Granite Falls shut out in district title game

LYNDEN — The Granite Falls softball team’s magical run ran into a buzz saw Friday night.

Lynden’s Brooke Bonsen mowed down a potent Tigers lineup, allowing just four hits in a complete-game shutout, to lead the Lions to a 5-0 win in the 2A District 1/2 softball tournament championship game at Bender Fields. It was the first time Granite Falls had been shut out this season.

“Her speed wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before but she was really hitting her spots,” said Granite Falls coach Jillian Piland of Bonsen. “This is our first shutout of the season so she must have been doing her job.”

Hardly all is lost for Granite Falls, which had already advanced to the 2A state tournament courtesy its win over Burlington-Edison on Wednesday. But the fact Friday’s game was just for seeding didn’t mean the Tigers were playing out the string.

“We wanted to win this game,” Piland said. “These girls have gone to state five years in a row and being defending district champs they wanted it. And for me being a first-year coach I wanted it just as bad. That’s what we talked about before the game: not being complacent and just taking the No. 2 seed. We wanted to take this one home.”

Unfortunately for the Tigers they ran into the top pitcher in the Northwest Conference. After shutting out Cedarcrest in the tourney opener and holding a potent Sedro-Woolley offense — which averaged 11 runs per game in the tournament — to just four runs, Bonsen had little trouble with a Tigers offense that averaged nearly seven runs per game this season. Granite Falls got just three balls to leave the infield — all three singles — and could muster just four hits total against Bonsen.

“We were just a little slow at the plate; a little hesitant,” Piland said. “We weren’t quite as aggressive as we usually are.”

Granite Falls made the most noise in top of the seventh inning. Trailing 5-0, Granite Falls got the first two hitters on base courtesy a hit batter and a single to right by Lacey Downs. But after a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, Bonsen snuffed out the rally, striking out Makenzie McLaughlin and getting pinch-hitter Emily Fitzgerald to ground back to her to preserve the shutout. It was the sixth putout for Bonsen.

Granite Falls pitcher Lauren Harding was good, but a few big hits by Lynden were the difference, including a home run by Destinee Matter and RBI singles by Trisha Snydar and Bonsen.

“(Lauren) did a great job. A couple of balls got up in the zone a little bit and with a better hitting team they’re going to pound on it,” Piland said. “But yeah great composure and really strong … I’m excited to have her at state next week.”

After walking the first batter she faced, Harding coaxed the next batter, Taylor VanDalen, into a soft grounder to shortstop Caitlyn Munce, who went home with it. But in the ensuing rundown the VanDalen rounded the bases to third before the tag out. The next batter Trisha Snyder hit a laser to center field to score VanDalen and give Lynden a 1-0 lead.

Lynden broke open the game in the fifth. Following a leadoff double, Lynden took advantage of a walk and a bunt single to load the bases. A Granite Falls’ error on a grounder and an RBI single by Bonsen each scored a run as Lynden tacked on a pair of insurance runs to make it 4-0.

Lynden scored a run on three two-out hits in the sixth to finish the scoring.

At Bender Fields

Granite Falls 000 000 0—0 4 1

Lynden 110 021 x—5 8 1

Lauren Harding and Lacey Downs. Bonsen and Warner. 2B—Hannah Rothwell (L). HR—Destinee Matter (L). Records—Granite Falls 17-7. Lynden 19-4.

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