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Run at state falls short
SNOQUALMIE - It wasn't to be this year for the Mount Si softball team, as the heat last Friday melted away the dreams of a third straight state tournament appearance.
What made it worse was the nature of the two losses that eliminated the Wildcats from the postseason, both one-run defeats, and in heartbreaking fashion.
In the first game, with a state berth on the line for the winner, Mount Si looked as if they were going to have their way once again with the Holy Names Cougars. The Cougars, the Metro's No. 2 seed, had been dominated in each of the previous two years at this tournament, to the tune of 23-1 combined in favor of the Wildcats. But a number of things doomed Mount Si and the Wildcats fell 5-4.
"We just got lucky. Put the ball in play and we got lucky," said Cougars coach Jerry Milsap, who added, "It really was a team effort. Everyone started putting the ball in play and that's what really turned it around. Mount Si's a great team and we got lucky one inning, and a couple of things went wrong for them but we were lucky enough to capitalize on it."
The Wildcats opened the scoring in the fourth inning. Mount Si had had their chances against Cougars pitcher Megan Trudell in each of the first three innings, but rallies in all three innings were snuffed by forceouts or runners getting caught stealing bases. Danae Englund, however, changed things quickly. The freshman once again made her case for a varsity slot in 2006 by hitting a pinch-hit single that scored Kandis Clesson and Ashley Svarthumle to put the Wildcats up 2-0. Mount Si scored twice more in the fifth, first with a Katie Shaw single that scored Katie Morgan, and then Svarthumle stole home to put the Wildcats up, 4-0.
The top of the sixth was the one-half inning that may be remembered as the end of the road for this great group of young ladies. Holy Names, with a collection of well-placed hits and several Mount Si errors, including one costly throwing error following a sacrifice bunt, scored four times to tie the game at 4-4. Then, in the seventh, senior Corrie Burdett, who was among those that did damage in the sixth-inning rally, hit a fly ball that landed just past a diving Mount Si outfielder and rolled all the way to the wall, allowing her to score an inside-the-park home run to lift the Cougars into the 5-4 lead.
"Well, there's just two outs, and I just was thinking I need to get on because our lineup's pretty strong, so just anything to get on," said Burdett.
Mount Si mounted one final rally against a Cougars relief pitcher in the bottom of the seventh, but Sam Riley struck out for the final out after it appeared, at least to many in the Mount Si section, that she had been robbed of a least a game-tying hit off a Cougar defender's glove. The ball appeared to land on the chalk denoting the foul line, but the home plate umpire thought otherwise.
Season ends against Totems
In the second winner-to-state game of the day for Mount Si, it was a battle of wills as both the Wildcats and Sammamish Totems, who had also played earlier, engaged in a pitching and defensive clinic that was decided in extra innings.
With a runner on third in the ninth inning (who started on second thanks to an international tiebreaker rule), a throwing error by Mount Si shortstop Amy Trenkamp allowed a run to score, and despite a late Mount Si charge, the Totems won 1-0 and clinched the state berth at the expense of their league rivals.
Both sides appeared very tired as the game went on. With temperatures in the low 90s at Fort Dent Park, the tone of the game was quiet, as most everyone appeared to be mentally spent.
"It feels great. We just beat the No. 1 team in Kingco, and we lost to them twice during the season, and our whole team pulled it together today and we tried our hardest," said Totems pitcher Sarah Minice.
Mount Si finished the year 17-8 and graduates a senior class that likely goes down as the most decorated senior class in Wildcat softball history.
"I would agree with that. It's hard for to me to talk to them right now knowing that those five girls who have been with me, well, those four girls (Jayne, Trenkamp, Svarthumle and Emily White), have been with me for all four years, and a lot of magical times," said Wildcat coach Larry White.