Monte, Hoquiam and Elma all headed to state softball tourney

CENTRALIA — Three Grays Harbor 1A softball teams will make the trek to Richland for the state 1A tournament next week after finishing second through fourth at the District IV Class Tournament on Saturday at Centralia.

Montesano, already assured of a state berth by virtue of two wins on Wednesday, became the first team in just under two months to score earned runs on Woodland, but fell, 5-2, in the district title game.

Hoquiam and Elma each won winner-to-state, loser-out contests earlier in the day, with the Grizzlies upending the Eagles, 8-2, in the third-place seeding game.

All four district-to-state qualifiers will learn who they’ll face in the opening round of the state tournament later today.

Beavers 5, Bulldogs 2

On March 26, Woodland knocked off Toledo-Winlock, 17-1, and this was the start of a nearly two-month streak of no earned runs allowed by the Beavers — one month, three weeks, two days and 15 games.

In the bottom of the first inning, Courtney Swan broke the streak with a first-pitch solo home run to left-center field. This trimmed Montesano’s early deficit to 2-1 and would represent the closest the perennial state qualifiers got to Woodland in the game.

“Hopefully, (we’ve) proven that (the girls) can play with anyone and that is something we’ll need when we go to state,” Montesano head coach Pat Pace said. “We’re going to see some tough competition and possibly see Woodland again.”

Three bloop hits in the top of the first inning allowed the Beavers to take a quick 2-0 lead off Bulldog starter Madison Didion. Woodland’s Makayla Lefever didn’t need much more than that, striking out seven and holding Montesano hitless from the second through the fifh innings.

“Lefever did a very good job of hitting the black (of the plate) with her pitches,” Pace added. “The girls were not responding to the outside pitch and that threw us off. We were trying to be too selective, thinking that she’d miss. I thought (Woodland) did a good job of fouling off Maddie’s pitches. Take the first inning out, we played with them. A key to keeping Woodland quiet was (Didion). She did a great job in this district tournament of keeping batters off-balance.”

Didion shook off the opening salvo and gamely fought off Woodland’s batters to keep the game close enough for a rally. An infield error plated one run for a 3-1 Beaver lead and Didion escaped a big inning when center fielder Bobbi Fry threw out a runner at home plate in the fourth inning.

Down 5-1, Montesano’s best chance for a big rally came in the sixth. With one out, Fry and Makenzi Howard slugged singles and Swan drew a walk to load the bases. Lefever knuckled down and got a strikeout and a groundout to strand the runners.

In the seventh, Lyndsy Quinn ended the scoring with an RBI double, scoring Megan Choate.

Grizzlies 8, Eagles 2

A momentum-altering, two-out rally in the third inning lifted Hoquiam past the emotionally drained Elma in the third-fourth place seeding game. Ellie Quercia drove in four runs and Jessica Madison put forth a solid pitching performance in the victory.

With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, tied at 2-2, Kayla Hilliard hit a single up the middle. Bailee Bradley followed with a single of her own, this one into left field. Then Quercia smashed a double to the left field fence, scoring Hilliard and Bradley and giving Hoquiam a 4-2 lead. The hit was Quercia’s second two-run double of the game.

In the fourth inning, Hoquiam provided itself some cushion. After back-to-back singles by Chelsy Stewart and Ashlynn Wakefield, Hilliard and Bradley hit back-to-back home runs, pushing the Grizzlies lead to a comfortable 8-2.

“Jessica (Madison) pitched great. That was the best game she’s pitched all year,” Hoquiam head coach Keith Reynvaan said. “The defense played well behind (our pitchers) and we hit the ball. I was really happy with the kids in all three phases of the game. None of the wins were easy. I was still sweating, but today, we hit the ball really well.”

Madison threw all seven innings for Hoquiam, allowing two runs on four hits.

“They’re definitely not the same team that played in the first game (against Rochester),” Elma head coach Janene Todd said of her players. “I believe they were tired. I don’t like to make excuses at all, but the first game was so emotional and stressful that maybe we settled because we’re still going to state. At this point, I’ll take that.”

Regan Wollen drove in Elma’s only two runs. In her first at-bat, the senior catcher hit a line-drive home run — the team’s eighth homer of the tourney — over the center field fence. She also hit a double into left-center field in her second at-bat, scoring Brooke Goldsmith.

Goldsmith relieved starting pitcher Ashley Cooper in the fourth inning and pitched well for the Eagles down the stretch. The senior did not allow a hit in the final 2 2/3 innings to a Grizzly team that had managed 10 hits in the first 3 1/3.

Eagles 14, Warriors 6

After falling behind early, Elma dug deep and found its groove in a morning game on Saturday. A three-run home run by Izzy Cristelli helped spark an eight-run fourth inning in an exhausting, but decisive, win over Rochester that earned the Eagles a spot in the state tournament.

