Central District title since 2000.

Enumclaw (25-0) and Fife (23-2) grabbed No. 1 seeds to this weekend’s state championships. The Class 3A tournament is in Lacey and the Class 2A tournament in Selah.

“We feel prepared. We have depth all over the place,” Hornets coach Mike Eckhart said. “I don’t have to hide anybody. Usually you always hide somebody. Other coaches wish they had our problems.”

Enumclaw tallied five runs in the first inning — three coming off a home run by catcher Becky Forza.

Tammy Wilkening added a solo home run in the fourth inning, giving Breidenbach, the 3A South Puget Sound League pitcher of the year, more than enough run support.

“Our subdistrict championship game (a 15-3 win over Kennedy Catholic), we didn’t play really well,” Eckhart said. “We wanted to come in here and just put together good games — no mistakes — and just keep building and getting better and better, so when we get into state, we can roll.”

Fife, which lost in last year’s district title game to White River, quickly built a 5-0 lead. Slowly, Sequim hitters started getting their timing against Trojans starting pitcher Lauren Spencer, who gave up three runs in the third inning.

“That is something we are very good at doing: jumping the gun and scoring,” Fife coach Michelle Nixon said. “It is those middle innings we tend to fall asleep a little bit, and we have to work on that.”

After Spencer’s rough inning, Nixon immediately went to Anna Kasner, the winning pitcher in the Trojans’ semifinal victory over Port Angeles, in relief. Kasner faced the minimum 12 batters over the final four innings, striking out 10.

“This is awesome,” Kasner said. “This is our comeback. We are so excited.”

The tournament’s feel-good story came from Bonney Lake. The third-place finisher out of the 3A SPSL, and seeded 12th out of 16 teams, the Panthers upended Auburn Mountainview in a loser-out game, 8-3, then outscored 3A Narrows League champion Timberline, 11-8, to clinch their fifth consecutive trip to the state tournament.

And it was an emotional Bonney Lake dugout afterward. Melissa Charron, the team’s ace, had pitched with a heavy heart since late in the regular season after her mother died of cancer.

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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