CHEHALIS – The Ridgefield softball team didn’t just end its season on a high note Thursday.
It was more like a victorious chorus.
Lily Mittmann, Kekai Schultz and Elizabeth Peery each homered on the final three swings of the Spudders’ season.
Those back-to-back-to-back blasts in the fifth inning gave Ridgefield a 17-7 win over Columbia River in the 2A district tournament third-place game, which ended via the 10-run mercy rule.
Just hours after their district title hopes were dashed in an 11-3 semifinal loss to Rochester, the Spudders walked off the field at Recreation Park with smiles on their faces and a trophy in their hands.
“It’s definitely a proven point that we feed off each other,” Mittmann said. “Obviously, the first game we were a little down. But then we just came out to play and we became family.”
For seniors Mittmann and Schultz, homering to end their high school careers will be a lifelong memory. Schultz finished the game 4 for 4 with three doubles and five RBI. Mittmann went 3 for 4 with two doubles.
Schultz and Mittmann’s home runs represented the strong program Ridgefield has become – a program that reached the state tournament three straight years prior to the cancelled 2020 season.
The home run by Peery, a freshman, shows Ridgefield’s future is also bright. Six of Ridgefield’s nine starters this year were underclassmen.
“It’s going to be fun watching the talent come up next year and play,” Schultz said.
Ridgefield (15-2) hoped to reach the district title game and face W.F. West, which beat Rochester 9-1 to cap an undefeated season. But the disappointment of not reaching the finals was outweighed by gratitude that this season happened after the absence of 2020.
“It really just let me appreciate the game a lot more,” Schultz said. “It helped me realize how much I love the game and how much I was craving it when we were shut down.”
“Not seeing each other for so long made us want to play even more,” added Mittmann. “We didn’t care about the drama. We came in and played with all our hearts.”
Though the season’s finale wasn’t as bright for Columbia River, the Rapids can hold their heads high after giving hometown W.F. West everything it could handle in a 4-2 semifinal loss.
Second baseman Sophia Reyes made two stellar defensive plays – a diving stop and putout on a ground ball and a diving catch on a line drive. That helped pitcher Taylor McRae match W.F. West’s Kamy Dacus in pitching scoreless inning after inning.
River (13-4) broke through with two runs in the top of the sixth. Reyes blasted a two-out RBI double followed by a double from Allison Countryman.
But W.F. West struck back with four runs in the bottom of the sixth, the big blow being a three-run home run by Alisha Anderson.
Reyes went a combined 3 for 5 with three RBI and two doubles in Thursday’s games. Gabriela Ventura went a combined 2 for 5 with a solo home run against Ridgefield.
RIDGEFIELD 17, COLUMBIA RIVER 7
Col.River 200 14—7 5 6
Ridgefield 341 54—17 16 1
Pitching – Taylor McRae 2 IP, 2 K, 0 BB; Fallon Wiley 2 IP 2 BB. Highlights – Gabriela Ventura 1-2, R, RBI, HR; Halle Jordan 1-4, R; Jaycee Williams 1-2, R; Sophia Reyes 2-2, R, 2 RBI, 2B.
Pitching – Maizy Whitlow 4 IP, 1 K, 3 BB; Shelby Harris 1 IP, 5 BB. Highlights – Mallory Vancleave 1-4, SB; Madison Walker 3-4, 3 R; Natalie Smith 1-3, 2 R, SB; Lily Mittmann 3-4, 4 R, 2 RBI, 2 2B, HR; Kekai Schultz 4-4, 3 R, 5 RBI, 3 2B, HR; Elizabeth Peery 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR; Maizy Whitlow 2-3, R, RBI.
ROCHESTER 11, RIDGEFIELD 3
Rochester 100 604 0—11 10 1
Ridgefield 010 002 0—3 3 6
Pitching – Sadie Knutson 7 IP, 9 K, 6 BB. Highlights – Jessa Lenzi 2-5, R; Kiyah Kennedy 1-5, R, RBI, 2B; Staysha Fluetsch 1-4, R, RBI; Sadie Knutson 2-3, 2 R, RBI; Madi Bates 2-4, 2 R, RBI; Kaylei Clark 2-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B.
Pitching – Madeline Smith 3.1 IP, 5 BB; Elizabeth Peery 3.2 IP, 2 K, 2 BB. Highlights – Kekai Schultz 1-4; Elizabeth Peery 1-2, R, 2 RBI, 2B; Maizy Whitlow 1-2, RBI, 2B.
W.F. WEST 4, COLUMBIA RIVER 2
Col. River 000 002 0—2 7 4
W.F. West 000 004 x—4 4 1
Pitching – Taylor McRae 6 IP, 3 K, 0 BB. Highlights – Gabriela Ventura 1-3; Halle Jordan 2-3, R; Sophia Reyes 1-3, R, RBI, 2B; Allison Countryman 2-3, RBI, 2B; Aurora Wiley 1-3..
Pitching – Kami Dacus 7 IP, 12 K, 0 BB. Highlights – Brielle Etter 1-3, R, 3B; Kami Dacus 1-3, R, RBI, 2B; Alisha Anderson 2-3, R, 3 RBI, HR; .