Enumclaw High School made three trips to the 3A state softball tournament, never claiming the big trophy.
The Hornets’ final try ended harshly, with Meadowdale recording a run-rule, 10-0 victory in the sixth inning Saturday at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.
Yet, coach Mike Eckhart says the legacy left by the Hornets’ four seniors — Quinn Breidenbach, Rechelle Dunn, Demi Schmidt and Hailie Webster — is secure.
“They are by far the best team that’s come through Enumclaw,” Eckhart said. “Look at the run they’ve had. They won the SPSL four years in a row, District 3 four years in a row. It hurts right now, but in a month, they’ll appreciate what they did. They set an incredible mark.”
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The Hornets finished 2016 with a 21-2 record, the only losses to 4A power Tahoma in an early nonleague game and Saturday to Meadowdale
Breidenbach, who starred both in the circle and at the plate throughout the Hornets’ first three tournament games, struck out nine Mavericks — including six in the first two innings — but in between the Wesco South champions (24-3) hit the ball hard.
With a strong wind blowing out toward center field, Meadowdale shortstop Lauren Wallace crushed a three-run homer well past the fence with one out in the first. The Mavericks kept the inning going until they batted around and scored six runs thanks to a run-scoring double by Samantha Gregoryk and a two-run single by lead-off batter Kaitlyn Webster.
“Those kids flat-out hit the ball,” said Eckhart. “You saw all nine batters come up to the plate and attack the ball.”
Catcher Emma Helm provided most of the late game heroics for Meadowdale.
After Breidenbach retired nine of 10 batters, the Mavericks broke through again in the fourth. Julia Reuble reached on an error and trotted home in front of Helm, whose homer to center landed in about the same spot as Wallace’s earlier blast.
Gregoryk doubled home a run in the fifth to put Meadowdale up 9-0, setting up a two-out double by Helm the following inning to score Reuble for the winning run.
Enumclaw managed just four base runners, and only three made it as far as second base. Emma Gardner doubled in the third and Hailey Roberts doubled in the sixth.
Enumclaw reached the championship game with a 2-1 semifinal victory over Everett earlier on Saturday.
Breidenbach held the Seagulls to three hits, striking out eight, and belted her fourth home run of the tournament to get the Hornets off to a 1-0 start in the top of the first. Everett tied it in the bottom of the second, but in the sixth Breidenbach led off with a walk and scored on a single by Dunn.