Propelled by power from unexpected places, the Wolverines claimed a decisive 6-1 win over Darrington and with the victory clinched no less than a share of their first league championship in two years.
Friday Harbor senior Caitlyn Domenech swatted a solo home run to lead off the opening inning, a first-ever for the four-year veteran, and Lauren Ayers crossed home plate in the first frame as well, giving the Wolverines an early 2-0 advantage and all the offense they would need to seal both the victory at home and, at the very least, a share of the 2015 Northwest 2B/1B League title.
Domenech struck out six and tossed seven innings without giving up a walk in the May 12 win over the Loggers (5-5). After last year’s so-so season, finishing on top of the league standings isn’t where the senior expected the team end up.
“Last year was pretty rough,” she said. “But we’ve worked hard this season and we’ve been good at fighting back when we’ve been down or when other teams have made a run at us.”
For the moment, the Friday Harbor softball team sits atop the league standings, at 8-1. But the Wolverines could wind up with an identical won-loss record and tied for the league title with La Conner, which, at 7-1, will play its final league game at Darrington, Friday, May 15.
The Wolverines spilt their two-game season series against La Conner (the Braves won 3-1 at home April 14; Friday Harbor evened the score with a 3-2 victory at home May 1) and are likely to square off in post-season play, and with a berth in the 2B state tournament at stake.
“We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us,” Friday Harbor coach Brian Lambright said of a possible post-season match up against the Braves. “They beat us 3-1 and we beat them 3-2. It would be the third time around we’ve seen their pitcher so hopefully we’ll have our timing down. But it’d be the third time they’ve seen ours.”
The Loggers scored their only run of the game in the third inning, trimming the deficit to 2-1. The Wolverines responded with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning, as Lili Wood drove Ayers home with a stand-up double and Cady Wilson followed with an RBI double that scored Wood, giving Friday Harbor a 4-1 advantage.
In the top of the fifth, the Loggers, with the bases loaded and only one out, were poised to storm back into the game. Domenech struck out a would-be hitter and Wood snagged a line drive at third to quash the scoring threat.
Ayers, known her ability to lay down a bunt rather than for power at the plate, clobbered a solo homer in the fifth to bump up the lead to 5-1. She turned three trips to the plate into three runs. The Wolverines tallied run No. 6 in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Wilson and Hayden Mayer.
The Wolverines (8-1 league, 13-6 overall) close out their regular-season schedule at home Friday, May 15, in a non-conference game against 2A Sedro Woolley; game time is 4:45 p.m.