Pirates find footing twice, advance to district title game

GOING BACK: Pirates advance to 16th straight state tournament


The Pirates didn’t come out of the gate strong on Wednesday.

Adna didn’t score in the first four innings of its district quarterfinal matchup against Raymond-South Bend, and it trailed by one heading into the fifth.

An eight-spot in the fifth propelled the Pirates to an 8-1 win, but in the semifinals, they again found themselves down against Onalaska.

“We had to work our way through the first game,” Adna coach Bruce Pocklington said. “And I was really happy that we did.”

Adna didn’t hang an eight-spot against the Loggers, but the Pirates did score 12 runs over the final four innings to run away with a 12-2 win, one that sends them into the district title game and to the state tournament.

“We knew that we were gonna have to manufacture runs, and today we did,” Pocklington said. “We’re getting better at that, and we need to be.”

The Pirates (17-4) only logged two extra-base hits on Wednesday, but they were both three-run home runs.

Ava Simms hit the first, and it came at the tail end of Adna’s fifth-inning rally in the quarterfinals, one that started when each of the last five batters in the Adna lineup got on base to start the inning.

“The bottom half of our lineup sparked us,” Pocklington said. “Which is what we need to happen … Our bottom half really did a great job.”

The second three-run home run started the offensive onslaught, as Kendall Humphrey drilled a line drive to center to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead in the third against Onalaska.

From that point on, it was nearly all Adna.

Adna scored five in the fourth, including a two-run single from Simms, and they added a pair in the fifth to go up 10-1.

The Loggers (15-8) got one back in the top of the sixth, but the Pirates scored two in the bottom half for the run-rule walk-off win.

“We slowed the ball down, and we were having trouble hitting our marks,” Onalaska coach Rich Teitzel said. “Once you get to that round, you gotta have your ‘A’ game.

“You could definitely see them slowing down. And we can’t do that.”

After driving in three runs in the quarterfinal win, Simms drove in another three in the semifinal, and she also threw all 13 innings, combining to strike out 23 while allowing six hits and three runs (one earned) across both games.

“She’s our horse,” Pocklington said. “We gotta have her.”

Desi Smith tallied two of Onalaska’s three hits in the semifinal, and she also hit a home run in Onalaska’s quarterfinal win over Pe Ell-Willapa Valley.

Lisa Liddell was the hero of that matchup, as she hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the seventh, which was enough to lift the Loggers to a 4-2 win.

“The whole team played well,” Teitzel said of the quarterfinal victory. “We were seeing the ball, and we were hitting the ball … Can’t wait to play more ball.”

Onalaska will drop to the lower bracket, where a win against Ocosta would put them through to state and into the district third-place game. 

A loss would mean that the Loggers would need to win two straight elimination games, including a crossover against Coupeville, the District 1 champion.

All of those games are on Saturday at Fort Borst Park, as is the district championship game, where Adna will take on Forks. The Spartans defeated Ilwaco and Toledo on Wednesday to make it to the title game, combining for 28 runs across the two games.

Adna, of course, is no stranger to big games. Saturday will mark their fourth straight appearance in the District 4 Championship Game, and next weekend, the Pirates will play in their 16th straight state tournament.

“Our goal is a district title, and then we have bigger goals beyond that,” Pocklington said. “We’ll be ready Saturday, and then we get to continue on.”