Just how strong does the Yelm High School softball team feel after two rounds of the Class 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament?
“There were two wins, and we qualified for state,” Yelm coach Lindsay Walton said. “That’s what we needed to do today, and we were able to get it done.”
The Tornados (23-0) cruised through the tournament’s opening day on Friday at Sprinker Recreation Center in Tacoma, after walloping Bethel and Wilson in the first two rounds.
Yelm enters the final day still perfect but not quite satisfied yet.
“It’s not over,” Walton said. “We won’t be satisfied until we get to that 3 p.m. game and, hopefully, win that.
“That’s our ultimate goal, to be able to take districts. But we have to play Stadium first. We’re hoping we can win that game and get the chance to face Bonney Lake or Kelso.”
The way the Tornados marched to the semifinals on the opening day, it’s hard to imagine they’ll slow down on Saturday.
Early Friday afternoon, Yelm shut out Bethel, 10-0. Freshman left-hander Hailey Brown pitched a five-inning shutout, allowing just two hits while striking out six batters.
Ally Choate went 4 for 4 with a triple, two stolen bases and an RBI to lead Yelm. Carley Nelson and Sage Ferrell were both 2 for 3 with a double and RBI.
Shortly after, the Tornados beat Wilson, 14-2, in five innings. Sophomore Tayelyn Cutler allowed three hits in a complete game, striking out eight batters.
Yelm combined for 13 hits. Choate was 3 for 3 with a double and two RBIs, while MacKinzee Moore was 3 for 4.
Cutler hit a two-run home run in the fourth to give Yelm a 7-0 advantage, and she had three RBIs.
Yelm plays Stadium (17-2) in the semifinals at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sprinker. Stadium’s two losses this season are to 3A Pierce County League champion Bonney Lake.
Yelm shut out Bonney Lake, 5-0, in April, when ace Drea Schwaier pitched her first career no-hitter.
If the Tornados advance to the district title game at 3 p.m., they will play either Bonney Lake (21-1) or Kelso (19-2).
“We’re feeling really good,” Walton said. “Our pitchers are throwing well, and we’re excited to play for, hopefully, the No. 1 seed.”
Bonney Lake 11, Timberline 1: For the second time this season, Bonney Lake held the Blazers to one run in a loss.
But Friday’s loss cost Timberline (15-9 ) a spot in the district semifinals. Brooke Nelson pitched a complete game for the Panthers, striking out 14 batters while allowing just three hits.
Timberline’s only run came in the top of the first inning when Bailey Haddock singled to left, driving in Brooklyn Taylor-Sparks, who singled in the game’s opening at-bat.
But the Panthers answered with five runs in the bottom half and continued to build from there. Nelson was 3 for 3 with a double, a home run and three RBIs.
Taylor-Sparks struck out seven but suffered the loss, allowing 11 runs on 12 hits.
The Blazers shut out Lakes, 10-0, earlier in the day to advance to the quarterfinals before losing to Bonney Lake.
Timberline has to win three games Saturday to reach the state tournament for the first time since 2008. The Blazers play Evergreen (10-9) at 9 a.m. at Sprinker in a loser-out game.
Spanaway Lake 5, Shelton 3: The Sentinels (10-8) eliminated the Highclimbers (8-16) from the district playoffs with the win, after Kelso shut out the Highclimbers, 11-0, in the first round earlier in the day.
Peninsula 11, North Thurston 10: North Thurston’s season ends at 10-13 after dropping a third loss this season to the Seahawks. Peninsula won the season series over its 3A SSC rival, 3-1.
The Rams lost, 4-3, to Stadium in the first round to drop to the elimination bracket.