Kettle Falls High, making its first State softball tournament appearance since 2007, fin¬ished with a 1-2 record at last Friday and Saturday’s Class 2B Tournament at Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima.
The Lady Bulldogs (20-4) outscored LaConner 13-10 in their Friday morning opener before falling 10-0 (five innings) to Mossyrock on Friday eve¬ning.
In a loser-out game Saturday morning, Kettle Falls dropped a tough 7-6 decision to Toutle Lake.
“It wasn’t what we were looking for,” KFHS head coach Amy Owens said of her team’s goals at State. “We just didn’t play like we have all season. Our lack of experience at the State level, me included, hurt us. There were some things I could have done to get us bet¬ter prepared.”
Short game issues
One thing first year coach Owens laments is the fact that the short game, so integral in the game of softball, caused Kettle’s defense problems at times in Yakima.
There was plenty of bunting and slap hitting going on in Yakima.
“We didn’t see the short game that much during the season,” Owens said. “That hurt us.”
Be rest assured that Owens will have that issue remedied next season.
“We were more of a power hitting team this spring,” she said. “We have six seniors and we lose a lot of that off this team. This is a great time to take advantage of what we learned at State …it’s a good time to change our game up a little.”
In the opener against La¬Conner, Kettle Falls built a comfortable 11-1 lead into the fifth inning. But LaConner got back into the game with a seven run outburst in the fifth inning. Kettle Falls committed two errors in the fifth that didn’t help.
Senior Tory Bircher, who played solidly in Kettle’s three games at State, had a double, a single and a home run against LaConner. She drove in three runs.
Kettle Falls scored seven runs of their own in the fourth inning. Bircher’s home run was the big blow.
Senior Devon Stomley had a pair of doubles.
Kettle Falls had four doubles and a home run in the win.
Mossyrock breaks open scoreless game
Bircher picked up the win. She got relief help in the fifth from Krislin McInelly, who struggled. McInelly surren¬dered seven hits and walked three. She struck out two.
Bircher scattered three hits, issued a walk and struck out three.
Kettle Falls and Mossyrock were locked up in a 0-0 tie un¬til the Lady Bulldogs surren¬dered 10 runs in the Mossy¬rock fourth inning. Five walks and four errors in the fourth inning contributed to the big Mossyrock inning.
A first inning double by Kayla Eslick and Sara Larsen’s single in the fifth inning was all the offense KFHS could mus¬ter.
“There wasn’t much to say about that,” Owens said. “That was a really bad inning for us.”
It didn’t help Kettle’s chances any when Stomley broke her collarbone sliding head first into second base against Toutle Lake.
When Stomley went out, KFHS and the Ducks were tied at 4-all.
Bircher’s triple earlier helped the Lady Bulldogs to an early lead. She had two triples in the game. McInelly also tripled in Kettle’s five-hit attack.
“That was a very tough loss,” Owens said. “We lost one of our players, but we were able to battle. I was proud of them for their ability to keep their heads up and stay positive.”
Down 7-6 in the seventh, KFHS got Bircher to second base. But the Lady Bulldogs couldn’t get her home.
Owens said she will miss her six seniors—Bircher, Stomley, Sam Charlton, Michaela Fredrick, Kayla Eslick and Sara Larsen.
“Replacing six seniors won’t be easy,” she said. “They are great athletes who did a very good job in leadership roles this season.
“But for the kids coming back, I think some eyes were opened (about the State experi¬ence). It was a good run and a very good season.”
Adna routed Pe Ell to win its second state 2B fastpitch title in three years. Adna used a pair of big innings to beat the defending champions, 10-0 on Saturday.
Adna broke a scoreless tie with a six-run fourth inning. They added a four-run fifth in¬ning and the rout was on.