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.”
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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
Curtis 7, Tahoma 5: The Vikings (10-12) came up with a huge upset, toppling reigning 4A state champion Tahoma in the second round of the district tournament.
The loss was the second for the Bears (21-2) in the past three games after they won the first 20 games of the season. They head to the consolation bracket of the district tournament to play a loser-out game against South Kitsap at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Curtis advances to play Gig Harbor at 2 p.m. Saturday and has guaranteed a spot in the 4A state tournament.
Gig Harbor 4, Federal Way 0: Jordan Adams was nearly untouchable in the circle for the Tides (16-7) as she led her team over the Eagles (13-7) to clinch a state berth.
Adams pitched a complete game, striking out 10. The Gig Harbor defense played a spotless game by not committing an error.
Tessa Waage gave the Tides’ offense a jump-start at the top of the order. Waage was 2 for 3 with a walk, driving in a run and scoring a pair. Abbie Hutton had a nice day at the plate, going 1 for 2 with a double and driving in a pair of runs.
Federal Way plays Kentridge in a loser-out game on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Puyallup 12, Jefferson 2: The Vikings (22-0) clinched a spot in the state tournament for the third consecutive season
After beating Olympia, 3-1, Puyallup brought their bats for the district quarterfinal against the Raiders (16-5). Regan Byrd led the charge, going 4 for 4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs.
“Both games were a couple of good wins for us,” Puyallup coach Tony Batinovich. “We met our goals and are proud to be going back to state. We hope to represent the SPSL South well. We got tough games in front of us tomorrow, but we will keep moving forward.”
Sophia Bjerk was 3 for 3 with two RBIs, and Kennedy Robillard had a three-run homer for the Vikings.
Puyallup advances to play Yelm on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Kent Service Club Ballfields. Jefferson next plays in a loser-out game at 11 a.m. Saturday
3A WEST CENTRAL/SOUTHWEST BI-DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
Enumclaw 4, Kelso 1: Per usual, Quinn Breidenbach dominated, this time helping the Hornets clinch a state berth with a win over the Hilanders (13-8).
The Enumclaw (18-1) senior tossed seven innings of five-hit baseball, allowing one run to go with her nine strikeouts.
From the plate, she was just as as effective, going 3 for 3 with a run scored. Rechelle Dunn and Brittany Camp chipped in with home runs.
Enumclaw advances to the bi-district semifinals to play Prairie at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sprinker Fields in Tacoma.
Columbia River 2, Bonney Lake 1: The Panthers (15-6) lost to the Chieftains (16-6), falling into the loser-out bracket.
This followed a 6-1 win over North Thurston in the tournament opener. Bonney Lake takes on Shelton at 9 a.m. Saturday in a loser-out game.
Auburn Mountainview 7, Central Kitsap 6: The Lions edged the 3A Narrows champion Cougars (19-4), guaranteeing a spot in the state tournament.
Auburn Mountainview (16-4) has a chance to snag a higher seed in its semifinal matchup against Columbia River at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Central Kitsap will have to win to keep its season alive against Capital at 11 a.m. Saturday.
2A WEST CENTRAL/SEAKING BI-DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
Port Angeles 3, Orting 2: A loss to the Roughriders (22-0) has slightly derailed the Cardinals’ path to the state tournament, but they are still alive.
Orting (16-5) drops into the loser-out bracket and has a do-or-die game against Olympic at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Preceding this was a 15-3 Port Angeles win over Lindbergh in the tournament opener.
White River 13, Sammamish 8: One year after reaching the 2A state championship game, the Hornets (12-10) clinched a trip back to the state tournament after coming out on top of a shootout with the Totems (9-13).
White River (16-5) advanced to the district semifinals with the win and will play 2A SPSL rival Fife at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sprinker Fields in Tacoma.
Fife 8, Sequim 0: Anna Kasner pitched a one-hit shutout and hit a home run to lift the Trojans over the Wolves (12-10) and guarantee a berth in the state tournament.
Fife junior Kaitlynn Gain also hit a home run for Fife (20-1) to lift the Trojans to the bi-district semifinals.
All that’s left to decide is the seed for Fife (20-1) . The Trojans’ next game against White River will put the winner in the district final with a chance to snag the No. 1 seed.
Staff writers Christian Bond and Jeffrey Giuliani contributed to this report.