SPORTS: Sequim captures first softball state championship

SELAH — Unbeaten and unmatched.

Sequim’s softball team put an exclamation mark on its season by winning the Class 2A state championship and becoming one of the few teams in state history to finish the year undefeated.

“This is very, very special,” Sequim coach Joel Lewis said.

The 28-0 Wolves, who have a deadly lineup of long-ball hitters who have been 10-running teams all year, beat Ellensburg 2-1 in a pitchers’ duel for the 2A title Saturday afternoon at Carlon Park.

The emotional dam burst when the Wolves got the final out in the top of the seventh.

“We just started crying,” Lea Hopson, the team’s two-time Olympic League MVP, said.

“Me, Maddy [Zbaraschuk] and Cindy [Miller], the three seniors, got together with the rest of the team, and we were crying for joy.”

Earlier in the day, the Wolves nipped nemesis Anacortes 8-7 in the semifinals, beating one of the two teams that defeated them at state two years ago.

Sequim opened state by shading Lynden 12-10 in the first round and blasting six home runs to rip Othello 14-7 in the quarterfinals on a rainy Friday.

“It’s amazing,” Lewis said about winning state.

“This group of girls is just remarkable. It’s been such an honor to coach them and to watch them play.”

This team, despite having only three seniors, was on a mission to win state from day one, Lewis said.

“The first day I was introduced to them, they told me that their goal was to win state,” said Lewis, a 1997 Sequim High School graduate.

The Wolves not only won state, they took very few prisoners along the way, capturing the Olympic League and West Central District championships, usually by 10-run mercy-rule scores.

In the title game, the heavy-hitting Wolves won by scoring their fewest runs of the year.

“We were emotionally drained and tired for that game,” Hopson said. “Ellensburg was tired, too.”

The game before in the semifinals, the Wolves beat Anacortes by the one run in their toughest game of the tournament.

The Wolves scored four runs in the top of the seventh to take an 8-4 lead, but the Seahawks scored three times in the bottom of the seventh to make it interesting.

“That game should have been for the championship,” Hopson said. “It was a tough game. They were the best team we played at state.”

And the Wolves got their revenge against a team that had beaten them at state in 2009, she added.

That semifinal game might have slowed the Wolves down, but it killed Anacortes as the Seahawks had no energy at all in a 10-0 loss to W.F. West in the next round, the consolation semifinals.

Against Ellensburg, the Wolves scored first, going ahead 1-0 in the second inning.

Pitcher Demiree Briones got on base after she was hit by a pitch and went to second when the next batter was walked.

A pinch runner came in for Briones and came home on a Columbia Haupt double.

Ellensburg tied it 1-1 on a solo home run in the fourth inning.

The Wolves went ahead for good with a run in the fifth.

Hannah Grubb got on with a perfect bunt for a single and then came home on Rylleigh Zbaraschuk’s second double of the game.

“We did not come out on fire against Ellensburg but we showed enough to win,” Hopson said.

Briones (22-0) picked up the win on the mound, striking out two while walking none and giving up just the one earned run on six hits.

Briones won three of the four state games, pitching three complete seven-inning games and throwing 5 1/3 innings in the first game but not getting the decision.

The Wolves went ahead of Lynden 10-3 in first-round action but let the Lions back in the game with seven runs in the top of the six on a soggy day.

Sequim ended the threat with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Bailey Rhodefer had two doubles and two RBIs while Maddy Zbaraschuk smacked a triple with an RBI and a run scored and Hopson went 4-for-4, scoring four runs.

In the quarterfinal, the Wolves made a little state history, hitting six homers in a single state game.

Rylleigh Zbaraschuk had two of the homers, one from each side of the plate, while Hopson also had two homers and Maddy Zbaraschuk and Alexas Besand had a homer each.

Hopson had five RBIs while Rylleigh Zbaraschuk brought four home and Besand knocked three in.

“It’s an amazing feeling to win state,” Hopson said. “This is an amazing team. This year went so quickly.”

Hopson said she’s a little sad that the three seniors have ended their high school careers.

“But we went out on the best note,” she said.

State championship

Sequim 2, Ellensburg 1

Ellensburg 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 ­— 1 6 0

Sequim 0 1 0 0 1 0 x — 2 4 0

WP- Briones (22-0)

Pitching Statistics

Sequim: Briones 7IP, 2K, 0BB, 6H, 1ER.

Hitting Statistics

Sequim: R. Zbaraschuk 2-3, 2 2B, RBI; Haupt 1-2, 2B, RBI.

State semifinals

Sequim 8, Anacortes 7

Sequim 1 0 1 1 1 0 4 ­— 8 8 2

Anacortes 2 0 2 0 0 0 3 — 7 13 1

WP- Briones (21-0); LP-Liz C.

Pitching Statistics

Sequim: Briones 7IP, 5K, BB, 13H, 6ER.

Hitting Statistics

Sequim: R. Zbaraschuk 1-4, 2B, 2RBI; Hopson 0-1, BB, 2HBP, 3R; M. Zbaraschuk 2-2, RBI, R; Briones 2-4, RBI; Grubb 3-4, HR, 2B, 2R, 3RBI; Rhodefer R.

State quarterfinals

Sequim 14, Othello 7

Sequim 2 0 1 5 1 3 2 ­— 14 17 3

Othello 0 1 0 2 0 4 0 — 7 5 0

WP- Briones (20-0)

Pitching Statistics

Sequim: Briones 7IP, 4K, 5H, 2ER.

Hitting Statistics

Sequim: R. Zbaraschuk 3-4, 2HR, 4RBIs, 3R; Miller, 1-5, R; Hopson 4-5, 2HR, 5RBI, 3R; M. Zbaraschuk 2-3, HR, 2B, RBI, 3R; Briones 2-5; Besand 3-5, HR, 3RBI, 2R; Rhodefer 2-4, 2B, RBI, R.

State first round

Sequim 12, Lynden 10

Lynden 0 3 0 0 0 7 0 ­— 10 7 3

Sequim 2 4 1 3 0 2 x — 12 13 3

WP- Bentz

Pitching Statistics

Sequim: Bentz 1.2IP, 2H, 1ER; Briones 5 1/3IP, 7K, 5H, 6ER.

Hitting Statistics

Sequim: R. Zbaraschuk 2-3, 3R; Miller, 2-4, R, RBI; Hopson 4-4, 4R; M. Zbaraschuk 1-3, 3B, RBI, R; Briones 1-2, 2RBI; Besand 1-3; Haupt R; Rhodefer 2-3, 2 2B, 2RBI, R.

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