RICHLAND — The Woodland Beavers got a real test Friday in the Class 1A state softball quarterfinals.
They passed, with stellar pitching, error-free defense, and some timely bats in the sixth inning to advance to the semifinals.
Makayla Lefever struck out 14 in a two-hit shutout, and the Beavers scored twice in the sixth inning to beat Okanogan 2-0. Woodland will face Lakeside or Nooksack Valley at 9 a.m. Saturday in the semis. The championship game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
“It’s such a great feeling. We’ve been waiting for this,” Lefever said. “We’ve wanted it so much, and we’re grateful to be back here.”
Woodland won a Class 2A state title Lefever’s freshman year but did not return to the state tournament the past two seasons. Now, the Beavers are two wins away from another title.
Lefever was almost untouchable against Okanogan. Brooklyn Bauer managed two hits off of her, but that was it.
Still, Okanogan’s defense was matching Woodland through five innings before the Beavers opened the bottom of the sixth with consecutive hits from Jessica Flanagan, Emily Tesdale, and Lefever to load the bases.
Kendall Grell then hit into a fielder’s choice, driving in the run when Flanagan beat the force play at home. Karlee Dyson followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
The Beavers had one more inning to defend, but with the way Lefever was throwing, it was over. She struck out the side in order for her 14th K of the game.
“Emily (Tesdale) was calling a good game. She was doing a really good job,” Lefever said, crediting her catcher. “We just worked together.”
Woodland coach Damon Yeo said he was proud of his team for maintaining its composure during an intense game. The Beavers have won 24 in a row after losing the first game of the season, with a lot of blowouts.
“They didn’t get rattled,” Yeo said. “It’s been a long time since they were this close in a game. I really didn’t know what to expect from Okanogan. I knew it was going to be a tough game.”
It was a lot different than Woodland’s first game of the tournament. The Beavers opened this run to the semis earlier Friday with a 22-0 win over Mount Baker. Emma Pilkington, Tesdale, Lefever, Grell, and Dyson all hit home runs. Tesdale drove in six runs.
Lefever, meanwhile, pitched four innings in that game, striking out seven. Madison Sorensen pitched an inning, too, striking out the side, giving the Beavers 24 strikeouts in 12 innings of state play.
WOODLAND 22, MT. BAKER 0
Mt. Baker 000 00–0 1 3
Woodland 36(11) 2X–22 17 1
Pitchers — Makayla Lefever 4 IP, win, 7 Ks; Madison Sorensen 1 IP, 3 Ks.
Highlights — Sorensen 4-5, 2 2Bs, 2 RBI; Emma Pilkington 1-4, HR, 3 RBI; Jessica Flanagan 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI; Emily Tesdale 2-3, HR, 2B, 6 RBI; Lefever 2-3, HR, 2 RBI; Kendall Grell 2-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI; Karlee Dyson 1-3, HR, 3 RBI; Haylee Michaud 2-4, 2B; Gracey Trice 1-2.Quarterfinals
WOODLAND 2, OKANOGAN 0
Okanogan 000 000 0–0 2 1
Woodland 000 002 x–2 6 0
Pitcher — Makayla Lefever 7 IP, win, 14 Ks.
Highlights — Jessica Flanagan 2-3, 2B, R; Karlee Dyson 1-2, RBI; Gracey Trice 1-3, SB; Emily Tesdale 1-3, R; Lefever 1-3; Kendall Grell 0-2, RBI.