Cruiser fastpitch team claims district crown

Cruiser fastpitch team claims district crown

Cruiser fastpitch team claims district crown

Down 3-2 in the final inning of the district title game, the Eatonville fastpitch team rallied and held the Hoquiam Grizzlies scoreless in the bottom to pick up a 5-3 win and the school’s first district title Saturday. The win earned the Cruisers a berth into the state tournament this week.

With one out in the top of the seventh inning, Brooke Blocker hit a double to center to reach base. Mary Chabot then singled to send Blocker to third.

An intentional walk to Hailey Rath set up a bases-loaded situation for senior Dakota Smith. Smith singled to drive in Blocker and tie the game 3-3.

Senior Berkeley Porter stepped up with the bases still loaded and hit a deep shot to left field, which scored Chabot and gave the Cruisers the lead at 4-3.

Pitcher Sara Smith then hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Rath tagged up on the play and scored to make it 5-3.

Eatonville held the Grizzlies at bay in the bottom of the inning to pick up the victory.

“We are very humbled by everyone's support,” head coach Jen Smith said. “The stands were packed, and it was amazing seeing so many out to support these ladies.”

The Grizzlies slowed the normally explosive Cruiser offense during the game.

“The mindset going into this game was that we were well prepared, we knew them, and we would do well,” Smith said. “All year we have had success in our batting, and in this game, we came in a bit off from previous games against Hoquiam."

Smith said the defense was key in the victory.

"Our defense played a huge role this game, which ended up fueling us in the seventh,” Smith said. “As a coach, my favorite part of this game was the selflessness each player possessed and how quick they were to pick a teammate up and have each other's back. It's our biggest motivator - being the best teammate they can be - and it paid off".

In their opening-round game Friday, the Cruisers faced the La Center Wildcats and came away with a 6-0 win.

Rath hit two two-run home runs in the game. Charlie Smith and Sara Smith hit home runs, as well.

In the second game on Friday, Eatonville played the Columbia-White Salmon Bruins in the semi-finals.

The Cruisers posted five runs in the first inning, highlighted by another Hailey Rath two-run bomb. They pushed another eight runs across in the second inning thanks to a couple more home runs: a three-run shot by Berkeley Porter and a two-run home run by Brooke Blocker to make the score 13-0.

Rath drove in the dagger when she stepped to the plate with one aboard in the third inning and hit another two-run home run to end the game at 15-0 in a mercy-rule shortened three-inning game.

The WIAA seeding committee met on Sunday to seed the 12-team state tournament and awarded the Cruisers the No. 1 seed. The Cruisers will receive a bye and head straight into the quarterfinals where they will face the winner of the Royal/Castle Rock game.

The 2022 Gesa Credit Union 1A State Championships will be played Friday and Saturday at Columbia Playfield in Richland. The Cruiser's first game is at 2:30 p.m. on Field 1.



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