Taking your starting pitcher out is usually accompanied by a setback, but not for Yelm in a 4-1 victory over Rogers on Friday.
In five innings of relief, freshman Tayelyn Cutler was dominant, striking out nine while allowing a mere two hits.
Tornados starter Andrea Schwaier fared well in her pair of innings, allowing only two hits while striking out four.
“Andrea pitched pretty much the whole first game,” Yelm coach Lindsay Walton said. “We knew she was probably not going to throw as many this game.”
The decision paid off. Rogers struggled on offense and scored its run on a passed ball.
“It felt amazing today,” Walton said. “Our bats were alive, our pitchers were on; we just played great defense all-around.”
Junior Ally Choate continued her impressive stretch, driving in two runs for the Tornados (21-3). Choate went 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.
The Rams (16-4) threatened in the bottom of the fifth. With runners on first and second, Kaira Miller represented the tying run. Needing one out to escape unscathed, Cutler fired the ball to Miller, who struck out swinging. The strikeout was Cutler’s third of the inning.
“I don’t know what I’d do without her, because she’s always there to back me up,” Schwaier said of Cutler. “I never have to worry about having an off day, because she’s going to be there to back me up.”
With the pair of victories, Yelm clinched a berth in the 4A state tournament.
“It was a great win, a great day,” Walton said. “The girls earned it, and we’re all really excited.”
4A WEST CENTRAL DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
South Kitsap 15, Olympia 5: The Bears struggled, falling out of the tournament with a loss to the Wolves in the second game they played Friday.
Olympia, which finished with a 6-18 record, 3-9 in conference, lost to Puyallup , 3-1, in a game earlier in the day.
South Kitsap, which lost to Thomas Jefferson, 11-7, in the first round, advanced to face Tahoma on Saturday at 11 a.m. in a loser-out game.
3A WEST CENTRAL/SW BI-DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
Auburn Riverside 7, North Thurston 5: Both teams racked up 12 hits, but the Ravens outscored the Rams to remain alive in the double-elimination tournament.
The scoring went back and forth until Auburn Riverside scored the final three runs. Two came in the fifth as the Ravens rallied from a 5-4 deficit. The last run came as insurance in the sixth.
Auburn Riverside’s Brooke Dye had a home run while Kiana Drumheller had a double. Both went 2 for 4 on the day.
North Thurston’s Aaliyah Kautz went 4 for 4 with a home run, two doubles, an RBI and three runs scored.
The Ravens will play Peninsula in the consolation bracket, while North Thurston’s season ended.
Capital 6, Sumner 2: The consolation-bracket victory kept the Cougars’ season going, while the Spartans’ season comes to an end.
Capital lost an opening game to Kelso, 5-4. Sumner ended up in the loser-out game after being thumped by Enumclaw, 8-3.
Capital will face Central Kitsap in another loser-out game 11 a.m. Saturday at Sprinker Fields.
Shelton 16, Kennedy Catholic 5: The Highclimbers’ season has a heartbeat after a drumming of the Lancers in a loser-out game.
This game came after Shelton lost a 6-4 contest to Peninsula earlier in the day. The Highclimbers will play Bonney Lake in another loser-out game.
2A SOUTHWEST DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
R.A. Long 8, Tumwater 2: The Lumberjacks scored a quick five runs in the first inning en route to a win over the Thunderbirds in the district semifinals.
Tumwater defeated Woodland, 7-0, in the first round of the double elimination tournament earlier in the day. With only one loss, the T-Birds will next play the winner of Ridgefield and Hockinson in the second round of the consolation bracket.
Madison Cathcart had four strikeouts on the mound and hit a three-run homer at the plate with Kaylee Strahan driving in two for R.A. Long.
Staff writer Jeff Giuliani contributed to this report.
Hits- Yelm: 9 Rogers: 4 Runs- Yelm: 4 Rogers: 1