Oly fastpitch comes up short at districts

KSS also falls short of state berth.

It wasn’t the ending the Olympic Trojans fastpitch team envisioned entering the 3A West Central District III Tournament at Sprinker Recreation Center in Tacoma.

Losing consecutive games to open the double-elimination tournament — first against Auburn Riverside 2-0, then against Bonney Lake 8-1 — the Trojans were bounced from the bracket on Friday, failing to qualify for the state tournament.

“It was a disappointment,” coach Rachel Davenport said following the Bonney Lake loss.

The Trojans entered districts as the No. 2 seed from the Olympic League at 12-6, drawing an opening round match-up against Auburn Riverside (18-4) of the South Puget Sound League.

But in the opener, Oly’s bats failed to conquer AR’s Amanda Fitzsimmons, who threw a complete-game one-hitter, striking out 13 batters.

“In the first game there wasn’t a lot of hitting,” senior Kelsey Anchors explained of the loss, placing Oly in the consolation bracket.

AR plated one run in the second inning and another in the fifth, giving Fitzimmons more than enough run support for the 2-0 win.

“We couldn’t connect at the plate,” Davenport said.

“It was a challenge game,” she added, referring to AR’s standing as a traditional fastpitch powerhouse.

In the loser-out game against Bonney Lake the bats again failed to generate run support for senior pitcher Rachel Haas, who also started against AR.

Haas pitched shutout ball through three innings before running into trouble in the fourth.

“She was putting the ball right where I wanted her to,” Davenport said of Haas. “She did enough.”

But in the fourth with the score tied 0-0, Bonney Lake erupted for what proved to be a devastating eight-run scoring barrage, chasing Haas and effectively putting the game on ice.

While only two hits left the infield during the inning, BL managed to plate run after run on ground balls, bobbles and errant throws.

“They put the ball in play, and we didn’t execute defensively,” Davenport said, pointing to five infield grounders that resulted in scoring opportunities for BL rather than easy outs for Oly.

After a Kim Courneya two-run double made the score 6-0, Davenport pulled Haas in favor of junior Kelsey Stickland.

Stickland allowed two inherited runs before finally ending the inning.

Down 8-0, Oly managed to score once in the fifth, the game’s only other run.

“We probably only had three or four good hits,” Anchor said of bats against BL.

“We couldn’t find the holes,” she added. “That’s the frustrating thing.”

While the season has officially ended and the Trojans fell short of state, Anchor said the team should be proud of its accomplishments.

“This year we made it further than we ever had,” she said, referring to the graduating senior class of herself, Haas, Athena Rosario, Pam Murphy and Amy Howard.

The Trojans last reached state in 1987.

The experience of playing in districts also will go a long way toward teaching the underclassmen the importance of “dugout behavior” and the seriousness of the game, Davenport said.

“If you’re lighthearted on the bus, that’s how you’ll be in the game,” she said.

And with the departure of Anchor, who will play at Oklahoma State University next year, and Haas and Rosario, both clubhouse leaders, next year’s squad will use postseason experience to fill the void left by the absence of the team’s three key players.

“They always come back (and) they give 100 percent,” Davenport said of the departing trio, putting Olympic fastpitch back on the map.

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