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SHS fastpitch moves on to state
Not even the elements could keep the Wolves’ fastpitch team from going to state.
Sequim (21-1) earned another trip to the Class 2A state tournament this weekend at Selah’s Carlon Park. They’ll play hometown favorites the Selah Vikings (21-2) at 10 a.m. Friday, May 24.
Coach Mike McFarlen said Selah’s home field advantage isn’t intimidating.
“I tell the girls every game, this is our field,” he said.
“Everyone on the team has played there before. I think they’ll rise to the occasion and I think we can beat them.”
McFarlen sees the situation similarly to when Sequim won the 2011 championship and faced highly ranked Anacortes in the semifinals. He said it easily could have been a championship game, too, like this opening game.
“We’re going to have beat the best teams anyway,” he said. “At least this way, it gets a little easier.”
On the way to state, the Wolves saw Mother Nature unload on May 17 in Tacoma’s Sprinker Field.
Sequim was leading the Sumner Spartans 4-2 at the end of the fourth inning behind two hits from Rylleigh Zbaraschuk with two runs batted in and a two-run home run from Alexas Besand: Then dark clouds came in and dumped heavy rains.
Makayla Bentz, continuing to pitch in the top of the fifth, walked three batters in a row in slippery conditions until the game was postponed to the next morning.
McFarlen said he thought they could get two quick outs to end the inning but the rain came on quickly after the first walk and Bentz couldn’t grip the ball well.
The next day, the Spartans’ Amanda Haines brought in three runs off a pop fly that Sequim missed, bringing the game to 5-4. Sumner would score again and win 6-4 and eventually take the fourth seed to state.
Their next game against Kingston was rained out until Monday, which McFarlen said was a blessing because Olympic League co-MVPs catcher Bailey Rhodefer and Zbaraschuk, their center fielder, were sick.
The rest helped as the Wolves’ bats exploded the next two games. Rhodefer went 9-9 the next two games with two triples and three RBIs and Zbaraschuk nailed a grand slam.
A fresh spring in their step helped the girls overcome familiar opponents Kingston 10-3 and Olympic 11-0.
Against the Buccaneers, McFarlen said it was close for a little bit but the Sequim girls started hitting hard in the second inning.
In the game for fifth seed to state against Olympic, Rhodefer set the tone early with a triple.
The game ended on the 10-run rule following Zbaraschuk’s grand slam.
Bentz won the Kingston game with five strikeouts and Melissa Lewis stepped up to win against Olympic by striking out four and hitting a solo home run.
McFarlen opted for Lewis in the final districts game to get her more experience.
“Going forward, Melissa is going to need some innings,” he said. “She’s going to pitch at some point at state and she answered the call.”
Through the long weekend, McFarlen said he’s glad they lost their first game rather than the first one at state.
“I would have liked to win districts but all in all we just didn’t play well,” he said. “But looking at all the teams at state, I don’t see another team hitting one through nine like us.”
Sequim’s lineup will remain the same for state, McFarlen said.
“We’ll stick with what got us there,” he said.