SELAH – Dusty Anchors wouldn’t want it to be all about him.
The Ridgefield softball coach would hope to see his Spudders play for themselves, recognize the fruits of their hard work and win.
That was the message from Kelsey Anchors. The daughter of Ridgefield’s late coach, who died less than two weeks ago from heart failure, gave the Spudders a pep talk before their first game at the 2A state tournament Friday in Selah.
Second baseman Kekai Schultz put the message more succinctly.
“Basically just kick their butts,” she said. “We know what to do.”
Boy, did Ridgefield play.
And boy, did Kaia Oliver pitch.
The Syracuse-bound senior struck out 32 batters and allowed no runs in two Ridgefield wins Friday at Carlon Park.
Oliver followed a 4-0 first-round win over Lakewood with a masterpiece in the quarterfinals against Ephrata. She struck out 20 batters in Ridgefield’s 6-0 win, sending the Spudders to the state semifinals for the first time since winning the state title in 2004.
Ridgefield (21-5) will face district rival W.F. West in the semifinals at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Spudders handed W.F. West just their third loss of the season, 6-5, in the district tournament on May 17.
Also in the semifinals is defending state champion Woodland. Olivia Grey had 31 strikeouts and allowed just one hit over two games – a 10-0 first-round no-hitter over Eatonville and a 3-0 quarterfinal win over Lynden.
Woodland (24-1) will face Sehome (18-4) in the semifinals, also at 10 a.m.
Friday, Grey and Oliver showed why the 2A Greater St. Helens League is home to two of the state’s best pitchers.
Believing her late coach was watching from above, Oliver had some extra thunder as she pitched up a storm.
“It’s definitely hard not to do it for Dusty, but we’re doing it for ourselves as well,” she said. “We know he’s up there watching us. He’s got a front-row seat.”
Against both Lakewood and Ephrata, Oliver escaped trouble in the early innings. She stranded a runner at second base in the first inning of each game.
Schultz gave Ridgefield an early boost against Lakewood, hitting a two-run home run in the first inning. That held up until Hailee Gruber’s two-run double in the sixth inning added more insurance.
Against Ephrata, Ridgefield didn’t have a batter reach base in the first three innings. But Emma Jenkins’ double drove in Sarah Jenkins to break the stalemate in the fourth inning. She would then score on a double by Lily Mittmann.
Ridgefield added four runs in the fifth inning, the big hit being a two-run double by Sarah Jenkins.
That was more than enough support for Oliver, who allowed five hits and walked none. The only out not recorded by strikeout was a popup in the second inning.
“I was striving for a shutout this game,” Oliver said. “Our team came out with great momentum and that carried me. This is the last year for most of us. The energy they brought helped me on the mound.”
With only a single hit allowed over 12 innings, Grey didn’t need a lot of help Friday. But her Woodland teammates were happy to provide it.
Kelly Sweyer and Carleigh Risley each homered in a six-run fourth inning against Eatonville. The game ended in the fifth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Against Lynden, Kaily Christensen homered in the third inning to give Woodland a 1-0 lead. The Beavers added insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings to support Grey, who walked none and allowed only a double in the third inning.
Chloe Eddy went 3 for 3 with two doubles against Eatonville, helping set the tone for Woodland.
“We’re ready to have some fun,” she said.
Though Woodland wears the mantle of state champion, Grey said the team doesn’t see that as a burden.
“Last year at this time we didn’t have any idea what was going to happen,” she said. “So let’s just go in with the same mindset. Let’s take the pressure off ourselves. It’s awesome that we’re the defending state champs, but that was last year.”
RIDGEFIELD 4, LAKEWOOD 0
Lakewood 000 000 0 – 0 3 2
Ridgefield 200 002 x – 4 7 1
Pitching – Riley Swanwon 6 IP, 3 K, 1 BB. Offensive highlights – Olivia Poulton 1-3; Ashley Falor 2-3.
Pitching – Kaia Oliver 7 IP, 12 K, 1 BB. Offensive highlights – Karli Oliver 2-3, R; Kekai Schultz 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR; Mia Tomillo 1-3; Haileee Gruber 1-3, 2 RBI, 2B.
RIDGEFIELD 6, EPHRATA 0
Ephrata 000 000 0 – 0 5 1
Ridgefield 000 240 x – 6 8 0
Pitching – Jocelyn Eisen 6 IP, 4 K, 0 BB. Offensive highlights – Rylee Peters 2-3; Kylar Heston 2-3, 2B; Paige Heston 1-3, 2B.
Pitching – Kaia Oliver 7 IP, 20 K, 0 BB. Offensive highlights – Sarah Jenkins 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B; Emma Jenkins 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 2B; Kekai Schultz 1-3, RBI; Mia Tomillo 2-3, R; Audri Chapman 1-2.
WOODLAND 10, EATONVILLE 0
Eatonville 000 00– 0 0 4
Woodland 111 61 – 10 11 1
Pitching – Haley Olson 3.1 IP, 0 K, 0 BB; Berkley Porter 0.2 IP.
Pitching – Olivia Grey 5 IP, 13 K, 1 BB. Offensive highlights – Kaily Christensen 1-4, R, RBI; Justice Holcomb 2-4; Chloe Eddy 3-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 2B; Kelly Sweyer 2-3, R, 3 RBI, HR; Carleigh Risley 2-3, R, RBI, HR; Maddi Bunger 1-2, R.
WOODLAND 3, LYNDEN 0
Lynden 000 000 0 – 0 1 2
Woodland 001 011 x – 3 5 0
Pitching – Emma Ramerman 6 IP, 0 K, 0 BB. Offensive highlights – Ashlyn Alexander 1-3, 2B.
Pitching – Olivia Grey 7 IP, 18 K, 0 BB. Offensive highlights – Kaily Christensen 2-3, 2 R, RBI, HR; Justice Holcomb 1-4; Maddi Bunger 1-3, 2B, R; Gwen Elkington 1-3, RBI.