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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Tight-knit Union makes the plays to beat Skyview for 4A district slowpitch softball title

Skyview later beats Camas to join Titans in qualifying for state tournament

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published:
4 Photos
Union's Madison Wirth (from right), Sophia Rickard and Victoria Ross celebrate after the final out in a 15-11 win over Skyview in the 4A district slowpitch softball championship game at Heritage High School on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.
Union's Madison Wirth (from right), Sophia Rickard and Victoria Ross celebrate after the final out in a 15-11 win over Skyview in the 4A district slowpitch softball championship game at Heritage High School on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Slowpitch softball is a game of ebb and flows, ups and downs, miscues and big plays.

But the positive team-first attitude has been the key to the Union Titans’ success this fall, and it helped propel them back to the state tournament on Thursday.

Seniors Ella Berfanger went 3 for 4 with five RBI and Zena McKenzie was 3 for 4 with a home run as Union beat Skyview 15-11 to capture the 4A district championship on Thursday at Heritage High School.

“This is a really awesome group of girls,” Berfanger said. “We all really appreciate each other, and it’s really fun playing with each other. It’s the kind of team that when you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world, and you’re a team, which is a nice change from some past moments that we’ve had.”

15 Photos
Union's Madison Wirth (from right), Sophia Rickard and Victoria Ross celebrate after the final out in a 15-11 win over Skyview in the 4A district slowpitch softball championship game at Heritage High School on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.
4A district slowpitch softball Photo Gallery

After a 1-3 start to the season, Thursday’s win was the 14th in a row for the Titans. But it did not come easily.

Skyview jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, then led 4-3 and 8-5 before the Titans took control with a six-run third inning. After taking a 14-9 lead after four innings, the bats quieted down but the Titans made the plays in the field to secure the win.

“I trusted my team that we would make plays and we would come together,” Berfanger said. “I mean, we do have waves of energy, but I trust that my team will pull it together in the end.”

Union got contributions from throughout the lineup. Sophia Rickard went 3 for 4, and Makenna Johnson went 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBI. And at the bottom of the lineup, Addison Moe went 3 for 3 with a double and three RBI.

“It’s very tight-knit and very much like a family,” McKenzie said about the Titans. “And you can rely on everyone, and they’ll have your back.”

Skyview survived some late-game drama to beat Camas 6-5 on Thursday night to capture the district’s second berth to state. Madison Piak went 3 for 3 and Taylor Lies, Ariahna Pineda and Abbey Hite had two hits each as Skyview took a 6-2 lead into the top of the seventh.

Camas scored three times in the seventh and had the potential tying run on second before the Storm secured the clinching out.

Next up for the Titans and Storm is a trip to Yakima for the 4A state tournament on Oct. 27-28. And Union’s two seniors plan on enjoying the trip.

“It’s been a fun season, and I’m glad it gets to continue to state,” Berfanger said, later adding “car trips are always fun.”

“You get to bond more with your team,” McKenzie added.

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