The Friday Harbor softball team is state tournament bound on the heels of arguably its best game of the year.
The Wolverines jumped out to a four-run advantage, led 7-1 midway through the fourth, fought off a rally by an arch-rival and added three more runs for icing on the cake en route to a state-berth clinching 10-6 victory over Northwest 2B/1B League runner-up La Conner, May 21, in the District 1 championship game at Stanwood High School.
On fire at the plate, the Wolverines weren’t half-bad in the field either, Head Coach Brian Lambright said.
“They played their first error-less game of the year,” Lambright said of the team’s defensive prowess. “Lili Wood made some great plays at third and everyone was reacting to the ball like just it was second-nature. That’s the payoff for all the practice and hard work they put in.”
With the win, the Wolverines (15-6) ousted the perennially state tournament bound Braves from post-season play and sealed its first appearance at State in four years. In 2011, former head Coach Kevin Carlton’s final season at the helm, the Wolverines competed in the Division 1A state tournament. The 2015 team’s state title bid will be as a 2B team.
Friday Harbor opens play in the 16-team, 2B state tournament May 29, in Yakima. Their opening-round opponent had yet to be determined as of the Journal’s Friday press deadline.
Although it’s a double-elimination format, the tournament demands four consecutive win of the team that claims the 2B state title. A team falls into the consolation bracket with a loss and its highest possible finish from there is third place, Lambright said.
The Wolverines squared off against La Conner (14-8) after dispatching Darrington 7-4 earlier in the day. Friday Harbor led 7-0 going into the seventh and final inning but a let down in the field allowed the Loggers to tally four runs.
“Caitlyn shoulda’ had a shutout,” Lambright said of the Wolverines ace, senior Caitlyn Domenech, who went the distance in both the games.
In the championship bout, Friday Harbor led 7-1 going into the fourth inning against La Conner. The Braves trimmed the deficit to 7-4 with home run that scored three. Friday Harbor shortstop Emma Wickman smacked a solo home run that ignited a 3-run rally and took the momentum out of the Braves comeback bid sealed the victory and a berth at state for the Wolverines.
“They knew what was at stake and they just wanted it,” assistant coach Kirk Holt said. “Brian and I didn’t even really have to coach. They just went out there and did it. I can’t keep from smiling. I’m smiling still.”