After a run-rule victory over the Greater St. Helens No. 3 seed Columbia River in the quarterfinals, W.F. West kept rolling Thursday in a semifinal tilt with previously undefeated Ridgefield to move on to yet another 2A District 4 softball tournament title game.
Bearcat ace Kamy Dacus was dominant in the circle, and led the way to both victories at Recreation Park — first a 10-0, five-inning win over the Rapids before doubling down and defeating the Spudders, 8-2, to set up a rivalry match with Tumwater in Friday’s championship. The teams face off at 6 p.m., back in Chehalis.
After pitching almost every inning of every game this season for the Bearcats, Dacus stepped into the circle Thursday like she’d been there before, despite a canceled 2020 season and a 2021 shortened season that featured no state stakes.
In shutting down the Spudders, Dacus helped the Bearcats punch their first trip to state since the last state tournament in 2019.
“She’s ready,” Bearcats coach Caty Lieseke said. “Yesterday she said ‘fourteen innings tomorrow?’ and I said ‘Up to 14.’ That's the plan. She's ready for that.”
Dacus needed just 12 to put away the GSHL’s No. 3 and 1 seeds, combining to throw 19 strikeouts and give up just two runs on eight hits over the two games.
“She brought her two best games of the season,” Bearcats coach Caty Lieseke said. “She’s just on fire and focused and dialed in. We couldn’t have asked for more of her today. It was awesome.”
Not to be outdone by Dacus’ display in the circle, the Bearcat bats came alive in both games against strong pitching. Against Ridgefield in the semifinals, Saige Brindle launched a home run in the third inning and went 3 for 4 with four RBIs.
Breanna Crosby added a 2 for 4 line with two runs scored and two RBIs, and Dacus added an RBI while going 2 for 4.
“We put it together. We did good,” Brindle said. “We really played as a whole team today and brought it all together. It’s so cool, it feels amazing. It’s great to carry on the legacy of W.F. West softball.”
The win makes 16 straight state appearances for W.F. West, after two seasons without a tournament.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the girls. This is something we’ve been talking about since Feb. 28,” Lieseke said. “It’s cool to see it come to life.”
In the other semifinal — also Thursday at Rec Park — Tumwater pulled away after a five-run fourth inning to beat Rochester, 9-3, to punch a ticket to state.
The Warriors, fresh off defeating R.A. Long 7-4 in the quarterfinals, couldn’t put up enough offense against the Thunderbirds’ Ella Ferguson. Rochester managed seven hits in the loss.
Layna Demers had a strong semifinal performance for Rochester, going 2 for 4 at the plate with a pair of RBIs. Jessa Lenzi added a 3 for 4 line with an RBI and two runs scored.
The Thunderbirds put together back-to-back singles and a double to score four runs in their big fourth inning. With two outs, Megan Paull added another single to score a fifth and build up a 7-1 lead.
Ferguson pitched six innings, giving up one run with six strikeouts.
The T-Birds took two of three games against W.F. West in the regular season, while the Warriors look to win a consolation game in a winner-to-state, loser-out contest against Aberdeen Friday.
EvCo Nearly Sweeps District Quarters
Aside from Aberdeen’s 10-1 loss to the GSHL’s No. 1 Ridgefield, the 2A Evergreen had a good day in the quarterfinals of the District 4 tournament, with Rochester upsetting R.A. Long, 7-4, Tumwater holding on to defeat Hockinson 7-6 in extras, and W.F. West dismantling Columbia River in five innings, 10-0.
The Warriors’ win was the lone upset of the quarters, where after falling behind 3-1, the Warriors went on a 6-1 run to end the game in the last four innings to earn the victory. Demers came out of the bullpen to pitch a strong 5 ⅔ innings, striking out five with just one unearned run on five hits and no walks.
Demers also launched a solo home run, along with Sadie Knutson, to keep the Warriors in it early. Lenzi added a 2 for 4 line with 3 RBIs and a run scored.
Tumwater’s eight-inning win over the Hawks was by far the closest game of the day, where Hockinson built up a 3-0 lead, before the T-Birds clawed back in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead. The Hawks retook the lead with a three-run third, but a two-run sixth for Tumwater set up an extra innings game between the EvCo’s top seed and the GSHL’s No. 4.
Scout Abbott made sure the T-Birds would advance, hitting a walk-off in the bottom of the eighth to push the Thunderbirds into the semifinals. Ferguson had 11 strikeouts in the win.
In the Bearcats 10-0 quarterfinal win over the Rapids, Dacus went all five innings, allowing two hits with no runs and eight strikeouts. Brielle Etter added a 2 for 3 line with two RBIs, Avalon Myers went 3 for 4 with a run scored and two RBIs, and Staysha Fluetsch went a perfect 3 for 3 with two runs scored and two RBIs.