Wildcat softball season ends in heartbreak, again

Mount Si’s softball team had a chance to make state for the first time since 2006 last Friday, May 22, in the SeaKing District Tournament at Lower Woodland Fields in Seattle against Kingco rival Bellevue. In the process, the Wildcats would have avenged last season’s heartbreaking loss to West Seattle in the final district game.

But once again, heartbreak ensued, for all the wrong reasons.

Bellevue outlasted Mount Si 7-5 in eight innings, in a game which will be most remembered for a play in the sixth inning which ultimately aided the Wolverines’ comeback. With the Wildcats in the lead 4-2, two outs and Lisa Bennett on base after having been hit by a pitch from Mount Si junior Alex Johnson, Kaitlyn Melby hit a short pop up which inexplicably dropped in front of three Wildcat fielders, including Johnson.

Seeing Bennett barrel toward home, the Mount Si players got the ball to catcher Danielle Massengill, who got in front of the plate to block Bennett from scoring. Bennett was tagged out a couple feet from the plate as she attempted to roll over the Wildcat catcher. However, umpires ruled her safe for what Wildcat coaches indicated after was “obstruction.”

National Federation of High Schools softball Rule 2, Section 36 concerns obstruction, and according to the rule, it is defined as “the act of the defensive team member that hinders or impedes a batter’s attempt to make contact with a pitched ball or that impedes the progress of a runner or batter-runner who is legally running bases, unless the fielder is in possession of the ball or is making the initial play on a batted ball. The act may be intentional or unintentional, physical or verbal.” However, a photo taken at the game showed Massengill had the ball in control when she blocked the plate to tag Bennett out.

Mount Si coach Larry White argued the call briefly, but to no avail. Bellevue ultimately tied the game 4-4, but the Wildcats re-took the lead in the bottom of the sixth, when Johnson, who reached base on a walk, scored on a throwing error by the Wolverines shortstop on a ground ball by sophomore Maura Murphy. Bellevue tied the game in the seventh, then scored twice more in the eighth, and was able to nail Johnson at third for the final out in the bottom of the frame to clinch the state berth and send Mount Si home with a 14-10 record.

“We’ve had a don’t-quit attitude all year, and we knew what it was going to take to get to the state tournament,” White said. “Unfortunately, a couple things didn’t go our way again this year.” Murphy finished the game 2-4 with a triple and run batted in to lead Mount Si.

The Wildcats advanced to the game with the Wolverines by blasting Bishop Blanchet 11-0 in five innings. The game ended early due to the ten-run mercy rule. Mount Si used a seven-run fourth inning to make quick work of the Braves. Massengill had two singles and an RBI, while Carly Weidenbach added two hits, including a triple. The key hit, though, was a pinch-hit double in that seven-run fourth by freshman junior varsity callup Sarah Kriebel.

“It’s amazing just having the opportunity to play with them physically and I feel special being part of it,” Kriebel said.

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