PREP SOFTBALL: Roughriders, Spartans tune up for playoffs with road wins

GIG HARBOR — Port Angeles softball won its final regular-season game of the year with a dramatic home run in the top of the seventh inning by Zoe Smithson.

The Riders got behind 4-0 to 3A Gig Harbor, but rallied with two runs in the sixth inning and three more in the seventh to pull ahead. Hope O’Connor, coming off a perfect game last week against Kingston, slammed the door in the final two innings in the circle to pick up the win.

Gig Harbor is not only a 3A team, it’s a good 3A team that went 12-2 in the South Sound Conference.

Port Angeles entered the sixth down four runs, but Madi Roening drove in a run with a double and Jada Cargo-Acosta drove in another run to cut the lead in half at 4-2.

Smithson came up to bat with two runners on in the top of the seventh and hit a 3-run bomb to give the Riders a 5-4 lead. O’Connor, who allowed just one baserunner in two innings of work, shut the Tides down in the bottom of the seventh.

Smithson finished the game 2 for 3 with her home run, two runs scored and three RBIs. She got on base two other times with a walk and after being hit by a pitch.

Aeverie Politika finished 2 for 3. Roening was 1 for 3 with a double, a run scored, an RBI and a walk.

Kiana Watson-Charles started in the circle, going three innings, giving up one run on four hits. She struck out five and walked none. Ella Holland gave up three runs on six hits in two innings with a strikeout and a walk. O’Connor pitched two innings, and gave up one hit, no walks and no runs. She struck out one.

The Roughriders (9-3, 12-7) played Tuesday in a tiebreaker playoff against Sequim. Port Angeles and the Wolves finished tied for second place and played for the Olympic League 2A Division No. 2 seed heading into the West Central District III 2A Tournament, which begins Friday.

Port Angeles 5, Gig Harbor 4

PA 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 — 5 9 0

GH 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 — 4 11 0

WP: O’Connor

Pitching

Port Angeles — Watson-Charles 3IP, R, 4H, 5K, 0BB; Holland 2IP, 3R, 6H, K, 0BB; O’Connor 2IP, 0ER, H, K, 0BB.

Hitting

Port Angeles — O’Connor 1-4, R; Smithson 2-3, HR, 2R, 3RBI, HBP, BB; Roening 1-3, 2B, RBI, BB; Cargo-Acosta 1-4, RBI; Politika 2-3; Halberg 1-3; Brenkman, 1-1, R.

Forks 5, Rochester 3

ROCHESTER — Forks will go into an extremely tough district tournament on a winning note, as the Spartans had a big seventh inning to get past 2A Rochester 5-3.

This was actually a close, hard-fought pitchers’ duel into the seventh inning. The Spartans got off to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Jayden Olson drove in Rian Peters with a double.

The game remained 1-0 until the seventh when the Spartans erupted for four runs. It turns out they needed most of those runs.

Britney Dean began the rally with a single, Natalie Lausche walked and Colbie Rancourt came in as a pinch-hitter, getting a single to load the bases.

Fellow freshman Aspen Rondeau then smacked a bases-loaded double to score three runs. She later came in to score on a Chloe Leverington single to make it 5-0.

Rochester rallied in the bottom of the seventh, getting two runners on and then hitting a home run to make it 5-3. Leverington then closed the game out, getting the final two batters out to end the game.

“It came down to the wire, ” said coach Dennis Dean Jr. He felt that both Rancourt and Rondeau’s hits were huge in that big seventh inning.

The game had a total of 19 strikeouts, with Rochester getting 12 Spartans hitters to strike out.

Dean pitched the first four innings for Forks, giving up no runs with five strikeouts. Leverington pitched the final three innings, giving up three runs on the one big blow, while striking out two.

The Spartans finish their season 9-8 and now begin postseason today in Centralia in the Southwest District 4 1A Tournament. They play Castle Rock, which finished fourth in the state last year, at noon. They will either play Elma, last year’s state runner-up, or King’s Way Christian in a second game at 4 p.m. The next round of game are on Saturday.

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