SPORTS: Sequim rallies late to beat archrival Port Angeles in softball

PORT ANGELES — The Sequim softball team didn’t have to just play its first full game of the season Wednesday.

It also had to survive.

Sequim scored seven runs in the final two innings to complete a rally from an early three-run deficit and beat Port Angeles 10-6 in a battle of Olympic League unbeatens at drizzly Dry Creek Elementary School.

The Wolves (8-0 in league, 10-0 overall) bashed three home runs, two off the bat of Lea Hopson, as their normally potent lineup waited until it got into unfamiliar territory before it caught fire.

“A lot of people were coming up to us at the boys games and they were like, ‘So if we come watch PA, you’re going to play seven innings right?,’” said Hopson, whose team had 10 straight mercy-rule victories to start out the season.

“I guess we gave them what they wanted.”

Hopson, in particular, delivered for the Sequim faithful.

Sporting her trademark eye black smears, the senior shortstop finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored.

Both of her hits landed well over the center-field fence, including a two-run bomb off Port Angeles ace Stacy Webb in the top of the sixth inning that put Sequim ahead for good, 5-4.

“They were pitching me all over the place, so I was just trying to keep up,” Hopson said.

“The first one out was just a stinger, and the second one I was just trying to battle and get base hits.”

Fifth home run

She did a lot more than that, blasting her second shot of the game, and fifth of the season, more than 20 feet beyond the fence.

Demiree Briones hit a laser beam to left field two batters later for a two-run home run of her own.

And that was just enough for Briones, Sequim’s top pitcher, to hold off a game Roughrider squad that had 10 hits on the game.

The junior right-hander went the distance for her 10th win of the season, striking out 10, walking four and allowing five earned runs total.

“That’s a huge win,” Briones said, “especially being able to score 10 runs on them. Everyone thought is was going to be a close game.”

Indeed, a matchup of the Olympic League’s two most dominant pitchers turned into a slugfest.

Not only did Sequim have its three home runs, but Port Angeles’ Kelsey Hinsdale (1-for-2, three RBIs, walk) knocked one out of the park as well.

Hinsdale’s shot, a two-run homer to left, put Port Angeles on top 2-1 in the bottom of the first inning.

The Riders (7-1 in league and overall) added two more in the second on an Emily Drake single to go up 4-1.

Yet Briones managed to pitch out of some jams after that, including holding the Riders to just one run out of two bases-loaded chances between the fifth and sixth innings.

Port Angeles stranded nine runners total on the game.

“I scatter my good hitters throughout the lineup, it’s just that they had a tough day,” Port Angeles coach Buddy Bear said.

“I’m not into the wins and losses, it is how you play the game. And I’m very proud of my girls.

“I’m very proud of them for hanging in there.”

Webb pitched all seven innings for the Riders, giving up 13 hits, nine earned runs and three walks while striking out eight.

Other than Hopson’s solo home run in the first inning and a two-run Wolves rally in the top of the fourth, she was able to keep Sequim’s bats at bay early on.

It wasn’t until the sixth, when Hopson and Briones both went deep, that things began to unravel.

After the big four-run sixth inning, Sequim added three more in the seventh to put the game away and hand Port Angeles its first loss of the year.

“They are mistake hitters,” Bear said. “We made a couple of mistakes, that’s just the way it goes. We’ve got to learn from that.

“Its a big game, yes. But it’s now, ‘What do we get from this? What do we learn from this?’”

Sequim had five different hitters end up with two-hit games.

Maddy Zbaraschuk went 2-for-3 with three runs scored while Rylleigh Zbaraschuk was 2-for-4, Cindy Miller 2-for-4 and Briones 2-for-4.

“This is really good for us, to know that we can play at the next level,” Sequim coach Joel Lewis said.

“I think after going through the order one time and seeing [Webb], I think that’s all it took. We just kept battling.”

Sequim 10, Port Angeles 6

Sequim 1 0 0 2 0 4 3 ­— 10 13 2

Port Angeles 2 2 0 0 0 1 1 — 6 10 3

WP- Briones (10-0); LP- Webb

Pitching Statistics

Sequim: Briones 7IP, 10H, 5ER, 4BB, 10K.

Port Angeles: Webb 7IP, 13H, 9ER, 3BB, 8K.

Hitting Statistics

Sequim: Hopson 2-4 (2HR, 3RBI, 3R); Briones 2-3 (HR, 3RBI, BB, R); M. Zbaraschuk 2-3 (3R, RBI, BB); R. Zbaraschuk 2-4 (SB, R); Miller 2-4 (R).

Port Angeles: Hinsdale 1-2 (HR, 3RBI, BB, R); Loghry 2-3 (2B, SB, R); Drake 2-4 (2RBI, R).

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