BATTLE GROUND — To keep an undefeated streak intact, playing perfect may not always be attainable, but instead, doing what is necessary to eke out wins.
Those types of results are part of why the Skyview softball team still has a zero in its loss column heading into the final month of the season.
The Storm clinched the 4A Greater St. Helens League title on Friday with a 2-0 win against Battle Ground, improving to 13-0 overall and 5-0 in league.
The top of the Skyview order got both runs across during the third inning after Averie Sievers led off with a single and Kya Jenkins doubled. Skylar Groesbeck laid down a bunt that allowed Sievers to beat the tag at home plate after Battle Ground completed the out at first base and Jenkins later scored on a passed ball.
“Our energy has been amazing this year in being able to generate that with just one hit or one play, and keep that going on for multiple innings,” Jenkins said. “I think that’s been the biggest thing helping us is keeping the energy high, knowing that your teammates have your back and being able to get the next play no matter what.”
Skyview freshman pitcher Maddie Milhorn and the Storm defense handled the rest.
While Milhorn was dominant for stretches of a 14-strikeout, three-hit effort in seven innings, the Storm scattered Battle Ground’s balls in play and limited damage on the base paths.
At short stop, Jenkins twice stretched out to grab hard-hit ground balls and zipped throws to Groesbeck at first base in time to beat Tigers runners.
In the bottom of the fifth, Battle Ground’s Cady Gruenberg led off with a single as the Tigers tried to come back from the deficit. The next at-bat, Skyview catcher Lauren Johnson threw out a Battle Ground pinch runner attempting to steal second.
“(Those) huge defensive moments, when a team puts a ball in play hard like that to just take them right out of the inning, especially when you’re facing a pitcher like Maddie, you’re not going to get too many opportunities with runners in scoring position,” Skyview head coach Kim Anthony said.
Anthony believes this is the first season in more than a decade where no weak link exists in the field or batting lineup, from the starters through through the reserves.
“I feel like we’re confident because we’re preparing well and we’ve had good success, but we also know the further you go into May, it gets more difficult,” Anthony said. “Confident, not cocky.”
It’s been a seamless transition for Skyview’s freshman class of Milhorn, Lainey Phillips, Addison Harmier and Layla Royle to join a veteran group led by the seniors.
Four years ago, Sievers, Jenkins, Johnson and Groesbeck all came in as freshmen and were part of a Skyview team that, despite not winning the GSHL, went on to win the bi-district tournament in a memorable weekend that included 18 home runs.
This season, which now includes a GSHL title, the Storm see an even higher ceiling.
“Especially as of past years, I think this is the best year we’ve had, personally, out of all four years,” Jenkins said. “Even though during our bi-districts my freshman year we were amazing, I still think overall we’ve been having a way better season.”
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Skyview’s GSHL title was its second straight. In fact, Battle Ground won the previous GSHL title.