After needing a late rally to knock off three-time defending champion Connell in the semifinals, Brooke Goldsmith knew she and her Elma teammates had to flip the script in the championship game.
It took all of one pitch to do that.
Goldsmith smacked a triple off the right-center field wall on the first pitch of the game and Elma never looked back in a 6-1 win over Mount Baker on its way to the Class 1A state title Saturday at Columbia Playfield.
“No one wanted to be down,” said Goldsmith, who finished with two hits and an RBI. “We love coming out and hitting first and jumping on teams quick.”
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Goldsmith was the beneficiary of those runs, as she pitched a complete game to earn the win. She allowed just two singles and struck out 10. She retired the last 12 batters she faced and did not allow a base runner after giving up a lead-off single to Aleks Toivola in the fourth inning.
“She played great all weekend,” said coach Janene Todd. “I think scoring those early runs really settled her down.”
Just to get to the championship game, Elma had to slay Connell, a task that hadn’t been done in the previous three state tournaments.
But thanks to a two-run home run by Izzy Cristelli in the bottom of the seventh inning to cap a three-run rally to tie the score 5, Elma stayed alive. The Eagles then scored the winning in the bottom of the eighth to advance and end Connell’s quest for a fourth straight title.
“We don’t like to play from behind,” Todd said. “It was a different feeling today.”
Goldsmith’s leadoff triple in the title game sparked a two-run inning first inning. Elma added single runs in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh inning, capped by a monster home run by Cristelli over the left-center field fence and into the parking lot.
“This is the best feeling ever,” Todd said. “In the past when we have been here we couldn’t get that big win. This year was different. It is different mentality than I have seen before.”
Mount Baker, which used a late rally to get past Hoquiam in its semifinal game, scored it lone run of the game in the first inning on an RBI single by Emma Lallas.
Connell comes up short
Connell’s bid for a fourth straight title ended with a semifinal loss to eventual champion Elma.
The Eagles scored a run in the top of the seventh inning to take a 5-2 advantage, but Elma scored three in the bottom of the seventh inning, including Cristelli’s two-run home run to tie the game.
McKenna Mathis went 3-for-4 and scored two runs, and Savannah Egbert added two hits and two RBIs in the loss.
The Eagles could not rebound with a chance to reach the third/fourth place game, falling 10-0 in six innings to Woodland in a loser-out game. Woodland went on to beat Hoquiam 9-4 to take third place.
Connell managed just one hit and did not get a runner past second base in the loss.
Elma 201 011 1 — 6 9 1
Mt. Baker 100 000 0 — 1 2 3
Goldsmith and Elliott. Toivola and Ortloff. Highlights --E: Goldsmith 10k, 2x4 RBI; Sydney Smythe 2x4 2 runs RBI; Ashley Cooper 2x3 RBI; MB: Toivola 1B; Lallas 1B.