By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
Want more top stories? Sign up here for daily or weekly newsletters with our top news.
The Rangers brought home their second consecutive fourth-place trophy from the Class 1B tournament at the Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima.
At the Class 2A tournament, the Roughriders came within one game of winning their first-ever trophy with a 12-3 loss to Lynden in eight innings at Carlon Park in Selah on Saturday.
Even without hardware, Port Angeles' state tournament was a resounding success.
The Riders won more state games in two days, three, than their school had in its previous history.
They got revenge for their two losses at last month's district playoffs, beating Orting 9-2 on Friday and Fife 6-1 on Saturday.
And, they were the only team to score on eventual state champion Lake Washington, plating two in a 6-2 opening-round loss.
“The girls played well,” Port Angeles coach Randy Steinman said Sunday. “It was a fun, fun weekend.
“The team just came together the whole tournament.”
The win over West Central District champion Fife was particularly satisfying.
“That was probably the best win,” Steinman said. “They're a great, great team.”
Against the Trojans, Port Angeles junior Alicia Howell once again smashed the ball.
With the Riders leading 1-0 and the bases loaded, Howell whacked the ball over the fence for a grand slam, her third home run of the state tournament.
“It was amazing,” Steinman said of Howell's state-tournament power surge.
“And it came at clutch times.”
Port Angeles added another run to make it 6-0 before the Trojans scored a late run.
Riders freshman pitcher Nizhoni Wheeler earned the win.
“Nizhoni pitched really well,” Steinman said. “Nizhoni had a great weekend pitching.
“We made some great defensive plays [against Fife]. That was one of our best defensive games of the year.”
In Saturday's second game, Port Angeles took a 3-0 lead before Lynden tied the score at 3-3.
The game was still even at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh when Carly Gouge stepped to the plate for the Riders with a runner on second base and one out.
“Carly ripped a shot, a line drive,” Steinman said. “I mean, it was a hard it.
“When Carly hit that, I was like, 'Game over.'”
Unfortunately, it was hit right to the center fielder.
“A few feet to either side and we win,” Steinman said.
Haley Gray was the next batter, and hit a line drive to the right fielder.
The Lions finally broke through in the eighth inning with nine runs to end the Riders' trophy hopes.
Port Angeles loses six important seniors to graduation — pitcher Sarah Steinman, catcher Tori Kuch, third baseman Ashlee Reid, infielders Cara Cristion and Haley Gray and outfielder Brenna Suggs — but also have a lot of contributors returning, such as Wheeler, Howell and Gouge.
“We plan to be back next year, obviously,” Randy Steinman said.
Rangers take fourth
Quilcene again ends its season as one of the top teams in Class 1B, claiming fourth place for the second year in a row.
The Rangers beat Curlew 10-5 on Saturday to earn a spot in the third-place game, where they fell to Almira-Coulee-Hartline 13-3 for the second time in the tournament.
The Warriors also beat Quilcene 14-4 in the tournament's opening round.
The Rangers will likely be a force in 1B in 2015 with all but two players slated to return.
Celsea Hughes is the lone senior.
Quilcene also will lose Italian transfer student Martina Papetti, who entered the season with no previous softball experience, or knowledge, but who learned the game and became a reserve who coach Mark Thompson said earlier this week that he would feel comfortable inserting into a game if needed.
Track and Field
PT's Ryan Clarke finishes fourth
CHENEY — Port Townsend distance runner Ryan Clarke capped off a stellar junior year by taking fourth in the 3,200-meter run at the Class 1A state championship meet at Eastern Washington University on Saturday.
Clarke ran the 3,200 in 9 minutes and 59.68 seconds. Forks' Alan Ensastegui placed 12th with a time of 10:42.00.
Clarke also finished ninth in the 1,600 Friday and was fifth at the Class 1A state cross country meet in the fall.
In the Class 1B championships, also at Eastern Washington University, Neah Bay earned a fourth- and fifth-place finish in the boys long jump.
Elisha Winck took fourth with a jump of 20-02 and Josiah Greene was fifth with a 20-01.
Mansfield's Macen McLean won the event with a distance of 21-07.
In the 1B girls 4x400-meter relay, Clallam Bay's Inga Erickson, Marissa May, Chelsey Ritter and Molly McCoy took seventh with a time of 4:40.14.