LAKEWOOD – The Cougar softball team went 2-2 in the state tournament at Selah last weekend.
The squad broke a school and Northwest Conference record with 21 wins this season.
Lakewood lost its state opener 4-0 to Ridgefield, which ended up third at state. Cougar coach Travis Boortz said their pitcher was just too tough and is going on to Syracuse University.
Then, in a must-win, loser-out game, Cougar pitcher Riley Mae Swanson shut out White River 1-0. The only run came in the fourth when Swanson drove in Natalie Krueger with the winning run.
Next, against host Selah, they trailed 2-0 after one inning, but exploded for six runs in the fourth to win 13-4. “We started to tattoo the ball,” Boortz said. “That was a big moment for the girls as they stepped up to win their second game at state.”
Last year they won their first state game in school history, and they wanted to improve on that this year. Getting key hits in that game were Swanson, Natalie Krueger, Olivia Poulton and Abby Freeman, the coach said. Swanson pitched all three of the games that Friday, tossing 389 pitches over 21 innings. She had 25 strikeouts and a 1.83 earned run average.
Poulton took the mound Saturday. In the final of the consolation bracket, Lakewood lost a heart-breaker to Lynden 8-7.
Lynden jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first and led 7-0 after three innings. But Lakewood scored three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings then tallied one in the bottom of the seventh on a home run by Ashton Falor before falling short. “It would have been nice to have someone on base,” the coach said.
Falor was the top hitter for the tourney, going 7 for 13 with a double.
Kaci Smith led the team defensively at third base. She also smacked a homer.
The coach said seven of the nine starters will be back next year. Five of them play on select teams so they play almost year-round. They plan to lift weights in the offseason and, “Take it a step further next year – bringing home a trophy.”
The Cougars finished tied for seventh in state with Eatonville behind champion Woodland, WF West, Ridgefield, Tumwater and Sehome-Lynden, which tied for fifth.
Meanwhile, three Cougars made the All-Northwest Conference Softball Team.
On the first team is sophomore Swanson. Making the second team were senior shortstop Poulton and freshman second baseman Krueger.
Also, on the All-Northwest Boys Soccer Team, senior defender Tyler Rahberger made the second team.