Kamiakin, Richland softball on to state

May 18, 2013 

As the defending Class 3A state softball champions, the Kamiakin Braves are ready for a slug in the gut every once in a while.

Good thing they also know how to counter.

The Braves took a tough-luck 3-0 loss to University for the District 5/8 regional championship Saturday at Columbia Playfields in Richland, watching their title hopes fly away with Hannah Wesselman’s three-run, walk-off home run with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.

But Kamiakin found redemption in the winner-to-state bounce-back game, collecting 13 runs on 19 hits in a 13-3 win over Shadle Park. The Braves trailed 3-2 after 41⁄2 innings before exploding for 11 runs in the top of the sixth, forcing the 10-run mercy rule.

The win earned Kamiakin a sixth consecutive trip to state and the No. 2 seed out of District 5/8. University (18-5) is the No. 1 seed. Both will travel to the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey for the first round of state.

“How did we bounce back? We’ve got senior leadership like crazy. Their experience is incredible, and that makes my job a lot easier,” Kamiakin coach Tim Bisson said. “Before the big inning, Hunter Schneitter said, ‘Let’s hit ’em where they ain’t.’ ”

The oft-used cliché probably was more of a tension reliever than a rallying cry, but the Braves responded in kind by sending 14 batters to the plate over the next 20 minutes.

Jenna Castilleja had two hits and scored twice during the inning, driving in two runs with a double to the right field gap. She finished 5-for-7 on the day.

Six Kamiakin hitters had at least two hits, and all but one either scored or drove in a run.

Standing above them all, however, was Braves junior Carlie Richards, whose uniform was concealed for most of the day by a black windbreaker.

“It’s windy, and I was cold,” Richards said.

Not from the plate, she wasn’t. The fleet center fielder went 4-for-4 with a run scored and five RBIs. Richards drove in Kamiakin’s first run in the top of the first inning, bouncing a single up the middle to drive in Madison Dilger for a 1-0 lead.

Shadle Park got two back in the bottom half of the first and took a 3-1 lead when Edminster’s throwing error allowed Breanna Barnes to score from third.

In the fifth, the Highlanders came close to getting out of the inning unscathed, recording two outs before it began to rain down runs on Shadle.

“We’ve put together some rallies this season, but not like that,” Richards said. “Nobody wanted to be the last out.”

And nobody was, since the mercy rule was invoked before the third out was recorded.

3A District 5/8 tournament

Championship (winner No. 1 to state)

Kamiakin 000 000 0 — 0 4 0

University 000 000 3 — 3 7 0

Hecker and Awbery; Kate Austin and Tawny Becker. Highlights—Jenna Castilleja (K) 2x3; Hannah Wesselman (U) 3-run walk-off homer.

Elimination (winner No. 2 to state, loser out)

Kamiakin 100 01(11) — 13 19 1

Shadle Park 200 10x — 3 6 1

Brittany Gately and Leslie Jones; Jessica Edminster and Becker. Highlights—Carlie Richards (K) 4x4, 2B, R, 5 RBI; Madison Dilger (K) 3x5, 2B, 3B, 2R, 2 RBI; Emily Benson (K) 2x4, R, RBI; Edminster (K) 2x3, R; Castilleja (K) 3x4, 2B, 2R, 2 RBI; Cylie Richards (K) 2R, RBI; Becker (K) 2B, 2R, 2 RBI; Hayes (SP) 2x3, R, RBI; Jones (SP) RBI: Barnes (SP) R.

4A District 5⁄8 tournament: Paige Goulet was a spent young woman Saturday at Columbia Playfields.

Not only did she spend about six hours under the energy-draining sun, she also faced down 14 innings’ worth of the best hitters in eastern Washington.

Still, after helping Richland make the Class 4A state tournament for the fourth year in a row, her smile had enough wattage to power a small city.

“Going into today, we had a lot of determination,” Goulet said. “I’m just so excited right now.”

After mowing down Mead with a two-hit, 3-0 shutout, the Bombers’ senior hurler thought Kayla Andrews would get the start against Walla Walla, a team that beat Richland for the Mid-Columbia Conference district championship last week.

But Bombers coach Casey Emery decided to keep the ball in Goulet’s hand.

“I looked around in the dugout and told everybody, ‘I’m going to give Paige the ball in Game 2,’ and everybody nodded,” Emery said.

The move paid off, as Goulet limited the Blue Devils to three runs on six hits in a 12-3 victory. The Bombers found their next gear at the plate, scoring 10 runs in the top of the fifth inning to erase a 3-2 deficit.

“We were not going to lose at our house. We all supported each other,” said Abby Perryman, who went 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs against Wa-Hi after a 2-for-4 showing against Mead.

If Andrews was bothered by her missed start, she didn’t show it. In fact, she was one of the most vocal players in the dugout even before Richland began to roll. And she delivered one of the biggest hits of the day, a three-run triple that opened the floodgates for the Bombers, giving them a 5-3 lead.

“I’m not the fastest runner, but that’s all I was thinking,” Andrews said of her three-bagger. “It was just loud (in the dugout). We used everything as motivation.”

Stephanie Merwin, a freshman shortstop for Richland, blasted a two-run home run just two batters into the game. It was a great start for the Bombers, and a harbinger of things to come. Merwin finished 3-for-3 with three runs and two RBIs.

Walla Walla, which finished no worse than third in each of the last four years — including a state title in 2011 — might have been worse for wear after a back-and-forth 8-6 championship loss to Central Valley, which earned the No. 1 seed to state.

“We didn’t have a lot of momentum. I thought we did a great job battling back,” Blue Devils coach Kate Keyes said. “We asked a lot of (pitcher) Ellie (Rassbach). Her pitch count got up over 300.”

The Bombers will open state play on Friday at Merkel Sports Complex in Spokane.

4A District 5/8 tournament

Elimination

Mead 000 000 0 — 0 2 0

Richland 210 001 x — 4 8 0

Beloved and Kinder; Paige Goulet and April Utecht. Highlights—Abby Perryman (R) 2x4, RBI; Utecht (R) 2x3, R; Kayla Andrews (R) RBI, Monika Hebky (R) RBI; Reilly Bramlett (R) RBI, R; Stephanie Merwin (R) R.

Championship (winner No. 1 to state)

Central Valley 001 013 3 — 8 10 2

Walla Walla 001 113 0 — 6 8 2

Riordan and McCoy; Ellie Rassbach and Kendsey Hill. Highlights—Richardson (CV) 2x4; Sdao (CV) 3x3, HR; Ford (CV) 2x3; Madelyne Aichele (WW) 2x3; Hill (WW) 2x3, 2B; Mattie Smyth (WW) HR; Kate Ferenz (WW) HR.

Elimination (winner No. 2 to state, loser out)

Walla Walla 300 000 0 — 3 6 0

Richland 200 0(10)0 0 — 12 8 0

Rassbach, Brandi Schoessler (6) and Hill; Goulet and Utecht. Highlights—Perryman (R) 3x4, 3B, 3R, 2 RBI; Merwin (R) 3x3, HR, 3R, 2 RBI; Andrews (R) 3-run 3B; Goulet (R) 1BB, 2 Ks; Jacie McDaniels (WW) 2x3, R.

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