The Eatonville Lady Cruiser fastpitch team survived the test of a very competitive 1A Evergreen Conference to come away with the league title.
After clinching the title a few weeks ago, the Cruisers played a rained-out make-up game against Tenino before finishing off the week with a few non-league match-ups against a couple of powerhouse teams.
On May 9, Eatonville hosted the Tenino Beavers in the final game of their three-game series and came away with a 10-0 win in a mercy-rule shortened five-inning game to sweep the series.
Hailey Rath led the Cruisers at the plate, going 4-4 with two doubles, a stolen base and four runs scored. Brooke Blocker smashed a home run and went 2-2 at the plate with four runs batted in, a walk and two runs scored.
After that win, the Cruisers headed to Pe Ell to take on the No. 1 team in the 2B classification, Pe Ell-Willapa Valley High School.
After trailing 6-5 in the final inning, Rath got on base after crushing a pitch back up the middle into center field. Dakota Rath followed that up with a line-drive single to right to score Hailey Rath and tie up the game at 6-6.
After holding their opponent scoreless in the bottom of the seventh, the Cruisers did serious damage in extra innings.
Dakota Smith hit her second home run of the game and helped the Cruisers score five runs in the inning to take an 11-6 lead into the bottom half.
Pe Ell-Willapa Valley loaded the bases before Lauren Matlock stepped to the plate took a 1-1 pitch deep for a grand slam to score four and pull her team within one at 11-10.
With two outs in the inning, Pe Ell-Willapa Valley’s Olivia Matlock grounded out to Cruiser second baseman Charlie Smith off a Sara Smith pitch to seal the win for the Cruisers.
The Cruisers hit four home runs on the day, with Dakota Smith hitting two of them. Hailey Rath and Berkeley Porter hit one each.
With Rath's 16th home run of the season, she broke her school record of 15 she hit last season. Also, the four home runs by the team broke Eatonville’s single-season team record for home runs, which stood at 43 and was set last year, as well, in the COVID-shortened 2021 season.
The Lady Cruisers finished the season by heading to Auburn to take on the class 3A Auburn-Riverside Ravens in another non-league affair.
Eatonville jumped on the Ravens early by scoring in each of the first three innings to eventually clinch a 10-5 victory.
Hailey Rath and Blocker led the Cruisers with three hits each. Dakota Smith homered in the game to give her nine on the season.
By clinching the league title, the Cruisers enter the district playoff as the No. 1 seed. The Cruisers take on the No. 4-seeded team from the TriCo, the La Center Wildcats, Wednesday. The game will take place at noon at Fort Borst Park in Centralia. The winner of that game will advance to play at 4 p.m. Wednesday against the winner of the Montesano/Columbia-White Salmon game.
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