KENT – After pounding out eight home runs and 35 runs in two games Friday, it left one to wonder what the members of the Battle Ground softball team had for breakfast.
“I had a Red Bull,” senior Liv Gruenberg said.
“I had an egg sandwich,” sophomore Rylee Rehbein replied.
“I don’t even know if I ate breakfast yesterday,” senior Cady Gruenberg said.
Either way, the Tigers feasted on opposing pitching, then took a small-ball approach Saturday to clinch at state tournament berth with an 11-1 win over Graham-Kapowsin on Saturday at the 4A bi-district tournament.
“We were rained out for a month straight,” Liv Gruenberg said. “We didn’t play for like four weeks. … We had so much time to work and perfect our craft, it was just like we came here so ready.”
Cady Gruenberg said: “I think after our win against Union (earlier in the week), we were just hitting the crap out of the ball. And I think each us, each other, we’re like sponges. If one person hits something, then it’s like ‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’ Everyone is going to hit it.”
On Saturday, the Tigers took a different approach by just putting the ball in play and letting good things happen.
Battle Ground took control with a six-run second inning, scoring on an error, fielder’s choice, groundout, dropped pop fly and another error.
From there, they turn things over to Rehbein to keep things in check from the pitching circle. Facing teams she had not seen was more of an advantage to Rehbein.
“I just work on mixing it up as best I can,” Rehbein said. “I get a feel for the batters as we go through the game. And me and Kelly (Monaghan), the catcher, we work really well together. She’s great at reading the batters herself.”
Rehbein struck out 13 in five innings, and the bottom of the lineup delivered. Brook Rausch was 3 for 3, Katelyn Swanson was 2 for 3, and Hailey Ferguson drove in three runs.
The Tigers scored twice in the bottom of the fifth, and when Monaghan’s infield pop dropped for an RBI single to score Swanson with the clinching run, the Tigers were headed back to state.
“I am ecstatic,” Liv Gruenberg said. “We haven’t been to state since freshman year. It was like the most memorable thing to get to go to state with all your best friends and play your heart out. And (Rehbein) hasn’t experienced that. Half of our team hasn’t experienced that. And we get to go and show how much fun it is to go out there and show out.”
After outscoring opponents 46-1 in three loser-out games, the Tigers certainly showed out this weekend.
SKYVIEW PLACES SECOND: Skyview advanced to the bi-district championship game with a 6-2 win over Puyallup. Kya Jenkins went 3 for 4 with a home run, and Addison Harmier went 2 for 4 with a homer. Freshman Maddie Milhorn struck out 11.
But the Storm ran into the Sarah Wright show in the championship game, falling 6-0 to Kentwood.
Milhorn and Wright matched zeros for the first three innings until Wright helped herself out with a two-run homer in the fourth. Wright would add a three-run blast in the seventh as the Conquerors pulled away.
Wright struck out 17 batters in a two-hit shutout of the Storm, who will await their opponent at state when the brackets are announced on Sunday.