When Camas starting pitcher Katie Schroeder took the mound Friday morning, Gig Harbor High players were a buzz in the dugout. The Tides knew the Utah State commit was dominant, and she showed it at the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex.
“I think we were all like in our heads and kind of rattled because of this pitcher,” Gig Harbor sophomore starting pitcher Jordan Adams said. “She throws really hard and she has a lot of movement but it is nothing like we haven’t seen. I think we were just a little over our heads.”
The Tides fell to Camas and Schroeder, 2-0, in the first round of the Class 4A state softball tournament.
Schroeder pitched seven shutout innings with 12 strikeouts and no walks. At one point, she retired eight straight batters through the first three innings. Gig Harbor baserunners only got into scoring position twice in the game.
Gig Harbor coach Kara Dressel attributed Schroeder’s success to the command of her pitches.
“We knew she had a riseball, and it worked,” Dressel said. “She had good movement. She is going (Division I) somewhere but we had to keep our eyes down and make the adjustments. We only had one hitter that did that, unfortunately.”
Gig Harbor first baseman Marin Malich led the way at the plate, getting two of the Tides’ four hits. She went 2 for 3 with a single and a double. While Malich had success against Schroeder, her tips and motivation to her teammates never led to scoring opportunities.
“I was telling them to move back ... she was going to throw inside. I was also telling them that she was throwing a lot of first-pitch strikes that were inside, and they should probably swing at those,” Malich said with a laugh.
Adams, first team All-Narrows League pitcher, had her own solid game on the mound. She pitched seven innings with four strikeouts and two walks. With no run support, Adams couldn’t exploit the favorable officiating to earn a win.
“I tried to take advantage of the umpire’s strike zone,” Adams said. “He called a lot inside pitches, so I tried to utilize that as much as I possibly could.”
The Papermakers did their scoring early. Camas senior shortstop Tori O’Neil started the game off with a single to left field. Using a sprinters stance, she stole second. Sophomore first baseman Alli Hancock, hitting third, opened up the scoring with a standing triple that brought O’Neil in.
The top of the order for Camas came through again in the third inning. O’Neil battled with Adams to earn a walk. She again stole second then advanced to third on a ground out to first by Hancock. Schroeder, hitting fourth, gave herself run support by smacking double to center to drive home O’Neil, who scored the only two runs in the game.
Even though both teams finished with four hits, Gig Harbor couldn’t stitch together a rally to put points on the board.
The Tides’ best chance came in the final inning. Singles by freshman second baseman Lauren Forseth and junior third baseman Megan Riggs got two Tides runners on base for the first time. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Adams was the winning run for Gig Harbor. The sophomore battled but struck out looking on four Schroder pitches to halt any Gig Harbor rally.
“I felt like we were slow getting out bats out there,” Malich said. “I think that was our struggle when we were in districts, too, but we were able to get it going in the sixth and seventh inning. We kind of got it going in the seventh inning there but it just wasn’t enough.”
Gig Harbor was eliminated from the state tournament after losing its second game of the day, 7-1. Gig Harbor finished the season with a 20-7 record.