Pirates Rout Spartans to Reclaim State Title

ADNA ON TOP: Humphrey, Loose Homer in One-Sided Championship


YAKIMA — Few people remember the game after the Miracle on Ice.

When the American men’s ice hockey team at the Lake Placid Olympics shocked the world and beat the Soviet Union, that might have been the climax of a perfect movie, but U.S. had to go back out on the ice and beat Finland to earn the gold medal.

Saturday in Yakima, the Adna softball team had its own Lake Placid situation. The Pirates may not have been the plucky underdogs that scrappy group of college kids on the ice had been — honestly, they’re probably closer to that Soviet team in terms of sheer power — but they began their day with the exhausting, emotional ride of a semifinal against the team who had become their nemesis, only to have to play another game before they could celebrate.

So they lined up against Forks for one more game. They dominated the Spartans 12-3. And then they celebrated with a mob on the field, a big new trophy, and a water jug upturned on Bruce Pocklington’s head.

“I’m wet,” the Adna skipper said. “And I’m happy.”

It’s Adna’s second title in the past three postseasons, getting back on the mountaintop after last reaching the summit in 2019.

Last year, the Pirates suffered a tough loss in the title game to Pe Ell-Willapa Valley. Then they ran through their season and the Central 2B League this spring, only to be stonewalled by Ocosta ace Jessie Gilbert.

“It’s been hard,” pitcher Ava Simms said. “We have a great group of seniors leaving. A lot of people didn’t think people could pull it out after losing to Ocosta in Districts. We just wanted to come in as a team and prove that we could do it. We are a team and we can win together.”

Saturday, the Pirates started off their day with some revenge, and ended it with the hardware.

And after changing up their style completely to beat Ocosta, they went back to the trademark Pirate softball, with a whole lot of hitting.

The Pirates pounded out 16 hits as a team, putting up four crooked numbers. Senior Brooklyn Loose went 4 for 5 with one last home run, three RBIs, and three runs scored. Ahead of her in the order, Danika Hallom had a 3-for-5 game, and behind her, Karlee VonMoos and Kendall Humphrey both added a pair of knocks.

Hallom and Loose started things off in the first inning, with the first leading off with a double and the second knocking her in. Later in the inning, Gaby Guard came through with a 2-RBI double, and the Pirates were off and running.

The next inning, Humphrey bombed one out to left, and the Pirates had all the runs they’d end up needing. 

Not that that led them to slow down at all.

“If you throw it, we’ll hit it,” Pocklington said. “I like that part, because we’ve got some pretty good hitters. And it wasn’t our big girls all the time today. We had some bottom-of-the-order kids that came through and drove runs in.”

Forks got on the board in the third, and added two more in the fourth to cut the deficit to 6-3. It was around the time when Simms ran into trouble against Ocosta early in the day, with batters starting to get on time a bit more and make solid contact. That game saw her come out for a brief bit in favor of VonMoos, as things got chaotic.

Saturday evening, Simms got stronger as the game went on, and the sophomore — who pitched with a brace on her left knee all season, and is scheduled to have surgery performed on it this coming week — showed her best stuff with the finish line in sight.

“I’m sitting there in the dugout in the fifth inning, and I have my head in my gloves, just praying,” she said. “The girls were like, ‘Ava, are you okay?’ And I go, ‘I’m just praying right now.’ That was so many innings, and I’m so glad Karlee was able to pitch and help, and I’m so glad we have such a great offense and defense. 

“Without them, we wouldn’t make it anywhere. This team wouldn’t be this team if we lost any single one of these girls. We needed every single one to make it work.”

Simms finished with seven strikeouts in the complete game, allowing six hits and no walks.

And with their pitcher battling, the Pirates kept scoring. Four runs came home in the sixth, including Loose’s bomb. Another two scored in the seventh, after a 1-2-3 frame by Simms.

That left time for three more easy, low-stress outs, and a celebration. A validation. A coronation.

The Adna softball team might have gotten the dramatics out of the way early Saturday — honestly, they might prefer it that way. But that didn’t make what they did as the afternoon wore on any less special. 

“My expectation isn’t to win; it’s to play hard and play well,” Pocklington said. 

Then a smile crept across his face.

“And when we do that, we’re pretty good.”