CENTRALIA — Forks split a pair of games at the Class 1A Southwest District 4 softball tournament at Centralia’s Borst Park, falling to TriCo League champs Castle Rock 10-0 and staving off elimination with an 18-1 win over La Center.
The Spartans (10-9) will face Evergreen League foe Hoquiam (11-9) in a loser-out contest at noon Saturday back at Borst Park with the winner of that contest advancing to a winner-to-state/loser-out game at 4 p.m. Saturday.
After falling to Castle Rock, Forks regrouped and got the bats going in the loser-out contest against La Center.
“We turned around and faced La Center, last year’s state runner-up and the state champs in 2016, but they have a new pitcher and catcher,” Spartans coach Dennis Dean said.
“We hit them really good. No home runs, but Jayden Olson had a pair of doubles, one of them with the bases loaded.”
Dean said Natalie Lausche and Britney Dean added ground-rule doubles, Rian Peters went 3 for 3 and Julia Lausche had two hits.
“That was big for her confidence,” Dean said of Julia Lausche. “She’s been struggling a little at the plate.”
Freshman Chloe Leverington pitched a complete-game to earn the win.
In the opener, Dean said the Spartans hung with Castle Rock (19-2) for much of the game, but errors and trouble batting against Rockets senior pitcher Trinity Naugle held Forks down.
“We had four costly errors that hurt us,” Dean said. “Only one run was earned. We were down 4-0 through five, but we made some errors and they put up four in the fifth to open it back up.”
The Spartans managed a single and three bunts offensively in the loss.
“We weren’t able to hit Castle Rock’s pitcher,” Dean said. “She had a good riseball, something like a curve that we weren’t seeing well, and she mixed in a changeup.”
Naugle racked up 16 strikeouts for Castle Rock.
“We weren’t even fouling them off,” Dean said. “I was surprised, but she did the exact same thing to Elma [in a 7-2 Castle Rock semifinal win]. “She had great movement with her pitches. I’ve never seen a ball move that much.”
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]