Wildcats look to playoffs

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SNOQUALMIE - The Mount Si Wildcats' softball team was in the driver's seat for the fourth and final automatic district playoff berth coming into last week's games. Getting the spot was not going to be an easy task, and when the week ended they had failed in their bid.

Mount Si kept the advantage after last Monday's game by blanking the Mercer Island Islanders 7-0 in a quickly-played game at Centennial Fields. Sophomore pitcher Kandis Clesson was at the top of her game, pitching a complete three-hit shutout, with 14 strikeouts and no walks. The offense went to work in both the third and sixth innings, scoring three runs in each of those innings. Junior Ashley Svarthumle went 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Svarthumle has been on a hitting tear and credits her teammates with helping her out.

"[I've] just got a lot more confidence in myself, and my teammates are boosting my confidence a lot by cheering me on when I'm out there, and it's helping me," Svarthumle said.

Wildcat sophomore Katie Morgan praised her team.

"It was definitely a team effort and our hitting has just gotten so much better and it's been more consistent. We actually strung hits together," Morgan said.

With Bellevue and Sammamish both winning Monday, the Wildcats went into Wednesday's game with Issaquah knowing they had to win or they would fall into the No. 6 slot in the Kingco tournament. Had they lost the game and the Wolverines and Totems both won, Mount Si would have finished tied for fourth with Bellevue and Sammamish, but since the Wildcats went a combined 0-4 against the other two teams this season, Mount Si would have lost the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Issaquah's junior pitcher Brenda Bray did her part to ruin the dreams of the Wildcats, but ultimately it was the Mount Si bats that failed to click in the clutch and cost the team their fourth-place position.

The Eagles won 3-0 on a combined three-hit shutout by Bray and an Issaquah reliever. With Bellevue and Sammamish both winning their games as expected, those two teams battled Friday for the fourth seed (which the Totems won), while Mount Si stayed home and were supposed to receive a consolation prize in the form of a home game against one of the state's top 3A softball teams, Sedro Woolley. Unfortunately, the game was cancelled due to rain.

The Wildcats open the playoffs Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Skyline High School against the Newport Knights. Mount Si won both games against Newport this season: first on April 2, a 5-0 shutout of the Knights at Centennial Fields in which Clesson only gave up three hits; then on April 30, a huge 6-2 extra inning win at Newport that bolted the Wildcats into contention. A win would see Mount Si advance to the Sea-King District Tournament, where it is expected that Kingco will once again dominate this season. Last year four Kingco teams, led by the Wildcats' a No. 8 seed in last season's Kingco tournament, nearly made it to state as well. A Wildcat loss and the season is done.

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