LACEY — The Camas softball team’s run for a state championship ended in the quarterfinals against an ace of aces, but the Papermakers are still alive for a consolation trophy.
Juanita pitcher Allison Rhodes struck out 16 Papermakers in a 5-2 victory in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state tournament Friday at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.
Juanita of Kirkland advanced to Saturday’s semifinals in search of its second consecutive state title.
Camas is hoping to make it to the third-place game.
The Papermakers bounced back to beat Liberty of Renton 9-5 in the consolation bracket. Camas plays Wilson of Tacoma at 11 a.m. Saturday, the first of what the Papermakers hope will be three games.
Mountain View went two-and-out, losing to Juanita 3-0 then to Bainbridge by the same score in the consolation bracket.
The Papermakers made it to Saturday by rallying from a four-run deficit against Liberty. Mikaela Searight had a two-run home run and drove in another run with a double to help save the season for Camas.
“I was determined that we were going to come back,” Searight said. “We were a little bit dead, but as soon as we started cheering, I knew we were going to get it back. I have confidence in these girls. That have what it takes.”
The Papermakers’ hopes of reaching the state title game ended with a quarterfinals pitching clinic.
“She’s the best pitcher we’ve seen all year, by far,” Camas coach Ken Nidick said of Juanita’s Rhodes, who has signed with Notre Dame. “She’s good, and she shut us down. We couldn’t string a couple of hits together. You gotta play perfect against a good pitcher.”
Mulholland had three of Camas’ four hits against Rhodes.
Camas did not have a lot of hits in the first round either. But the hits were timely enough for a 2-1 victory over Bainbridge.
Sarah Nidick smashed a two-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the sixth to take the one-run advantage.
“I figured this is the perfect situation,” Nidick said. “If I’m going to do my senior duty, it was my moment to do it. It was exciting and thrilling and amazing.”
Harli Hubbard struck out eight in less than four innings of shutout relief to pick up the win. She entered the game with the bases loaded in the fourth inning and got out of the jam with a strikeout.
“It was really amazing to come in with the bases loaded and just shut them down,” Hubbard said. “It’s overwhelming right now.”
Camas got more solid relief pitching in the consolation round. Freshman Katie Schroeder threw three innings of no-hit ball, striking out eight, to pick up the save against Liberty.
The Thunder made it to state with just two seniors — Nicole Kellams and Jordyn Paul. Their stay was short, but they made it.
“We always believed we were going to get here,” Mountain View coach Bob Van Horn said. “The girls bought into it, too.”
Mountain View managed one hit against Rhodes in the Juanita game. Then the Thunder were held scoreless again, this time against Bainbridge, last year’s runner-up.
“We went up against last year’s first- and second-place finishers,” Van Horn said. “What a draw.”
While Van Horn is thinking of future trips to state, Camas is still thinking right here, right now.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Searight said. “We’re going to have to endure through anything and play Camas ball. I believe we can do it. I know we can do it.”