Hoquiam, Elma in semis; Bulldogs bow out


RICHLAND — An all-Grays Harbor championship game is still possible in the state 1A softball tournament. It will not, however, include seven-time state champion Montesano.

Elma and Hoquiam rode dominating performances into the semifinals with a pair of victories Friday on the opening day of the state 1A tourney at Richland.

With Brooke Goldsmith excelling in both the pitching circle and at the plate, the Eagles crushed Zillah, 8-0, and Seattle Christian, 14-0.

The Grizzlies scored in nine of 13 innings in thumping Okanogan, 13-4, and Warden, 14-4.

Evergreen 1A and district champion Montesano stunningly fell by the wayside. After opening with a 9-0 win over Nooksack Valley, the Bulldogs were upset by Mount Baker, 3-0, and eliminated by Woodland, 10-3.

Hoquiam (19-5) will face Mount Baker in one semifinal at 9 a.m. today. Elma (12-9) takes on three-time defending state champion but graduation-ravaged Connell in the other semi at the same time at the Columbia Playfields.

The semifinal winners advance to the state championship game at 2:30 this afternoon.

Hoquiam 14, Warden 4

Ellie Quercia and Kayla Hilliard each were short only a home run of hitting for the cycle in Hoquiam’s quarterfinal triumph.

Quercia went 4-for-4, with three RBIs. Hillard added three hits and four RBIs, concluding the day with a bases-clearing triple in the sixth inning that implemented the 10-run mercy rule.

Ironically, HHS coach Keith Reynvaan had expressed concern about his team’s hitting entering the tourney.

“We must like the warm weather,” Reynvaan said with a smile. “We’re getting contributions from a lot of different people.”

Guilty of two errors in the top of the first, the Grizzlies spotted the Cougars a 2-0 lead before roaring back.

Quercia’s two-run double in the second inning put Hoquiam on top, 3-2. Warden tied it with a solo run in the third, but the Grizzlies regained the lead in their half of the same inning on a walk to Hannah Hliboki, Kylie Stewart’s single that was also misplayed in the outfield and Katelynn Paladin’s sacrifice fly.

Hilliard’s walk-off triple capped a seven-run sixth inning.

Bailee Bradley pitched her second complete game of the day to collect the win. The junior right-hander struck out six.

“She settled down and started hitting her spots,” Reynvaan said. “And I thought she was throwing harder as the game went on.”

Stewart added two hits to the winning cause.

Elma 14, Seattle Christian 0

The Eagles wasted little time settling the issue and advancing to their first state semifinal since 2005.

Goldsmith opened the game with a single and scored on Peyton Elliott’s RBI single.

The Eagles then erupted for six runs in the second, an inning highlighted by Sydney Smythe’s RBI double and freshman Kaylee Rambo’s two-run single.

Goldsmith hit an inside-the-park home run in the third and followed it up with an outside-the-park three-run homer in the fourth.

The game was shortened to five innings by the mercy rule.

Goldsmith hardly needed all that support. The senior right-hander pitched a two-hitter, striking out eight. She also contributed four hits and five RBIs. Elliott added three hits and Izzy Cristelli two hits for the Eagles.

“Honestly, it’s just about timely hits and we’re getting them,” Elma coach Janene Todd said.

Elma 8, Zillah 0

For a time, it appeared that Goldsmith would throw a literal no-hitter. She struck out the first eight batters she faced.

The Leopards eventually made enough contact to collect four hits, but Goldsmith wound up striking out 14 and walking only two.

Cristelli’s first-inning double knocked in Smythe, who had reached second on a hit-error combination.

Six Zillah errors helped the Eagles pad their total with two runs in the third, three in the fifth and two more in the seventh.

Smythe had an RBI triple among her two hits. Goldsmith doubled and singled.

Hoquiam 13, Okanogan 4

The Grizzlies pounded out 14 hits to back Bradley’s five-hit pitching.

Hilliard delivered three singles and a double, while Quercia and Hliboki added three hits each.

Hoquiam erased a 1-0 deficit with a four-run second inning capped by Quercia’s two-run single. Stewart smacked an RBI triple and Lydia LaLonde added a two-run triple in a four-run third that broke it open.

Makenzie Norwill and Keeley Morris hit back-to-back homers for Okanogan in the fourth inning.

Montesano 9, Nooksack Valley 0

Every Bulldog starter contributed at least one hit in this opening-round contest. Megan Choate, Hannah Jensen, Rayna Ashlock and Lyndsy Quinn had two apiece, with Jensen driving in three runs.

Choate’s two-run double in the second gave Monte a permanent lead.

Madison Didion scattered six hits in going the distance in the circle.

Mount Baker 3, Montesano 0

The Mountaineers did all their scoring in the first inning, as Montesano was betrayed by its normally excellent defense.

Lacey Postlewait’s lead-off single and a pair of errors produced the opening run. Chyanne Ortloff scored the second run on a fielder’s choice and Emily Yost singled up the middle to make it 3-0.

The Bulldogs squandered a pair of early opportunities to retaliate, leaving the bases loaded in the second and third innings. Mount Baker pitcher Aleks Toivola was flawless after that, retiring the final 13 Bulldogs in order, most of those coming on grounders to shortstop Emily Brandland.

Woodland 10, Montesano 3

What some observers had projected as a potential state championship game pairing wound up as a loser-out affair. Woodland, which had dropped a dramatic district semifinal to the Bulldogs on Allysa Gustafson’s two-run walk-off homer in the seventh inning, suffered an even crueler fate in the opening round of state on a two-out walk-off grand slam by Lakeside’s Madi Naccarato.

A four-run third inning put the Beavers in control against Monte.

Gustafson closed the gap with a two-run single in the fourth, but any Bulldog comeback hopes vanished when they again left the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth. Winning pitcher Madison Sorenson had a two-run single and Haylee Michaud a two-run double in Woodland’s half of the sixth.

Choate tripled and scored on Jensen’s double for Montesano’s other run.

“A day of missed opportunities offensively for us,” Bulldog coach Pat Pace reflected. “Too many LOBs.”

Brendan Carl of the Vidette contributed to this report.

 

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