Prep softball: Napavine erases five-run deficit to stun Mossyrock


NAPAVINE – The old saying of it’s not how you start, but how you finish can properly be applied to Napavine High School’s softball team.

An early-season trend has been the Tigers starting off slow at the plate, then getting more comfortable in at-bats towards the later innings.

“A little bit of it is the delay with basketball,” coach Josh Fay said. “Part of it is still working on our approach at the plate. We come up and we guess more than we should. As the game goes on, I think we get comfortable.”

That trend continued in the most emphatic way on Thursday night.

Down five with three innings to go, Napavine pieced together six runs over its final two times at the dish to erase the deficit and triumph over Mossyrock 9-8 in a non-league contest at home.

After not playing for a week, the Tigers head into a weekend doubleheader with Mabton at 2-1 and oozing confidence.

“Super proud of the girls for hanging in there,” Fay said. “These guys stayed in there.

What started the shift was a defensive play.

The Tigers’ starter Hannah Fay allowed a leadoff walk in the top of the fifth, then after a strikeout, she induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the frame.

They turned it into instant offense.

Grace Pancake and Grace Gall roped back-to-back RBI singles and Makayla Brett drove in the last two runs on a double to make it 8-7.

Pancake saved her best for last, ripping a double to right-center field that plated the go-ahead run and put Napavine up by one.

“I just really wanted to hit the ball and be on base,” Pancake said. “I haven’t been able to get on base (much) this season.”

Fay settled down and retired seven batters in a row in the last three frames. Yet Mossyrock wouldn’t go away.

Taylor Schwartz drew a walk and Abbie Lovan reached via a single that put the tying run in scoring position. Fay got Lois Stone to strike out looking to end the game and preserve the victory.

“My teammates and coaches really helped me out,” Hannah Fay said.

Vikings coach Keith Coleman would rather have a loss against a Class 2B opponent than a run-rule win in their league down in 1B.

“We sat back on defense and offense, gotta keep attacking,” Coleman said. “This is like a playoff game for us.”

Erin Cournyer drove in two of Mossyrock’s four runs in the second inning on a single and brought in two more in the fourth in a three-run spree. Schwartz added two RBIs.

The Vikings struggled after that, held to just one hit and three baserunners.

“Trying to take the cover off the ball, over-swinging,” Coleman said.

Napavine got the scoreboard on an RBI double from Fay and her courtesy runner scored from third on a wild pitch strikeout and the throw from first was late.

It added another run from Brett in the third. The 6-through-9 hitters in the Tigers’ lineup combined to go 6-for-13 with four RBIs.

“If we can do that, that’s pretty big,” Coach Fay said. “The bottom of your lineup wants to put the ball in play and drive people in, you’re going to have success.”

The ceiling for Napavine amongst the players and staff is attempting to get to Yakima in May. Fay was adamant the goal has always been to get to state.
Still, this group has a different feel.

“We should be able to accomplish (qualifying for state) more than we were able to last year,” Fay said.