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2A district softball: Ridgefield regroups with 16-3 win over Woodland in loser-out game

Mark Morris gets by Columbia River 14-3, advances to Friday's winner-to-state round

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 16, 2024, 9:36pm
8 Photos
Ridgefield players cheer from the dugout as Ridgefield's Tava Whitlow (3) stands in the batter's box during the Class 2A District 4 softball tournament against Aberdeen on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Chehalis.
Ridgefield players cheer from the dugout as Ridgefield's Tava Whitlow (3) stands in the batter's box during the Class 2A District 4 softball tournament against Aberdeen on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Chehalis. (The Chronicle) Photo Gallery

CHEHALIS — Ridgefield’s rollercoaster day began with a deflating loss that caught them off guard.

Sensing their season was suddenly on the brink of a premature ending, the Spudders softball team fought back to earn another day, and what they hope will lead to another week playing together.

Ridgefield got a sigh of relief after claiming a 16-3 win over Woodland in a loser-out game at the Class 2A District 4 softball tournament Thursday, setting up a winner-to-state, loser-out game against Rochester to be played Friday at Recreation Park.

The result came just a few hours after Ridgefield suffered a defeat to Aberdeen by the same 16-3 margin in a game marred by three Ridgefield errors, up and down pitching and a quiet offensive performance against Aberdeen ace pitcher Lilly Camp, a Grand Canyon University signee.

“The first game was definitely hard for us to overcome that (loss),” senior shortstop Mallory Vancleave said. “That game took us down a little afterwards, so we had to come back (against Woodland), we were like, ‘we need to win this to be able to play another week and be with this team another week.’”

It was Ridgefield’s most lopsided loss of the season, and the type of game that can mess with a team’s psyche. Yet the Spudders had no choice but to put it out of their minds.

“What we tell our seniors every time we come to this place is, it’s the team’s storybook ending and however they want to finish that,” Ridgefield coach Kelsey Anchors said. “Obviously, the first game didn’t go the way we wanted it too. I told them, ‘me and (assistant coach Greg Ferguson) don’t want to go home, and I know that you guys don’t either. So it’s like, it’s your story to write and you guys have to figure it out.”

Unlike the quarterfinal game when they went without a run over the first three innings, the Spudders’ bats heated up fast against the Beavers and didn’t let up.

Ridgefield blew the game open with six runs in the second inning, highlighted by a Vancleave grand slam, plus RBI base hits from Bowling and Charlie Harris.

Kaylen Wingerd added a two-run double in the third and the Spudders tacked on five more runs in the fifth, with Bowling’s three-run homer providing the exclamation point, to end the game early via the 10-run mercy rule.

“I just want to be with them another day, with the seniors,” Bowling said. “I want to win. I want to keep going.”

Perhaps even more encouraging, the Spudders’ defense and pitcher Elizabeth Peery held up against a strong Woodland lineup, limiting the Beavers to three runs on eight hits, which included a Brynn Skelton two-run double in the fourth.

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“We knew we needed to play better defense and be behind our pitcher better, back her up, we know she’s there for us too,” Vancleave said. “I just feel like we knew we needed a second to take a deep breath, because that (Aberdeen) game was very intense. So, we took a second, deep breath, needed our time to ourselves. But then, we came back, we were ready for that game and fired up for that game.”

Good and bad, up and down, the Spudders experienced a little bit of everything through two games Thursday.

Still, last season’s 2A state runner-up and defending district champion gets another chance at returning to state in Friday’s 4 p.m. game against Rochester, which fell to W.F. West in the semfinals after stunning 2A Greater St. Helens League champion Mark Morris in the quarterfinals.

“We did what we needed to in the second game, but we gotta come back even harder tomorrow,” Vancleave said.

“Just (knowing) that we can battle, we’re gonna do good tomorrow and just keep going,” Bowling said.

Woodland, which fell to Tumwater in the quarterfinal round, ended its season with a 13-8 record.

MARK MORRIS 14, COLUMBIA RIVER 3 — A pair of two-run home runs from Grace Woodbridge and Shyanne Sellers broke a 2-2 tie and the Monarchs didn’t look back in a loser-out game.

Mark Morris fill face Tumwater in a winner-to-state, loser-out game at 4 p.m. Friday.

Sellers’ 4-for-4 effort, which also included two doubles and four RBI, plus Keira McGinley going 3-for-4 with three RBI, capped a strong offensive showing for the Monarchs after they were held to three runs in a quarterfinal loss to Rochester.

Ace pitcher Makenzie Henthorn struck out 12 batters while giving up three walks and three hits to the Rapids.

River’s Renee Waddle and Emily Hull each had one hit for the Rapids. The two combined for three home runs in the Rapids’ quarterfinal game against W.F. West, with Waddle hitting two solo home runs.

After W.F. West defeated River 12-4 and Rochester earned a 6-3 win over Mark Morris, all four 2A GSHL teams fell into the loser’s out side of the bracket, while the four 2A Evergreen Conference teams advanced to the semifinals.

W.F. West and Aberdeen will play for the district championship at 6 p.m. Friday.

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