SELAH – The hits came in such abundance for the Ridgefield softball team on Friday, Maizy Whitlow didn’t realize she just had the grandest hit of all.
Whitlow’s grand slam broke open Ridgefield’s 21-3 win over Cedarcrest in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A state tournament in Selah.
As she rounded the bases, Whitlow didn’t think about the four runs she drove in to put Ridgefield ahead 11-3 in the third inning. Her focus was fixed on the party at home plate.
“I didn’t know it was a grand slam until my sister jumped on me and yelled ‘you hit a grand slam,’ Whitlow said. “Then it was a huge celebration and so much fun. I run the fastest on my home runs because I’m so excited to get home and celebrate with my team.”
Ridgefield’s 34 base hits seemed to blend together in two lopsided wins Friday. All nine batters in the order got hits in both the win over Cedarcrest and an 11-3 first-round victory over East Valley-Yakima.
That has the No. 3 seeded Spudders looking as dangerous as any team as they head into the semifinals for the second time in program history.
Saturday, Ridgefield hopes to reach the state championship game for the first time since winning the 2004 state title when it faces No. 10 seed Aberdeen at 10 a.m.
Standout performances could be found at any spot in the Ridgefield lineup. Leadoff hitter Mallory Vancleave kicked off the quarterfinals with a home run. No. 9 hitter Tava Whitlow went 3 for 4 in the quarterfinals, reaching twice on bunt singles and driving in a run with a triple.
“From one to nine, we can score runs at any point in our lineup,” Ridgefield head coach Kelsey Anchors said. “The games we’ve been playing this postseason have really prepared us for what we’re seeing today.”
It’s an old saying that hitting is contagious. But what allowed that success to spread throughout Ridgefield’s lineup Friday?
An upbeat attitude was the first key.
“The energy in the dugout is so loud,” Maizy Whitlow said. “Even between games we’re coming up with new cheers. As long as our energy is up, that’s what will happen.”
Madeline Smith, who homered and went 4 for 4 against East Valley, said nobody feels like they must carry the team single-handedly.
“I think it’s definitely trusting each other,” Smith said. “Even if you don’t string a hit together, someone else is going to get a hit. Everyone knows the next person has their back.”
As much support as she got from Ridgefield’s offense, pitcher Elizabeth Peery was not feeling generous toward the opponents. Peery allowed just one hit to Cedarcrest and two hits to East Valley. She racked up 18 strikeouts over 12 innings with two walks.
“Even when the offense isn’t doing so hot, she has the grind to get us through the innings we need,” Anchors said of Peery. “She pitched lights out and I’m proud of her for that.”
RIDGEFIELD 11, EAST VALLEY-YAKIMA 3
East Valley 000 003 0—3 2 2
Ridgefield 013 133 x— 11 16 0
Pitching – Elizabeth Peery 7 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 10 K, 1 BB. Highlights – Mallory Vancleave 1-4, R; Kaylen Wingerd 2-3, 3 R, SB; Madison Walker 2-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B; Maizy Whitlow 1-4, R; Elizabeth Peery 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI; Makayla Ferguson 2-4, R, RBI, 2 2B; Madeline Smith 4-4, R, 3 RBI, HR, 2B; Charlie Harris 1-4; Tava Whitlow 1-3, R.
RIDGEFIELD 21, CEDARCREST 3
Ridgefield 335 9(10)—21 18 1
Cedarcrest 030 00—3 1 4
Pitching – Elizabeth Peery 5 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 8 K, 1 H. Highlights – Mallory Vancleave 2-3, 3 R, 2 RBI, HR; Kaylen Wingerd 2-3, 3 R, RBI; Madison Walker 2-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2B, SB; Maizy Whitlow 1-3, 2 R, 4 RBI, HR; Elizabeth Peery 3-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 3B; Makayla Ferguson 1-4, R, 2 RBI; Madeline Smith 2-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B; Charlie Harris 2-4, 3 R; Tava Whitlow 3-4, 3 R, 3 RBI.