Prep softball: Phelps' go-ahead homer extends Titans season


When Karli Phelps steps to the plate, one thought crosses her mind more often than not.

Be aggressive early in the count.

“Usually, I swing on the first pitch,” Phelps stated.

The Pe Ell/Willapa Valley softball team’s No. 3 hitter picked the right time to swing early on Wednesday night.

Phelps launched a leadoff, go-ahead solo home run in the top of the seventh to ignite the Titans over Raymond/South Bend 6-4 in a Class 2B District 4 elimination game at Fort Borst Park and keep their season going.

Over three hours after PWV (16-5) dropped a quarterfinal heartbreaker to Onalaska, it rebounded against a P2BL rival in dramatic fashion.

“We were all disappointed, feeling maybe we weren’t prepared mentally coming into today,” Titans head coach Eric Hopfer said. “They rallied together to keep it rolling and not quit.”

The Ravens tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth on a solo homer by Ava Pine. That set the stage for Phelps to be the hero.

She saw a fastball down the middle of the plate and sent it over the left field fence for the final lead of the night.

“I just took it for a ride,” Phelps said.

CJ Sipp roped an RBI double for a vital insurance run. Eliza Barnum relieved starter Lauren Emery after the tying homer and didn’t allow a hit in two innings pitched with three strikeouts to earn the win.

Emery struck out 16 in the 4-2 loss to the Loggers. The right-hander exited with a total of 201 pitches thrown on Wednesday.

“She was getting run down and she’s not seeing daylight at the end of the tunnel,” Hopfer said. “I just wanted to give her a break.”

PWV swept RSB in the regular season by 10 and six runs back in early April. The Ravens jumped out to a 2-0 lead through four innings, then the Titans answered emphatically with four runs in the fifth.

Tylar Keeton registered a two-run double and the final run came on an outfield error. Three of the four runs came with two outs.

“They made their adjustments and got (it) done,” Hopfer said.

Four batters in the Titans lineup had multiple hits, paced by three from Rilyn Channell. Of their 13 hits, five went for extra bases.

“I’m proud,” Phelps said. “Everybody came together and we need to work together as much as we can. We knew we could hit off her.”

PWV tied the quarterfinal game against Onalaska at 2-2 thanks to an RBI double from Sophia Milanowski and the tying run on an RBI groundout. Keeton and Lauren Matlock each recorded two hits for the Titans.

Saturday morning will mark a rematch in a winner to state game between PWV and Toledo. When the two sides met in the regular season, the Titans secured a walk-off victory and grabbed a lead behind a five-run frame.

“We’re going to come out swinging the bats, that’s it,” Hopfer said. “Just keep playing our defense and we’ll make the plays. As long as we hit the ball squarely, everything will go the right way.”