CENTRALIA — The streak continues for Montesano softball.
This time, East County rival Elma was the opponent the Bulldogs beat to extend their consecutive state-tournament appearance record.
Montesano scored nine unanswered runs off Elma ace Brooke Goldsmith to secure its 16th consecutive state tournament berth with a 10-1 District IV Class 1A victory at Borst Park in Centralia on Wednesday.
Montesano (13-7), the No. 3 seed out of the Evergreen 1A League, will take on Trico League champion Woodland (21-1) in the district title game at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Beavers rolled past Hoquiam, 10-0, in six innings, in the other semifinal game.
Hoquiam and Elma will play in winner-to-state games Saturday morning in separate contests — Grizzlies vs. LaCenter and Eagles vs. Rochester — at 11 o’clock. The winners will play in a third-fourth place seeding game concurrently with the district title game.
Montesano had opened the tourney with a 16-0 rout of La Center. Hoquiam scored twice in the seventh inning to nip Kalama, 6-5, and Elma had crushed Toledo-Winlock in three innings, 17-2/
Bulldogs 10, Eagles 1
The Bulldogs downed their East County rivals after Elma had swept the Evergreen 1A series.
“We’ve been in the same situation before, where we tried to beat a team a third time after winning the first two games (which Elma did this season),” Montesano head coach Pat Pace said. “It is always hard. We showed that today. With the East County rivalry, there is always a lot of excitement, a lot of action. The girls came in pumped and prepared for it. We didn’t expect that (score).”
Montesano sophomore Madison Didion and Elma junior Brooke Goldsmith each threw well in the first two innings of this contest.
The Bulldogs stranded two runners in scoring position after a Courtney Swan RBI single for a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The Eagles’ Sydney Smythe slugged a solo home run in the top of the third inning to tie the game at 1-all.
After that, Montesano got to Goldsmith, who showed signs of arm fatigue as the game progressed.
Bobbi Fry and Staci Schneider each had singles to brace a Makenzi Howard infield fielder’s choice to load the bases with one out. On an 0-2 pitch, Justine Nuckols slugged a two-run single to break the tie at 3-1. LeeAnn Rhoden followed with an RBI single to left field for a 4-1 lead.
Goldsmith, who was seen holding her right arm with concern on her face after Nuckols’ two-run single, got out of another one-out, bases-loaded jam to escape damage in the third. However, Montesano struck harder in the fourth inning.
The Bulldogs pushed six runs across in the frame on clutch hits and a double steal. Swan got the run-scoring binge going with a two-run single to bring home Fry and Howard. Nuckols added another RBI single later on, finished with three, along with Swan.
Schneider came home on a double steal, when Nuckols stopped halfway between first and second base on a stolen base attempt to start a rundown and allow Schneider to score. Pua Cavanah and Howard each added a two-out RBI single to end the scoring.
With a 10-1 lead, Didion knuckled down and got nine consecutive outs in the final three innings against Elma (18-3) batters. Elma’s Ashley Cooper replaced Goldsmith in the fifth inning and got six straight outs in her two innings of work.
“Timely hits are the things we didn’t have the first two times we faced (Elma),” Pace said. “Mentally, the team has been preparing for this. This is the team we knew we had all season. We were able to put all of the right pieces together and accomplished what we started to do. The streak continues.”
Elma head coach Janene Todd refused comment following the game.
Grizzlies 6, Chinooks 5
Hoquiam (15-5) barely kept itself alive in this district opener against Kalama with clutch hits at just the right time and a pitching change that slowed down the opposition.
Trailing 5-4 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, the Grizzly offense woke up. Bailee Bradley, who came in in relief of starter Jessica Madison in the fourth inning, led off the frame with a single to left field and continued to second on a fielding error.
Pinch-hitter Hannah Hliboki followed with an RBI single of her own to tie the game at 5-5. Ashlynn Wakefield added to the hit parade with a first-pitch single to center field to move Hliboki into scoring position at second.
Madison picked up a bit of redemption by slugging an 0-2 pitch into left field for the game-winning RBI, scoring Hliboki from second, to advance Hoquiam into the semifinals.
Before the seventh-inning dramatics, Hoquiam stranded eight runners, four of them in scoring position, in the first six innings and scattered nine hits against Kalama pitcher Morgan VanRiper.
Kalama led 2-0 in the third when Bradley single-handedly gave Hoquiam the lead in the bottom of the third inning — a three-run home run off VanRiper, scoring Chelsy Stewart and Brandi Creviston.
Bulldogs 16, Wildcats 0 (5)
Schneider led the Bulldogs with three hits, including a three-run home run, and five RBIs to help Montesano to a five-inning, opening-round win. Schneider’s homer came in a five-run fourth inning.
Didion and Schneider combined for a two-hitter in the circle, striking out eight collectively and faced just 16 total batters. Didion picked up the win as the starter.
Swan and Nuckols each had two hits, with Swan driving in three runs, and Megan Choate drove in two runs.
