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Peninsula Daily News
SEQUIM — When a pair of undefeated softball rivals face off, their game is supposed to go down to the last inning.
Or extra innings, as was the case when Sequim and Port Angeles met.
Hannah Grubb was the hero for the Wolves in their 6-5 win in eight innings.
Grubb stepped to the plate with one out and tripled to score Rylleigh Zbaraschuk, who led off the bottom of the eighth with a long double to center field, and tie the game at 5-5.
“I just knew I had to hit it,” Grubb said.
“I had struggled a little bit throughout the day, but when I got up there, I didn’t think about anything. I just hit the ball.”
Melissa Lewis batted next for Sequim, and hit the ball hard to left field.
Roughriders outfielder Haley Gray caught the ball in shallow left and immediately threw the ball to home plate, but Grubb beat the throw and scored the winning run.
“I had to tag up and [Sequim coach Mike McFarlen] said, ‘You’ve got to get there. You are going to get there,’ ” Grubb said.
“So, I’m running hard the whole way, and I beat the ball there.”
With the Wednesday win, the Wolves (7-0, 8-0) claim sole possession of first place and are the last undefeated team in the Olympic League.
There was no shame in losing for Port Angeles (6-1, 7-1).
“You couldn’t have asked for a better game,” Riders coach Randy Steinman said. “It was great.
“We lost to a great team. We can’t hang our heads or anything.
“The play at the end there was exactly what we wanted — we had our outfield in, [the hit was a] line drive right there, and we had a shot at the plate. The throw was just a little off the line.
“[Sequim] was aggressive and did a good job.”
The game was a battle from the start.
Both teams had chances, but neither could score in the first three innings.
Port Angeles finally broke through in the top of the fourth when a hit by Dove Lucas scored Ashlee Reid, and then Gray after an overthrow by Sequim.
A few batters later, Raelyn Lucas hit a bases-loaded, ground-rule double down the left-field line that brought home Khason Politika and Dove Lucas.
Alyssa Wetzler also crossed home plate, but was sent back to third base when it was ruled the ball went pass the outfield fence and out of play.
“She did a great job; came up and had a clutch hit,” Steinman said of Raelyn Lucas.
“If that ball stays in and doesn’t go to the left and by the fence or it’s an enclosed park, then we score one more on that.
“That kind of hurt us that the ball went out of play.”
Sequim responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Bailey Rhodefer tripled to score Shelby Lott, and Columbia Haupt’s sacrifice fly scored Rhodefer.
Grubb scored in the fifth inning on a single by MaryLu Clift, and Rhodefer stole home to tie the game at 4-4 in the sixth inning.
In the top of the eighth inning, Dove Lucas singled and stole two bases. She scored on an error after swiping third base.
But Sequim again came back, in the bottom of the eighth.
“The girls, they never quit. They’ve got a lot of heart, and they always find a way to get it done. They just do,” McFarlen said.
“It seems like when they’re down, they find a way to just get back up and fight back.
“PA’s a good team, though. We had our hands full.”
The wind played a factor in the game, making fly balls difficult to read and catch, and turning hits into outs or foul balls, and it probably robbed both teams of home runs.
McFarlen said Zbaraschuk’s eighth-inning hit likely would have cleared the fence on a normal day.
“It hit the fence in the air,” McFarlen said.
Steinman said it forced the Riders to tweak their strategy.
“The wind was not our friend tonight,” he said.
“Pop ups that we just couldn’t catch — they were drifting everywhere. And it was the same for both teams.
“You try to play a little small ball and stuff, just because the wind, if you get it up in the air, it’s going to be an our or be out of play.”
The wind also played a part in the game being a duel between pitchers, Makayla Bentz for Sequim and Sarah Steinman and Dove Lucas for Port Angeles.
Bentz pitched all eight innings and threw 165 pitches. It was her second complete game in 24 hours, as she threw a 105-pitch shutout against North Mason on Tuesday.
Sequim plays a nonleague game today when it hosts Chimacum (2-4).
The Riders next game is at Olympic (5-2, 5-5) on Monday.
Sequim 6, Port Angeles 5 (8 innings)
Port Angeles 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 1 — 5 4 4
Sequim 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 2 — 6 7 4
WP- Ma. Bentz; LP- D. Lucas
Port Angeles: Steinman 5IP, 4H, 3 R, 2 ER, 7BB, 9K; D. Lucas 2 2/3IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K.
Sequim: Ma. Bentz 8IP, 5R, ER, 8K, 4H, 7BB.
Port Angeles: R. Lucas 1-4, 2B, 2RBI, SB; Politika 1-3, R; D. Lucas 2R, 2SB.
Sequim: Zbaraschuk 2-3, R, 2 2B; Grubb 2-3, 3B, 2R, RBI, 2BB; Rhodefer 1-2, 3B, 2R, RBI, 3BB.