The Bellarmine Prep Lions never did get Ally Choate out, and it was never more painful than in the seventh inning Wednesday at Yelm.
Yelm never got Alyssa McKiernan out, and in the end chose not to pitch to her at all.
Choate, Yelm’s junior leadoff hitter, came to the plate in the home half of the seventh with two outs, the bases loaded and the Tornados trailing Bellarmine, 8-6. She delivered a sharp two-run single to tie the game, and the Tornados went on to complete a four-run rally and claim a wild 4A Narrows League softball victory, 9-8.
After Choate’s clutch hit, sophomore Jaeden Ells — who had accounted for the Tornados’ first run on a second-inning home run — scored the last and winning run on a wild pitch.
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One inning earlier, Choate (4 for 4 with three RBIs) knocked in a run with a single to tie the game at 5-5. The Lions then took an 8-5 lead in the top of the seventh on three walks — including an intentional pass to McKiernan, who had homered twice — and a two-run single by Haley McMasters.
“We did not make it easy on ourselves,” said Lindsay Walton, in her 11th year as Tornados coach. “We watched way too many good pitches go by.”
Bellarmine coach John McMasters lamented “little things” that made a difference in a close game for his young team.
“I’m super proud of how we fought,” he said.
Through three innings, the Tornados were cruising 4-0, getting one run in the second on Ells’ home run and three more in the third, keyed by Carley Nelson’s two-run single.
Yelm’s sophomore starter, Drea Schwaier, allowed one hit and struck out six through three innings. In the fourth, she allowed a leadoff double by Meg Sullivan, and McKiernan followed with a blast over the center field fence.
Bellarmine grabbed a 5-4 lead in the fifth. Schwaier put two aboard on walks, and was replaced by freshman Tayelyn Cutler. One out later, McKiernan popped her second home run just inside the left field foul pole.
“Bless that girl,” McMasters said of the senior McKiernan, who drove in five runs. “She goes up there with a plan.”
Yelm got base hits from Nelson and Mackinzee Moore and an RBI single from Cutler in the decisive seventh.
Yelm improved to 6-2 overall, 2-0 in 4A Narrows play. Bellarmine fell to 1-4, 0-2 in Narrows.