LACEY — For a brief moment, it looked as if the Prairie softball team had concocted another of the improbable late-game rallies that had sustained the Falcons through their journey at the Class 3A state tournament.
This one looked like a championship rally.
But then the Falcons learned what a championship rally really looked like.
Kamiakin of Kennewick sent 12 batters to the plate in the top of the seventh, scoring seven runs on nine hits to give the Braves a 12-7 win over Prairie on Saturday for Kamiakin’s second consecutive state championship.
“This was a very coachable team and a fun team,” Prairie coach Dawn Rowe said of her Falcons. “We didn’t have any drama all season long … Well, no bad drama.”
There was plenty of drama this weekend at the Regional Athletic Complex as the Falcons had to rally from behind in all three of their wins.
“Every scenario possible, I think we experienced it this weekend,” Rowe said.
And there were different players performing leading roles in the on-field theatrics.
• Freshman Bridget Guiney smacked an extra-inning, game-winning homer in Prairie’s first-round win over Mountlake Terrace.
• Senior Taylor Bussey belted two home runs in a quarterfinal win over Juanita.
• Another senior, Sarah Landstrom, drove in four runs as the Falcons rallied from being down 5-0 and 8-2 against University in the semifinals.
• Junior Nicole O’Haver, who battled through two different injuries in Prairie’s two wins on Friday, had the game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh in a 10-9 win over University.
There was more drama in the championship as the Falcons erased a 5-2 deficit with a five-run sixth inning against Kamiakin, putting Prairie three outs from the title.
Bussey, again, delivered the big hit with a three-run triple to right center that gave the Falcons the lead.
O’Haver went 3 for 5 with a run and two RBI against Kamiakin. The hardest ball O’Haver hit on the day was the last one, but it went right at Kamiakin shortstop Cylie Richards for the final out.
Yet after the loss, as Prairie posed for one last team picture, the smiles came easily to the Falcons.
“What I kept hearing from them was they didn’t think they could get this far,” Rowe said. “But I always believed in it, and I always coached for it. I kept telling them ‘you’re doing championship things. So it’s going to come. Keep pushing and pushing and you can get there.’ And they just believed it.”
Led by seniors Bussey and Landstrom, the youthful Falcons accomplished things that many didn’t think they could. And it’s easy for the Falcons to smile when they think of their promising future.
It leads one to believe these comeback kids will be coming back to state again in the future.
“They were just a fun team to practice with,” Rowe said. “There wasn’t a day that I wasn’t excited to be with them. And come next week, I’m going to be kind of lonely.”