Down by two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, and trailing the season series to Tumwater this season, the W.F. West softball team would have to dig deep to pull off a stunning 5-3 comeback victory over its league rival Friday afternoon at home.
A win for the Thunderbirds would have given them the season series win, and a straight shot at a league championship, but thanks to late heroics from Rachel Gray and Savannah Hawkins, the Bearcats walked away victors to even the series at 1-1.
Runs were hard to come by for both teams — with no one scoring more than one run in an inning— until suddenly they weren’t for the Bearcats.
Down 3-1, Gray knocked in a sac fly to bring the deficit to one in the seventh, and Hawkins launched her fourth home run in as many games to put three runs on the board and help the Bearcats to a win Friday evening.
“We’ve focused on improving our approach at the plate over the past few weeks, and today that really shined,” Bearcats coach Caty Lieseke said. “We consistently put the ball in play and our defense and pitching kept us in the game every inning.”
Kamy Dacus (2 for 3, RBI-double) and Breanna Crosby (2 for 3) also starred at the plate, and Dacus went all seven innings, with four strikeouts and all three runs earned.
“I loved the focus and energy the girls brought and that we executed in the end,” Lieseke said. “Kamy kept her composure and battled every inning, and up and down the lineup there was no quit.”
The Thunderbirds, on the other side, will leave Chehalis wondering what could have been after being just one inning away from a series-clinching win over their rivals.
Ace pitcher Ella Ferguson went all seven innings for the T-Birds, allowing eight hits with two earned runs, five strikeouts, and just one walk.
At the plate, Kylie Waltermeyer (2 for 3), Jaime Haase (3 for 3), and Jaylene Manriquez (1 for 3) all knocked in runs, with Waltermeyer and Haase hitting doubles and Manriquez blasting a home run.
The Bearcats will look to keep it rolling against Centralia in the Swamp Cup on Monday, while the T-Birds look to respond against Lynden Saturday.