Beavers 10, Grizzlies 0
Impressive Woodland pitcher Makayla Lefever struck out 11 while the Beavers scored in every inning of a semifinal game shortened to six innings by the 10-run mercy rule.
A right-hander who throws high heat, Lefever spent much of the drizzly afternoon blowing her fastball past the Grizzlies. Hoquiam mustered six hits, but four were bunt singles (two by Chelsy Stewart). Katelynn Paladin had the other two hits — a looping double in the second inning and a clean single to center in the sixth.
“I guess you could say we played good enough to win (against Kalama), but we met our match with their pitcher in the (Woodland) game,” HHS coach Keith Reynvaan said. “We would get people on base, but she bowed her neck and was all business out there. I know we can play better.”
Emily Tesdale led the Beaver attack with three hits and three RBIs. Her double off the right fielder’s glove in the first inning drove in Emma Pilkington, who had singled, to open the scoring.
Eagles 17, Toledo-Winlock 2
Goldsmith slugged home runs in each of the first two innings and drove in six runs as the Eagles made short work of the Toledo-Winlock combine. This game was shortened to four innings by the 15-run mercy rule.
The Elma junior wasted little time making her mark. She blasted a home run to left field leading off the first inning.
The Eagles added a second run later in the inning when Stacia Burbidge followed Izzy Cristelli’s double with an RBI triple to right field.
Goldsmith’s three-run homer to center highlighted a four-run Eagle second. Elma added nine more in the third, with Goldsmith contributing a two-run single and Toledo-Winlock committing six errors.
Cooper pitched a four-hitter to collect the victory.
Elm 001 000 0 — 1 6 0 Mon 103 600 x — 10 14 1
Goldsmith, Cooper (5) and Wollen; Didion and Swan.
RBI: Elma — S. Smythe. Montesano — Howard, Swan 3, Nuckols 3, Rhodes, Cavanah. Four hits: Montesano — Fry. Three hits: Montesano — Howard. Two hits: Elma — Smythe. Montesano — Swan, Nuckols. Home run: Elma — S. Smythe. Double: Montesano — Fry.
Winning pitcher — Didion (three strikeouts). Losing pitcher — Goldsmith (four strikeouts, three walks).
Kal 101 210 0 — 5 9 1 Hoq 003 100 2 — 6 13 2
VanRiper and Vanoni; Madison, Bradley (4) and King.
RBI: Kalama — Armstrong. Hoquiam — Quercia, Bradley 3, Paladin, Madison. Four hits: Hoquiam — Bradley. Three hits: Hoquiam — Wakefield. Two hits: Kalama — Armstrong, Mickelson, Hoggatt. Hoquiam — Madison, C. Stewart. Home run: Hoquiam — Bradley. Triple: Hoquiam — C. Stewart. Doubles: Kalama — Armstrong 2.
Winning pitcher — Bradley (three strikeouts, one walk). Losing pitcher — VanRiper (six strikeouts, one walk).
Mon 143 53 — 16 12 0 LaC 000 00 — 0 2 4
Didion, Schneider (4) and Swan; Muffett, Weaver (4) and Zumstein.
RBI: Montesano — Fry, Swan 3, Nuckols, Schneider 5, Choate 2, Cavanah, Cairone. Three hits: Montesano — Schneider. Two hits: Montesano — Swan, Nuckols. Home run: Montesano — Schneider. Doubles: Montesano — Schneider, CHoate, Cairone, Swan.
Winning pitcher — Didion (six strikeouts). Losing pitcher — Muffett (three walks).
T-W 002 0 — 2 4 7 Elma 249 2 — 17 12 0
Davidson, Smith (3) and Alvord; Cooper and Wollen.
RBI: Toledo-Winlock — Robins, McGeary. Elma — Goldsmith 6, S. Smythe, Wollen, Cristelli, Burbidge, Shannon, Cooper.
Three hits: Elma — Goldsmith. Two hits: Toledo-Winlock — Robins, McGeary. Elma — Cristelli, Wollen. Home runs: Elma — Goldsmith 2. Triples: Elma — Burbidge. Doubles: Toledo-Winlock — Robins. Elma — Cristelli 2, Wollen, Shannon.
Winning pitcher — Cooper (walked one; struck out five). Losing pitcher — Davidson (walked three; struck out one).
Wood 211 321 — 10 13 0 Hoq 000 000 — 0 6 2
Lefever and Tesdale; Bradley, Hliboki (6) and King.
RBI: Woodland — Tesdale 3, Lefever 2, Flanagan, Sorenson, Grell, Michaud, Trice. Three hits: Woodland — Tesdale. Two hits: Woodland — Lefever. Hoquiam — Stewart, Paladin. Doubles: Woodland — Tesdale 2, Lefever. Hoquiam — Paladin.
Winning pitcher — Lefever (walked none; struck out 11). Losing pitcher — Bradley (walked one; struck out three).