One of the most important maxims of Orting High School softball certainly came into play this weekend.
“We have seven principles we talk about,” Cardinals coach Tyler Polly said. “Overcoming Mother Nature is one of them.”
After a two-day rain delay at the West Central District championships, Orting returned to Sprinker Recreation Center on Monday with no room for error in consolation-bracket play.
After knocking out Olympic, 5-2, in a morning game, the Cardinals punched their ticket to the Class 2A state tournament for a third year in a row by blanking Kingston, 11-0.
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With the WIAA’s 10-run mercy rule in play, the afternoon game was halted after five innings.
Morgan Hand, McKenzie Behnke, Alaina McCullough and Tatum Tripp had two-run hits for Orting (18-5) — with Behnke’s two-run home run capping a four-run third inning.
Behnke, a right-handed junior, was also fantastic on the mound for the Cardinals. She allowed one hit in five innings, and retired the last 12 batters she faced.
“She is a rock. She is a wall,” said Madison Nasinec, the Cardinals’ senior catcher. “She works the hitters really well.”
Like the other teams in the tournament, Orting came to the ballpark Saturday morning, only to watch the fields get flooded by a steady downpour.
Polly said his players made the most of it by going out to breakfast, and enjoying spend time with one another.
“We handled it pretty well,” Nasinec said. “We had a lot of team time. We hung out and had a bonding night, then went home, got our rest and came out ready to play.”
The Cardinals earned the No. 6 seed from the WCD, and open up against one of the tournament’s top seeds.
3A SPSL schools Bonney Lake and Auburn Riverside, and 2A SPSL teams Steilacoom and Franklin Pierce were eliminated by mid-afternoon.
With five state berths available, the path was more difficult for the 3A schools still alive vying for the final spot. They had to win three consecutive games Monday.
Bonney Lake beat Shelton, 5-3, before being taken out by Central Kitsap – 4-1. The Ravens edged Peninsula, 5-4, before they were beaten by Kelso, 4-1.