Gateway: Sports

Gig Harbor softball falls short against Yelm, Richland at 4A state tournament

Gig Harbor catcher Kirah Saice hits a double in the first inning against Central Valley in Spokane on Friday.
Gig Harbor catcher Kirah Saice hits a double in the first inning against Central Valley in Spokane on Friday. Staff writer

The Central Valley High softball team didn’t stand a chance once Gig Harbor High School’s junior ace Jordan Adams got going.

Adams allowed two runs over seven innings Friday in the opening round of the Class 4A state softball tournament, striking out 13 batters in a complete-game effort as the Tides won, 11-3.

“I try to start off strong and start ahead, get into an 0-2 count and throw something off,” Adams said. “I just did my thing. I try to be very powerful and take control of the game, get in their heads.”

Adams said she visualized striking out batters on the drive over to the Merkel Sports Complex in Spokane.

“I’ve been working so hard,” Adams said. “All this hard work is paying off.”

Gig Harbor coach Kara Dressel was impressed with Adams’ effort.

“She came out firing,” she said. “She was throwing hard the whole game. She was messing with them. They hadn’t seen her curveball. She’s got a nasty curveball; it can rise on you, drop on you, move through the zone.”

Dressel is used to watching Adams dominate by now.

“She’s (averaging) pretty close to two strikeouts every inning for this season,” Dressel said. “She was our MVP for the league, first team all-area. She’s a strikeout pitcher.”

Gig Harbor (19-9) exploded in the bottom of the sixth, scoring six runs in the inning. The Tides scored on an RBI double by Tessa Waage, a sacrifice fly by Bailey Werner, an RBI double by Kirah Saice, a two-run home run by Abbie Hutton and a solo homer by Lauren Forseth. Hutton finished the game 3-for-4 with the home run, a double and a single.

“(Hutton) did a great job,” Dressel said. “She had to make some adjustments — she stayed back on the changeup and lit into that curveball.”

Adams appreciated the run support.

“My team is just phenomenal,” Adams said. “They really support me, which means so much. We really mesh well as a team. It’s just amazing. It’s all a pitcher can ask for, getting those runs.”

Gig Harbor got contributions from the entire lineup, top to bottom.

“It’s great,” Dressel said. “It keeps the pressure off everyone else. We put the bunts down early on in the game. We really executed well.”

YELM 9, GIG HARBOR 5

Gig Harbor went on to lose its next game, 9-5 to league rival Yelm (24-6), which won the Narrows 4A regular season title. Up 5-4 in the top of the seventh, Gig Harbor was three outs away from advancing to the state semifinals, but everything went wrong.

A leadoff double from junior Carley Nelson got the rally started, and it snowballed from there Friday night in the 4A state quarterfinal. The Tornados knocked in five runs in the top of the seventh inning to steal the game from the Tides at the Merkel Sports Complex.

“Our team has a lot of heart,” said Yelm coach Lindsay Walton. “They just never stop. We’ve had a few games early in our regular season where we had to score almost four runs early in the game. We know we can do it, we just never give up. Gig Harbor is a good team. We knew going into this game that it was going to be a dogfight.”

With two runners on in the seventh and trailing by a run, Yelm freshman catcher Taylor Gubser delivered a two-run single to give Yelm the 6-5 lead. The Tornados didn’t look back, batting around the order during the seventh-inning outburst.

Gig Harbor went on to lose its next game to Richland on Friday night, 13-3, which eliminated the Tides from the tournament.

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