Warriors Give Up Late Lead, Fire Back in 7th to Beat Pirates


ROCHESTER — Leading for the entire way until an eventful seventh, the Rochester softball team allowed defending 2B state runner-up Adna to take its first lead in the top of the inning, but came back to win its season opener in walk-off fashion over a perennial power, 9-8. 

Leading 6-2 heading into the sixth, the Warriors allowed the Pirates to slowly crawl their way back, after Karlee VonMoos mashed her first home run of the season to trim the lead to just two, and a 3-spot in the top of the seventh gave Adna its first lead, 8-6, with the sun beginning to set in Rochester. 

Unphased, Layna Demers reached on an error, Kaylei Clark drew a walk, and Sara Haury singled on a line drive to score Demers to trim the deficit to one. 

McKenna Vassar then drew a walk to load the bases, and Cheyenne Justice drew her third walk of the game to drive in a run and tie the game, and Jessa Lenzi reached on an error on the next at-bat to win the game in the bottom of the seventh. 

“Our lineup is very strong but we have to be disciplined at the plate and have competitive appearances,” Rochester coach Joni Lancaster said. “We got a bit unfocused on defense there in the sixth and seventh so we had to refocus and have good plate appearances. Take the one you want, and they did. They drew walks and that's all I can ask for.”

The Warriors were in a strong position early due to the strong play in the circle from emerging sophomore Demers, who pitched a complete game, striking out nine with just a single walk and five earned runs. 

A year after coming on strong toward the end of last season as a freshman, and finishing one game shy of the trophy round in the 2A state playoffs, Demers will take on primary pitching duties for the Warriors and had a strong opening against an Adna team with a powerful lineup. 

“She’s put in a lot of time in the offseason and she’s really good for a sophomore,” Lancaster said of Demers. “She’s a workhorse, she wants the team on her back, and she knows she has a tough defense behind her that she can trust. Her mental focus is at 110% every single pitch in every single game.”

Catcher Macey Fluetsch went 1 for 3 with 3 RBIs and a walk drawn as well, to round out contributors for the Warriors in their season-opening win. 

On the other end, the Pirates — hoping to contend for a 2B title this year after finishing as runner-ups a year ago — made too many errors to keep up with the Warriors. 

Though they made a game of it late, six errors plagued an Adna team that’s still getting its fastpitch legs under them after a deep run into the basketball state tournament in Spokane a week and a half ago. 

“The mistakes we made tonight were mistakes we shouldn’t make,” Pirates coach Bruce Pocklington said. “We’re a defensive team, and we didn’t make routine outs that we should have made. That’s a big difference in a ball game.”

A mistake in the second inning cost the Pirates a chance to end a four-run inning earlier, and the game-sealing hit for the Warriors in the seventh also came off an infield error, uncharacteristic for a normally disciplined Adna squad. 

VonMoos pitched 6 2/3 innings for the Pirates, giving up five hits, walking seven, and striking out four. None of the nine runs Adna gave up were earned by VonMoos. 

She also hit a 2-run homer into right field, and went 2 for 4 with three RBIs. Kendall Humphrey went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI, and Emerson Nelson went 1 for 3 with an RBI, as well, for the Pirates. 

Still, Pocklington was proud of the way his team fought back to take the lead in a competitive battle against a 2A team that will compete in a strong Evergreen Conference. 

“I like the way we played today for our first full seven,” Pocklington said. “I’d like to be on the other end of it, but this is going to be good for us.”

The Pirates will play at Auburn Riverside High School against Puyallup and Yelm on Saturday, while the Warriors look to build on their win against R.A. Long on Friday at home.