Goldsmith and Sydney Smythe led off the fourth inning with back-to-back singles. Wollen followed with a single into left field that plated Goldsmith. Then Cristelli hit a three-run homer over the left-field fence, cutting the Warriors lead to 5-4, and breathing new life into the Eagles.

The hits kept coming after Cristelli’s blast. Stacia Burbidge and Kayla Pacheco each hit a single. Burbridge then scored on a grounder by Cooper. Shayla Shumate reached on a fielding error and Pacheco scored on the play, giving Elma its first lead of the game, 6-5. Goldsmith followed by crushing a no-doubter over the center-field fence, putting the Eagles up 8-5.

“We have been coming out slow with our bats,” Todd said. “Once through the line-up, and then we start coming out. We need to pick it up at state. We can’t wait that late in the game to start getting hits, so we’re hoping to change that.”

The Eagles overcame multiple distractions in the win. After Cristelli’s home run in the fourth inning, Rochester attempted to relieve its pitcher, Jaelin Lancaster, with a player who had already been subbed out in the second inning, Kami McElwain. The officiating crew did not notice the mistake, but Todd did. The conversation between the umpires, coaches and tournament director about the illegal substitution led to a lengthy delay in the middle of Elma’s rally.

Grizzlies 9, Wildcats 3

Hoquiam didn’t waste time getting up and running in this winner-to-state, loser-out contest with La Center. Starting pitcher Bradley slugged a two-run home run in the top of the first inning on the first pitch she saw from La Center’s Emily Muffett.

The Grizzlies bolted out to a 7-0 lead through the first 5 1/2 innings and shuffled their lineup to get some work in for the reserves through the final 1 1/2 innings.

Madison plated one run and Sam King drove in the first of game-high three RBI in the second inning for a 4-0 lead. Ashlynn Wakefield made it 5-0 with an RBI single in the third and Sam King stroked a solo home run deep to left field in the fourth.

King made it 7-0 on an RBI single to center field in the sixth.

Bradley cruised through La Center’s lineup, scattering two hits before Kayla Aguirre snapped the shutout with a solo home run to left field.

An infield error and a Madison sacrifice fly ended Hoquiam’s scoring in the seventh. La Center added two runs in the bottom of the seventh before shortstop Ellie Quercia executed an unassisted double play to end the game.

Wood 210 200 0 — 5 9 0 Monte 100 000 1 — 2 5 2

Lefever and Tesdale; Didion and Swan.

RBI: Woodland — Sorenson, Pilkington, Tesdale, Lefever, Michaud. Montesano — Swan, Quinn. Two hits: Woodland — Pilkington, Michaud. Home runs: Montesano — Swan. Doubles: Woodland — Dyson, Michaud. Montesano — Quinn.

Winning pitcher — Lefever (nine strikeouts, one walk). Losing pitcher — Didion (one strikeout, one walk).

Elm 101 000 0 — 2 4 0 Hoq 202 400 x — 8 10 0

Cooper, Goldsmith (4) and Wollen; Madison and King.

RBl: Elma — Wollen 2; Hoquiam – Quercia 4, Hilliard 3, Bradley. Three hits: Hoquiam — Hilliard. Two hits: Elma —Wollen; Hoquiam – Bradley, Quercia, Wakefield. Home runs: Elma – Wollen. Hoquiam — Bradley, Hilliard. Doubles: Elma – Wollen; Hoquiam – Quercia 2.

Winning pitcher — Madison (walked one; struck out four). Losing pitcher — Cooper (walked two; struck out one).

Elma 000 805 1 — 14 17 0 Roch 302 000 1 – 6 9 3

Cooper, Goldsmith (4) and Wollen; Lancaster and Glacken.

RBl: Elma — Cristelli 3, Goldsmith 3, Wollen 3, Cooper, Smythe, Wilson; Rochester – Seymour 4, Baird, Glacken. Four hits: Elma – Smythe. Three hits: Elma – Goldsmith. Two hits: Elma – Cristelli, Pacheco, Wilson, Wollen; Rochester – Baird, Seymour. Home runs: Elma – Cristelli, Goldsmith, Wilson, Wollen. Rochester – Glacken, Seymour. Doubles: Elma — Wilson; Rochester – Baird.

Winning pitcher — Golssmith (walked two; struck out five). Losing pitcher — Lancaster (walked none; struck out three).

Hoq 221 101 2 — 9 11 3 LaC 000 001 2 — 3 7 4

Bradley and King; Muffett and Zumstein.

RBI: Hoquiam — Bradley 2, Wakefield, LaLonde, Madison 2, King 3. La Center — Smith, Aquire. Two hits: Hoquiam — Bradley, Wakefield, Paladin, King. La Center — Aguire. Home runs: Hoquiam — Bradley, King. La Center — Aguire. Doubles: Hoquiam — LaLonde. La Center — Muffett.

Winning pitcher — Bradley (two strikeouts, one walk). Losing pitcher — Muffett (one strikeout, two walks).