CAMAS — Sarah Nidick took care of the first five innings from the pitching circle.
When she got in a bit of trouble, Harli Hubbard came in to close it out.
The same plan that has been working most of the season worked again for the Camas Papermakers, who won their first softball league title since 2002.
Nidick and Hubbard combined for a four-hitter Monday afternoon in a 2-1 victory over Kelso in the final regular-season game in the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League. Camas, 10-2, advances directly to the district tournament championship game, scheduled for Friday in Kelso.
Kelso, meanwhile, will take on Prairie today in a tiebreaker for the No. 2 seed.
Hubbard struck out the side when she relieved Nidick with no outs in the top of the sixth inning. The Papermakers were clinging to the one-run lead and Kelso had the tying run at second base. The runner advanced to third with one out, but Hubbard got the next two batters swinging.
“I’m known to be non-relaxed,” Hubbard acknowledged. “All I could say was be focused and relax. Sarah pitched a great game. To be able to back her up was nice.”
“We all have each other’s backs,” Nidick added.
Camas took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Amee Aarhus reached on a bunt single, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, then came home on Lena Richards’ infield single.
Aarhus got a one-out double in the fifth inning, then raced home on Mikaela Searight’s two-out double for a 2-0 lead.
Nidick cruised through the first five innings, striking out eight and giving up two hits.
“I wanted to make sure when I stepped on the field that I was controlling the game,” said Nidick, a senior. “I did want something to leave behind for the younger players to remember, to leave it all out there. And hopefully we would come out on top, which we did.”
Macy Ruth and Sierra Richards hit back-to-back doubles to lead off the sixth to cut the deficit in half. Hubbard entered the circle, got out of that jam, then left two runners stranded in the seventh to save the game.
Camas last won a league title in 2002, when the Papermakers won a state title.
Now it is time for a new wave of players to celebrate.
“It’s something we’re going to remember for a long time,” Nidick said.
Hubbard, a sophomore, said she is looking forward to winning more than one league title.
That’s to figure out much later, though. Present day, the Papermakers are looking for a district title, and then advance to state through the bi-district tournament.
Protecting each other’s back all the way there.
CAMAS 2, KELSO 1
Kelso 000 001 0--1 4 0
Camas 001 010 x--2 7 1
Pitcher -- Carly Sims 6 IP, loss, 5 Ks. Highlights -- Jessica Shaw 1-3; Julia Breidt 1-2, 2B; Macy Ruth 1-3, 2B; Sierra Richards 1-3, 2B, RBI.
Pitchers -- Sarah Nidick 5+ IP, win, 8 Ks; Harli Hubbard 2 IP, save, 4 Ks. Highlights -- Lena Richards 2-3, RBI; Hubbard 1-2; Amee Aarhus 2-2, 2B, 2 R; Erin Tauscher 1-1; Mikaela Searight 1-3, 2B, RBI.