CHEHALIS — Ridgefield’s path to the 2A state softball tournament just became a little tougher.
The Spudders faced a multiple-run deficit in Thursday evening’s semifinal, winner-to-state game against W.F. West at Recreation Park, and with Bearcats ace pitcher Kamy Dacus dealing in the early innings, a comeback wasn’t in the cards.
Ridgefield’s 8-2 loss to W.F. West was its first defeat of the season.
Earlier in the day, Ridgefield came back from an early one-run deficit to defeat Aberdeen 9-1 in the quarterfinals. The win and loss sets up the Spudders for a winner-to-state, loser-out game Friday against R.A. Long, which defeated Hockinson 5-2 to keep its season alive.
“These girls are resilient and I have no doubt that we’re going to bounce back,” Ridgefield softball head coach Kelsey Anchors said. “This is the first time, really, that we’re facing a pitcher like … W.F. West and Aberdeen had a great pitcher too. I think we have it in the tank, we just have to come back and fight.”
Dacus held Ridgefield (21-1) without a hit for three innings and ultimately finished with 11 strikeouts, no walks, two earned runs and seven hits allowed in a complete-game effort.
In that stretch, the Bearcats (18-4) took a 2-0 lead, and increased it to 3-0 in the top of the fourth inning thanks to a Saige Brindle solo home run.
For a typically potent offense like Ridgefield’s, a three-run deficit appeared to be manageable, but the Bearcats doubled the margin in the fifth inning.
The Spudders started a mini rally down by seven in the bottom of the seventh, with Makayla Ferguson hitting a solo home run, before Alissa Wallaway and Emma Harvey got on base with no outs.
Then, a Ridgefield baserunner was called out for interference along the base path between second and third. Dacus got the final two outs on a strikeout and line out to send the Bearcats to Friday’s district championship game against Tumwater.
“Usually when teams kind of crumble in innings five, six and seven, it’s nice to see that we can string some hits together,” Anchors said. “It’s not like we were hitting weak hits; we were hitting the ball hard and it just happened to go right at people, and sometimes that’s just the way the chips fall. Coming out tomorrow, (we) just got to come out swinging.”
Hockinson, Columbia River fall in loser-out games
Hockinson captured some late-season magic by winning seven of its final 10 regular season games in the 2A Greater St. Helens League.
For part of Thursday’s district tournament, the Hawks threatened to keep their run going.
In the quarterfinal, Hockinson fell to Tumwater 7-6 in an eight-inning walkoff, but not before jumping out to a 3-0 lead over the Thunderbirds.
A rain delay briefly stopped all four games being played simultaneously, and Tumwater scored four unanswered runs out of the break to take a 4-3 lead. Hockinson took the lead back with a three-run fifth inning, and Tumwater scored the tying runs in the sixth inning to send it to extras.
In the loser-out game, Hockinson’s Maggie Skinner hit a two-run home run to tie R.A. Long 2-2, before the Lumberjills scored three unanswered runs with a passed ball and RBI singles from Ava Rodman and Lily Mattison.
Also in action, Columbia River fell to W.F. West 10-0 in the first game of the day.
Against Aberdeen in a loser-out game to follow, the Rapids fell 15-5 to end their season.
Aurora Wiley and Taylor McRae batted in a pair of Rapids runs in the top of the first inning to give River a 2-0 lead.
Aberdeen took the lead for good during a four-run third inning, and after River rallied to get within 6-5 in the fifth inning, Aberdeen responded with seven runs in the bottom half.
Merryn Bruner hit two home runs and had four RBI for Aberdeen in a 3-for-4 outing.