Sports

Wolves go 2-2 at class 2A tournament

For a team led by underclassmen, the Wolves sure are playing over their heads.

Sequim's varsity softball stars made their mark at the class 2A state tournament in Selah last weekend, winning two of four games and earning a top-eight finish at state for the second time in just three years.

"They just pulled together," Sequim coach Mel Hendrickson said. "We had a good enough team to compete with anybody. To make it into the final eight - that's quite an accomplishment."

The Wolves didn't start well, however, getting dropped from the championship bracket early by top seed Colville.

With a No. 3 seed from the West Central District, Sequim faced a tough 19-3 Colville Indians squad that pounced early for a 12-1 win on Friday morning.

Colville led 8-0 after two innings thanks to a series of errors.

"I think it was nerves," Hendrickson said. "(Colville) did have a lot of speed. They ran the bases well and kind of rattled us and we weren't hitting."

Sequim only managed one hit off Colville pitcher Alison Holst and committed six errors, four in a five-run first inning.

With a short, 20-minute break between games, the Wolves rebounded nicely with a 7-2 victory against the Blaine Borderites.

Sequim scored once in the first and once in the third, then broke the game open with four runs in the top of the six inning, getting to Borderite pitcher Caitlin Dudley.

Freshman pitcher Demiree Briones earned her first state victory with a seven-inning five-hitter, striking out seven Blaine hitters and walking none.

Briones and Cindy Miller each went 2-for-4 at the plate while Lea Hopson slammed a home run in Sequim's nine-hit attack.

"Sometimes - especially a young team - they could have (given) up," Hendrickson said. "They came back and played hard."

Needing a win to advance to the second day of the tourney, Sequim edged Pullman 5-4 in the consolation round's Friday night round of games.

With the score tied 4-4 in the eighth inning, Lea Hopson smacked her second home run in as many games, taking an outside pitch and riving it over the right-center field fence. Briones completed the eight-inning contest by shutting down the Greyhounds in the bottom of the eighth.

"Pullman is an excellent team with an excellent left-handed pitcher (Erika Hanson)," Hendrickson said. "We jumped right on them."

The Wolves scored two runs each of the first two innings before Pullman tied it in the fourth. The score remained tied until Hopson's big hit in the eighth.

Briones worked the mound for Sequim, giving up just five hits and no walks, striking out four Pullman hitters.

Maddy Zbaraschuk had three hits for Sequim while Hopson and Briones had the only other hits.

On Saturday morning, with their top-eight placing assured, Sequim lost an 11-10 slugfest with Anacortes.

The Seahawks out-hit Sequim 13-11 but needed each and every run they scored to get past a resilient Sequim squad.

"I've never seen a team hit like that," Hendrickson said of Anacortes.

Sequim scored five runs in the first three innings but Anacortes' offense was even better, scoring in each of the first six innings. Down 8-5 in the sixth inning, Sequim came back with three runs to tie it - including a rare, bases-loaded intentional walk to Zbaraschuk - only to see Anacortes tack on another three runs for an 11-8 lead.

In the top of the seventh, Sequim plated two more runs and had runners on second and third with two away when Chelsie Winfield knocked a ball toward left field. Anacortes' shortstop snagged it and made a strong throw to barely get the hustling Wolf junior at first base for the final out.

Briones went the distance once again, walking just one and striking out two batters.

Hopson and Miller each had two hits while Zbaraschuk was 1-for-3 with a home run and Winfield had a hit.

This was the Wolves' fourth appearance at the state tourney; they were a combined 0-4 at the state 3A tournaments in 2004 and 2005, then went 2-2 and finished fifth at the class 2A state tournament in 2007.

Sequim's newest run to state was led by a strong sophomore class.

That bodes well for the future, Hendrickson said.

"I am excited - I think as young as they are to go into a state tournament like that, we finished well over my expectations this year," he said.

Sequim sees its starting outfield - Kenzi Rhodefer in left, Kathryn Roeber in center and Beverly Buck in right - graduate this June. Sequim finishes 17-10 on the season.

Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.

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