LACEY — The Port Angeles and Sequim softball girls have certainly grown familiar with each other.
The Roughriders and Wolves played an unprecedented five times this season, and it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that they could actually play a sixth game against each other at the state 2A softball tournament.
Coming into Saturday, the Wolves and Roughriders had split four games, with the Riders winning a game early in league, then the Wolves coming back and winning two straight, one an Olympic League 2A game and the other a nonleague game. They played a fourth time because they ended up tied for second place in the league. Port Angeles won that game to even the series 2-2.
Then, both the Riders and Wolves absolutely stormed through the West Central District III 2A Tournament, meeting in the championship game Saturday night. The Roughriders won the rubber match, as a three-run home run in the sixth inning by Madi Roening turned out to be the difference in a 9-6 victory.
The Riders claimed another WCD III championship, while Sequim comes in second place. Both teams are going to the state 2A tournament, having qualified earlier in the district tournament.
Port Angeles and Sequim showed again how close they are in talent as this game went back and forth. The Wolves opened up a 3-0 lead, but the Riders rallied with five runs in the third to take a 5-3 lead. Sequim scored a run in the fifth to cut the score to 5-4 and the Riders responded with a four-run sixth, accentuated by Roening’s bomb to take a commanding 9-4 lead.
Sequim scored two runs in the sixth, but Riders’ pitcher Kiana Watson-Charles slammed the door in the seventh inning to keep the Wolves at bay.
Roening finished the game 2 for 2 with her home run and three RBIs. Zoe Smith was 2 for 4 with a double off the fence and two RBIs, while Olivia Nevaril was 2-4.
On the mound, Hope O’Connor pitched three innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks. She struck out two. Watson-Charles gets the victory. She went the final four innings, giving up four hits and one walk.
LeeAnn Raney pitched the entire game for the Wolves, giving up eight hits and one walk. She struck out five. She was hurt by a three-run error in that big Riders’ third inning.
Christy Grubb went 2 for 4 for the Wolves. Isabelle Dennis was 2 for 3, Lili Fili was 1 for 4 with a double, while Raney was 2 for 3 with a double.
This was the first time in five years the Riders didn’t win the league championship, But, they bounced back from their second-place finish in league to win the WCD III title.
“We lost six seniors last year. It took us all year to find the right six players to replace them,” said Port Angeles coach Randy Steinman. “We’re progressing and getting better and better. It’s been a fun season.”
Despite winning the tournament, it appears Port Angeles (17-7) might have gotten the tougher draw at the state tournament, which will be held in Selah. The Riders’ first game will be against WF West, a 20-3 team that finished third in the Southwest District 4 tournament. That game will be held at 10 a.m. Friday.
Meanwhile, the Wolves go into state red-hot, having won 10 out of their last 12 (and both of those losses were to the Roughriders).
“I told the girls to hold their heads up high,” said coach Tim Lusk. He said the No. 2 district seed is the highest the Wolves have had since he has been coach.
The Wolves (15-6) get to play a team with a losing record, but it will also be essentially a home game for their opponent.
Sequim will play Selah, a 12-13 team that did win five out of six games at its district tournament.
“You don’t underestimate any team at state,” Lusk said. That game is set for noon Friday.
Another thing for Port Angeles and Sequim to be proud of — all four Olympic League 2A teams at district qualified for state with Olympic and North Kitsap also at state. In essence, one-fourth of the state tournament is coming out of their league.
“That just tells me how strong our league is,” said Steinman.
Forks and Quilcene also qualified for their state softball tournaments this weekend.
Port Angeles 9, Sequim 6
PA 0 0 5 0 0 4 0 — 9 8 1
Sequim 0 3 0 0 1 2 0 — 6 11 4
WP: Watson-Charles LP: Raney
Port Angeles — O’Connor 3IP, 7H, 2BB, 2K; Watson-Charles 4IP, 4H, BB.
Sequim — Raney 7IP, 11H, BB, HBP, 5K.
Port Angeles — Roening 2-2, HR, 3RBI; Smithson 2-4, 2B, 2RBI; Nevaril 2-4.
Sequim — Grubb 2-4; Dennis 2-3; Raney 2-3, 2B; Fili 1-4, 2B.
Southwest District 4 Elma 5, Forks 0
CENTRALIA — Forks lost its final game at the Southwest District 4 tournament, 5-0 to Elma.
The Spartans had already qualified for the state 1A tournament, but lost their third/fourth-place game, going in to the state tournament as a No. 4 seed.
After qualifying for state with a 14-0 win over La Center earlier Saturday, coach Dennis Dean Jr. said the Spartans didn’t have the same energy and excitement in the seeding game against Elma. Rian Peters, one of the Spartans’ main players, didn’t play against Elma.
How hard is it for the Spartans to get to state? Three out of the 16 teams at state are from Forks’ Evergreen 1A League as Elma and Montesano are both in the tournament, as well.
The Spartans (11-10) open up the state 1A tournament in Richland against Lynden Christian (12-11) at noon Friday.
Bi-District Championship Naselle 18, Quilcene 2
BREMERTON — The Rangers lost 18-2 against Naselle on Saturday for the Bi-District 1B Championship.
Coach Mark Thompson said Naselle had a pretty good eighth-grade pitcher and that “we didn’t play very well.”
However, Quilcene, winners of the Sea-Tac 1B League, are still going to state as a No. 2 seed out of the Bi-District. The Rangers will begin play in the eight-team tournament at 1 p.m. Friday in Yakima. Their opponent has yet to be determined because a number of games in eastern Washington were rained out Saturday and were played Sunday.
“Our goal is to win a game on that second day [of the state tournament] and bring home a trophy,” Thompson said.
Baseball Colton 9, Quilcene 0
CHEHALIS — Quilcene’s season came to an end with a shutout against Colton 9-0 on Saturday at the 1B state tournament.
“We got beat by a good team,” said coach Darrin Dotson. “They’re a class act.”
The Rangers will lose eight seniors — Dustin Hughes, Austin Troup, Stewart Beck, Wyatt Johnsen, Olin Reynolds, Robert Comstock III and Brennen Filmer.
But, pitcher Chase Newman will return next year and Dotson said freshman Kevin Alejo has also shown a powerful arm. Holdem Elkins also returns to the team.
Quilcene (8-10) made state despite starting the season 2-8. The Rangers won their last four regular-season games, then won two out of three at the Bi-District tournament to become one of just eight teams to make the 1B state tournament.