Rainier lost to eventual champion Pe Ell-Willapa Valley in the state semifinals, then came up short against Forks to close out its run at the 2B state softball tournament Saturday in Yakima.
The Mountaineers finished the season with an 18-7 record and went 2-2 at state after entering the tournament as the No. 10 seed — the first Rainier team to make state in 20 years, and the first Mountaineer team to win two games at state.
“Now that the dust has settled, we can look back with so much pride at our accomplishments,” Rainier coach Kyle Greenwood said. “We battled, we stayed positive, and we put absolutely everything on the line for each other. I think we surprised a lot of people with our abilities this year.”
The Mountaineers played PWV tight for four innings, trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth before the Titans exploded for eight runs to end the game.
Olivia Matlock got the win for PWV, striking out seven with one walk and helping her own cause with two home runs and five RBIs.
Central 2B League co-MVP Bailey Elwell pitched for Rainier.
“She kept us in that game, as did our spectacular defense backing her up,” Greenwood said. “They are a fantastic hitting team and those deep drives and two home runs started to wear us down towards the end.”
The win moved PWV to the finals against Adna, while Rainier dropped into a loser-out game against Forks at noon on Saturday. The No. 8-seed Spartans went on to beat Colfax in the third-place game after topping Rainier 17-6.
Forks scored in every inning against Rainier and led 16-6 after four innings. Erika Williams and Kaidence Rigby both homered for the winners, who piled up 23 hits in five at-bats.
“We never gave up, but you could definitely tell that the tiredness had finally bubbled up,” Greenwood said. “They are a fantastic hitting team and losing to them when they got third place shows how tough we battled.”
Earsley, Brooklynn Swenson, Azlyn Taylor and Alyssa Lofgren were all 2 for 3 for Rainier. Lofgren drove in a pair of runs, as well.
It was the final game for Rainier seniors Elwell and Taylor.
“One thing I said to them when we began this state push was to enjoy the journey, not focus on getting to the end,” Greenwood said. “These girls did enjoy the journey and I feel that it was their mentality, aggression, confidence, and positive energy that carried this program to these incredible heights.”