By David Krueger Herald Writer
BOTHELL — Tuesday afternoon’s showdown between the top two Wesco 4A South softball teams quickly became the Sophie Frost show.
Jackson’s sophomore pitcher struck out 11 batters and didn’t allow a hit as the Timberwolves defeated Lynnwood 3-0 at Lynnwood High School. Both teams came into the game 4-0 in league play. With the victory, Jackson remains perfect midway through the season with a 10-0 record.
“I’ve played with a lot of these girls growing up and I know they can just crush the ball,” Frost said of the Royals hitters. “It’s definitely a great feeling.”
Frost’s only missteps in the game, which lasted a mere hour and 17 minutes, were the three walks she issued. Lynnwood’s best opportunity to score came in the bottom of the sixth when Frost walked two-consecutive batters with two outs. However, she was able to get a foul out to first base to end the inning and the scoring threat.
“Sophie was amazing today,” Jackson coach Kyle Peacocke said. “She was absolutely amazing. And our defense made some tough plays behind her.”
Jackson scored the only run it needed in the top of the first inning, on a two-out RBI single by junior Kayla Ellis. Peacocke said it was huge for Frost and the Timberwolves to get that early lead.
“To be honest, I thought the key to the game was the first inning,” Peacocke said. “Sarah Casel gets on, we bunt her over and then we get the two-out basehit from Kayla and right away we put pressure on them.”
Lynnwood coach Matt Rockne, who has emphasized the importance of scoring first to the Royals, agreed.
“It’s hard to play from behind,” Rockne said. “We’ve been telling our players that all year — that if we score first it puts a lot of pressure on the other team. They got one in the top of the first so I felt like we were chasing (them) the whole game. … That’s not a typical Lynnwood hitting performance. You’ve got to give Sophie Frost a lot of credit, but I think a little bit, too, is them scoring that early run.”
Jackson added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning, with an RBI single by Kaylei Werner and an RBI groundout by Casel.
Against a strong Lynnwood team, Peacocke and the Timberwolves were thankful for every run they could muster.
“Adding on those two runs in the last inning was huge,” Peacocke said. “With (Lynnwood) and the way those girls can hit — even as well as Sophie was pitching — we were not comfortable. We know that team can score some runs in a hurry, so we just wanted to try to add on and it finally happened in the seventh inning, which took a lot of pressure off.”
Frost said she didn’t feel anxious trying to keep the no-hitter alive as the innings wore on. She just wanted her team to get the victory, and said she felt confident with her defense performing well behind her.
“I just take it one inning at a time and just focus on each batter,” Frost said. “I’m not really thinking about the whole game because I know anything can change at any moment.”
Lynnwood senior pitcher Jessica Gott struck out five and allowed three runs and five hits as Jackson posted it’s the fourth-consecutive victory against the Royals. The Timberwolves won all three of the teams’ games last season — including one in the district playoffs that ended Lynnwood’s season.
Even with their recent success against the Royals, Jackson still knows just how dangerous Lynnwood can be.
“Last year, we played a nine-inning game with them and then our playoff game was an eight-inning game. And then today was really close,” Peacocke said. “I think we’re two evenly-matched teams and so far, we’ve been playing good defense and getting critical hits against them. But I know they’ll be ready to see us again.”
Indeed, the Royals appear eager for the rematch.
“They’re as good as advertised. Their pitching is the tops that we’ve seen all year,” Rockne said. “They’re a good team and we finish the (regular) season with them. I look forward to seeing them again. … I guarantee they’d love to play them again tomorrow if they could.”
At Lynnwood H.S.
Jackson 100 000 2 — 3 5 0
Lynnwood 000 000 0 — 0 0 1
Sophie Frost and Kayla Ellis. Jessica Gott and Meagan Crabtree. WP–Frost (8-0). LP–Gott (7-1). Records–Jackson 5-0 league, 10-0 overall. Lynnwood 4-1, 8-2.