AUBURN — The fifth inning was the signature frame Friday for the Skyview softball team.
After escaping a jam in the top of the fifth, the Storm answered in the bottom half with a four-run rally with two outs, sending the Storm to an 8-2 win over Sumner at the 4A bi-district tournament and clinching a state berth.
“It feels good,” senior Skylar Groesbeck said of clinching state. “It feels amazing. It’s a goal that we set at the start of the year. And it feels great to not only have won league, which was our beginning goal, and then go far in districts and get to state.”
Down four runs, Sumner tried to rally back into the game in the top of the fifth by putting runners on first and third with one out. But pitcher Maddie Milhorn induced an unconventional double play on a groundball to third.
Kylie Lester fielded the ball, looked back the runner at third before throwing out the batter at first. As the runner on third drifted too far from the bag, Groesbeck fired back to third with catcher Lauren Johnson covering to complete the inning-ending double play.
“Honestly, (I was thinking) of keeping composure and getting the lead out,” Milhorn said. “We’re really becoming good as playing as a team.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Addison Harmier, Milhorn and Maddi Scull delivered consecutive two-out singles to make it 5-0, then Groesbeck delivered the backbreaker, a three-run homer to right.
“I had a rough couple of at-bats before that,” Groesbeck said. “So to finally get that hit was really a relief. And really it just feels great to be a part of this team and know that I can contribute to this team.”
Coach Kim Anthony said Groesbeck showed great resiliency in making a key adjustment in that at-bat.
“Skylar, she likes to pull the ball,” Anthony said. “And she’s been working really hard on those outside pitches and going with them and taking them to the opposite field. So to hit it out opposite field just shows how much heart she has and shows how much she’s been working on that part of the game.”
Eight different Storm batters collected a hit, five with multiple hits. Johnson went 3 for 4.
“Everybody hit well today,” Groesbeck said. “There were very few strikeouts today. Everybody was making contact. Putting the ball in play is the most important thing we can do right now.”
And Milhorn was solid again in the circle, as the freshman struck out 11 over seven innings.
Union scored an 8-4 win over South Kitsap to open the tournament Friday, but the Titans were eliminated by Emerald Ridge in their second game Friday.
Battle Ground posted two wins in elimination games Friday by a combined margin of 35-0.
The Tigers got home runs from Cady Gruenberg, Liv Gruenberg, Emma Elliott, Brook Rausch and Rylee Rehbein in a 21-0 win over Curtis. Both Gruenbergs also homered in a 14-0 win over Kennedy Catholic along with Candice Adams.
The Tigers will face Graham-Kapowsin in a winner-to-state game at noon on Saturday.
Skyview advances to the bi-district semifinal on Saturday against Puyallup at noon. But for Friday night, the Storm were planning on savoring this win.
“I think we’re going to eat some pizza, get some good sleep and get ready for two games tomorrow and hopefully a district championship,” Groesbeck said.