BOTHELL — Last season, the Lynnwood softball team needed a victory over Edmonds-Woodway in a one-game playoff to even qualify for the postseason. Though this season is still young, it appears the Royals won’t have to endure any such drama in 2014.
The Royals (2-0 league, 5-1 overall) are tied with Jackson for first place in the Wesco 4A South after an impressive 11-0 victory over Cascade in five innings on Tuesday.
Lynnwood’s offense, which has been red-hot to start the season, combined with a dominant pitching performance from senior Jessica Gott turned what could have been a showdown for first place into a rout.
“It’s been a hot start all year,” Lynnwood head coach Matt Rockne said of his team’s offense. “To compliment that, it’s pitching and defense too. We’ve had two errors all season and we’re five games into the season. That’s pretty impressive.”
Just as impressive is how opportunistic the Royals are when the other team makes a mistake. Lynnwood’s leadoff hitter, senior Jasmin Edwards, reached base on an error in the first inning and was able to round the bases and score before the Royals ever got a hit. Edwards took second base on a passed ball, third on a wild pitch and home on a passed ball to put the Royals up 1-0.
Wild pitches and passed balls were a problem for the Bruins throughout the game. There were four in the first inning and six for the game.
With one run already in, the Royals’ hitters went to work. RBI singles by seniors Gott and Celeste Angell and sophomore Molly McDowell as well as an RBI-double by senior Meagan Crabtree gave Lynnwood a 5-0 lead after the first inning.
Nine different players and eight of the nine starters had at least one hit for the Royals in the game.
“We’re hitting on through nine,” Rockne said. “Everybody can hit.”
With a five-run lead, Gott went to work. She had given up a single to the game’s first batter, but settled quickly retiring nine consecutive batters.
“She gave up that leadoff hit and I think that fired her up a little bit,” Rockne said. “When you’re pitching with a lead, that really helps, There’s no fear of you’re down three or four runs. Instead, she’s got that nice cushion and can give up a base hit if she needs to.”
The Bruins only other hit in the game came on a bunt-single to leadoff the fourth inning. Gott finished the game with seven strikeouts.
“I don’t know what it is this year,” Rockne said. “She’s throwing a little bit harder I think, and she’s just got a lot more command of where she wants to put (her pitches).”
The Royals added another run in the bottom of the second inning to take a 6-0 lead before the offense exploded again in the latter half of the third.
Edwards, who finished 2-for-3 at the plate, doubled to left field with one out and scored moments later on another wild pitch. Freshman Madison Morgan followed with an RBI single to put the Royals up 8-0.
The other freshman on the team, Dasia Lester, was celebrating a birthday on Tuesday. Gott walked after Morgan to put runners on first and second base with Lester coming to the plate.
She celebrated her birthday with a three-run, inside-the-park home run that gave the Royals an 11-run advantage.
It was more than enough for Gott, who retired six of Cascade’s final seven batters to preserve the shutout.
After six games, the Royals are just one win away from tying the team’s win total from last season.
“I like where we are right now,” Rockne said. “We’ve just got to keep it going with the bats and keep everybody happy and healthy. We’re confident. It’s definitely a different vibe than last year.”
At Lynnwood H.S.
Chloe McIntosh and J. Taylor. Jessica Gott and Meagan Crabtree. WP—Gott. LP—McIntosh. 2B—Meagan Crabtree (L), Jasmin Edwards (L). HR—Dacia Lester (L). Records—Cascade 1-1 league, 3-2 overall. Lynnwood 2-0, 5-1.