Sports

Homer gives Stilly Valley minors state opener

Slugger Hailey Malakowski slides in under the Sedro-Woolley catcher’s glove, earning a call of safe from the umpire and the game-winning run — a home run — in the minors state tournament at Everest Park in Kirkland. At Everest Park - DANIELLE SZULCZEWSKI Sports Reporter
Slugger Hailey Malakowski slides in under the Sedro-Woolley catcher’s glove, earning a call of safe from the umpire and the game-winning run — a home run — in the minors state tournament at Everest Park in Kirkland. At Everest Park
— image credit: DANIELLE SZULCZEWSKI Sports Reporter

KIRKLAND It was all over.

After trailing 1-0 for four and a half innings, the Stilly Valley minors tied up against Sedro-Woolley in the all-stars state opener July 19 when Kendall Fields batted in Jacey Wrigglesworth for the tying run.

But in the top of the seventh a tiebreaker inning Sedro-Woolley's leadoff batter landed a hit to center field. It should have been just a single, but the girl kept running, taking second and then, on a Stilly Valley overthrow, going for third.

The Stilly Valley girls had been so energized up to this point, always in the game thanks to a 15-strikeout performance by ace pitcher Madeline MacLean. But when Sedro-Woolley got the RBI from their third batter, the Stilly Valley sideline seemed as quiet as its rival was loud.

"I told them to refocus," said minors coach Stuart MacLean. "That's our theme. When the going gets tough, we refocus. You can get down in a situation like that."

Sedro-Woolley got another runner on base, but relief pitcher Sam MacIntosh didn't waver, striking out the next two.

Stilly Valley got a couple of breaks. Fields was walked in the bottom of the seventh and Samantha Kyle, who had managed to get on base in her first three at bats, hit a single. But Sedro-Woolley struck out one and stopped Fields going for third for the second out, and it looked like the stingy defense of the District 11 champion was going to hand Stilly Valley a loss.

Up came shortstop Hailey Malakowski.

Like her several of her teammates, Malakowski had made contact with the ball but hadn't gotten to first thanks to Sedro-Woolley's consistent defense. But facing a new pitcher this time, Malakowski saw something she liked. After seeing a pitch or two, Malakowski made contact again.

This time, she hit green. As in the outfield, over the heads of the Sedro-Woolley back three.

Kyle ran and ran, once again giving Stilly Valley the tie. But Malakowski got to second while Sedro-Woolley was still running after the ball. They recovered it as she went for third. Rather than leave the game in the hands of the Sedro-Woolley defense, Malakowski then went for home, going down into the dirt with about five feet to go.

It was close, but not that close. Malakowski was safe. Suddenly, as quickly as they had seemed doomed, it was all over. Stilly Valley had pulled off the 3-2 win.

As a result of tournament rules and playing MacIntosh in the seventh inning, Stilly Valley would have her on the mound for only five of the six innings and be without the pitching services of MacLean in game two, July 20 after The Globe and Times went to press.

"But it was that one inning of relief that won it for us," coach MacLean said afterward.

Sedro-Woolley 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2

Stilly Valley 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 3

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