No lead in Puyallup is safe.
Not the six-run lead the Puyallup High School softball team had. And almost not Rogers’ subsequent nine-run lead after a 15-run fifth inning.
Yes, a 15-run fifth.
Have you been part of a game like that in more than a decade of coaching, Rogers coach Jaclyn Ramsey?
“Never,” she said.
How about you, in your 25 years, Puyallup coach Tony Batinovich?
“I can’t say I have,” he said.
But in the end No. 3 Rogers held on for the 15-12 victory on Tuesday in the rain-soaked mud bowl that became Heritage Park against No. 9 Puyallup to take a giant step toward ending the Vikings’ reign atop the 4A South Puget Sound League.
Rogers (12-1; 12-0 4A SPSL) went three years without beating Puyallup (12-3; 11-2) and now has two wins over their city and league rivals in two games season. The Vikings last year reached the 4A state semifinals.
Now the Rams have a two-game lead in the league standings with four 4A SPSL games remaining before the 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict playoffs.
And with No. 2 Auburn Mountainview losing its first game of the season, 11-10, against Auburn Riverside, Rogers should vault back up to No. 2 in The News Tribune’s 4A state rankings behind unbeaten Woodinville.
“It was definitely crazy,” Rogers senior Tayler Dawes said. “Four innings of being down and scoring 15 runs in one inning – that’s pretty crazy.
“That was something. We had a lot of confidence coming into this game. We are really tight knit this year, great chemistry, great team, great talent – but I don’t think we expected it to come out like that. That felt really good.”
Puyallup was looking like the three-time league champ that it is, taking a 6-0 lead through four innings and reigning 4A SPSL South pitcher of the year Kennedy Robillard mowing Rogers’ hitters down. The Rams had one hit entering the fifth.
Puyallup had the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the fifth inning and if all those runs would have scored, the Vikings might have won via mercy rule.
Then the comeback.
Rogers had 15 consecutive batters reach base – all with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Raigan Barrett, a University of Washington commit as the Rams’ freshman shortstop, started the scoring with an RBI double.
Then there was Dawes’ two-RBI single to make it 6-3. Rachel Wicker followed two batters later with a bases-loaded triple to tie it up.
Next batter: Ana Culver gave the Rams a 7-6 lead on an RBI single. Then there were four consecutive walks before Barrett made her second at bat and drove in two more runs on a single. 10-6.
Batinovich decided to pull Robillard for Sydney Booth with a stat line of 4 1/3 innings pitched, six hits, 12 runs – none earned – two strikeouts and five walks. Puyallup committed six errors.
“They just hit the ball, hit the ball, hit the ball,” Batinovich said. “We made a couple of mistakes, but they are a really good hitting team, 1-through-9. They really are.
“I think (Robillard) just got behind the batters a little bit and they started hitting her. I don’t think I ever would have saw that. I guess it happens to everybody once. Hopefully that’s our only time.”
But Rogers wasn’t done. The Rams almost went from being 10-runed to nearly 10-running Puyallup to this coming down to the final at-bat.
The Rams had back-to-back-to-back singles to make it 13-6, Culver had her second run-scoring hit of the inning to make it 15-6 and Rogers still had runners at second and third with one out before Booth ended the inning with consecutive strikeouts. One more run would have ended the game.
Dawes had fired up her team in the dugout prior to the hit barrage.
“I was like, ‘So what if it’s Puyallup?’” Dawes said. “I was like, ‘We’ve scored 20 runs in one game before.’”
Barrett, Dawes, Wicker and Culver combined to drive in 12 of Rogers’ 15 runs. Each had three RBIs.
But Rogers was really wishing it had scored just one more run in that fifth inning.
Because then Puyallup scored five runs in the sixth inning to make it 15-11. Then made it 15-12 with one out on Megan Ditty’s RBI single.
KJ Ulrey followed with a double, but drifted too far off the bag at second and Rogers got her diving back to the bag for the second out.
Puyallup still had the tying run at the plate when Britney Carey, who had three RBIs already, entered the batter’s box with two outs and runners on the corners. But Barrett made a clean play on a ground ball to her at shortstop to end the game.
“They wanted it super bad and they wanted to come and get it done,” Ramsey said.
“I’ve had teams that can hit 1-through-9. And we’ve been right behind Puyallup either second or third in this league. There’s just an excitement. Everything seems to be fresh and new and fun and we enjoy each other.”
Rogers might have the loudest dugout in the league, too.
“We’re super goofy,” Dawes said, accurately. “We have a loud dugout and we are really tight knit this year. Great chemistry, great team, great talent.
“I think we should be first in the state, but that’s just me. I know we can do it. I know we have the talent. Fifteen runs in one inning against as strong team? We definitely have the ability to do it.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677