Tigers Lose 2A State Opener in Walk-Off Fashion


SELAH — The Centralia softball team’s return to the 2A state tournament featured a dollop of the magic that the Tigers have made their own this season, but not quite enough, as No. 8 Lynden walked off 5-4 winners over them in a first-round matchup Friday afternoon.

The Tigers went into the seventh inning down 4-2 but rallied at the last minute, with a bit of help from their opponents. Brooklyn Sprague ran out a hard ground ball and reached when the first baseman dropped the throw to lead the inning off, and went to second when Gracie Schofield took a pitch off the helmet. Both runners moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt, which nearly became another error on another bad throw to first.

With the tying run in scoring position, Judy Vallejo brought one run in on a grounder, but at the cost of the second out of the inning. Down to their final out, Makayla Chavez roasted a ball straight to the shortstop, but it was too hot to handle, and Schofield came in to even things up.

That brought the Tigers level, but they still needed to get three outs in the bottom half of the inning to force extras. Instead, Lynden set the table with back-to-back singles and moved the runners with a bunt, before Trinity Andrews singled the winning run home.

Hollynn Wakefield went the whole way for the Tigers in the circle, striking out four. Lynden managed nine hits off of her; six came in the final three innings, including a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth that put Lynden ahead for the first time in the game.

Centralia took the lead in the top of the third inning on back-to-back RBI singles with two outs from Vallejo and Luis. Those were the Tigers’ first two hits of the day, and their only knocks aside from a Payton Baumel single to lead off the fourth.

The Tigers will fall to loser-out territory and hope for a long day. They’ll get a familiar foe up next, taking on No. 16 R.A. Long in an elimination game. If they win that, they’ll play again in the evening, hoping to stay alive into Saturday.