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FORKS — Few teams have the magical end to a season like the 10U Forks Babe Ruth softball squad just had the past two weeks.
First, Forks completely dominated the state tournament two weeks ago in Othello, going a perfect 6-0 while outscoring opponents 85-3 and winning the state championship for the first time.
Then this past week Forks went 6-0 at the regional championships in Meridian, Idaho, outscoring the other teams 41-9 in capturing the regional title, again for the first time.
Forks ended up outscoring all state and regional opponents 126-12, or by an average of 10.5-1 in every game.
At state, Forks was King Kong swatting away the pesky gnats.
To say that this was unexpected from a Forks softball team is putting it lightly.
“For Forks, which had never even witnessed a championship presentation in Babe Ruth play, let alone been part of one, it was a pretty good ending to a tournament,” longtime state and regional Babe Ruth commissioner James Lunt of Port Angeles said right after Forks won the state championship July 14.
The state title was all the sweeter because Forks had beaten nemesis Hoquiam 3-0 in the championship game.
This was the first tournament that Forks had swept Hoquiam as the two all-star teams had beaten up on each other in earlier tournaments used as a tune-up for the postseason.
But once the official playoffs started, Forks was unbeatable.
The North Olympic Peninsula team had defeated Hoquiam 12-2 earlier in state pool play before they met again in the title game.
Hoquiam lost to only Forks at state, and the two teams dominated regionals again, with Hoquiam outscoring all other regional opponents except for Forks, 59-14.
At regionals, Forks beat Hoquiam 7-4 in pool play and 8-2 in the championship game.
But don’t let those scores fool you, Hoquiam always had the potential to have a big inning.
Even though Forks led 8-1 in the regional title game in the sixth and final inning, Hoquiam pushed one run across home plate and was threatening despite having two outs with two base runners on.
Forks finally got out of the inning and won the game and the title when it got one of the base runners out in a run-down, and Forks players, coaches and family erupted into celebration.
“Hoquiam is tough, they don’t quit,” Forks statistician Jack Brandt said about the championship game.
Forks head coach Tim Adams noted that the Forks players just weren’t going to let themselves lose to Hoquiam at regionals.
“You have to give it to the girls, they battled hard against [Hoquiam],” Adams said.
At regionals, Forks fought the heat as well as the other teams.
The temperature hovered at above 100 degrees on the field for most of the week, including 107 degrees when Forks went against host Meridian in pool play Friday.
But neither the weather nor the opposition could stop the Forks 10U team.
Forks truly is a complete team with an incredible offense, standout pitching and steady defense.
“We have very few errors as a team,” Adams said about the defense.
In addition, catcher Rian Peters has a rocket for an arm, constantly throwing out base runners who dare run on her. She put out 10 base runners in the regionals alone.
Peters also had the hot bat at regionals, batting nearly at a .850 clip with three home runs, scoring 12 runs while having seven RBI.
Every player got on base safely at least once at regionals with all players except one getting hits.
Forks was even stronger offensively at state with every player getting at least one hit while Kierra Brandt had the hot bat by hitting .857 with four doubles, getting on base 20 of the 22 times she was at bat.
Also swinging hot bats at both tournaments were Jayden Olson, Madison Davis, Lanie Baker and Natalie Lausche.
The pitching was stellar with Chloe Leverington sharing equal duties with Olson.
The pair combined to throw 26 innings at state with Leverington striking out 32, scattering six hits and walking just two in 15 innings while Olson fanned 21, walked five and allowed just five hits in 11 innings.
Neither pitcher hit a batter in the entire tournament.
At regionals, they combined to hit five batters through pool play but struck out 39 batters while scattering nine hits in a combined 22 innings, 11 innings each.
Other players on the team include Emily Adams, Aspen Rondeau, Nicole Winger, Kray Horton and Nicole Winger.
Coaches include Adams and assistant coaches Jen Adams — Tim Adams’ wife — Jen Henderson and Andy Krume.
Jack Brandt said that community support contributed to the success of both the 10U and 12U softball teams at the tournaments.
“The kids want to thank the whole community for supporting them,” Brandt said.
“That was huge for us. We are a small town, and that community support helped us to get here.”