MONROE — Lake Stevens softball coach Sarah Hirsch learned late Monday night that junior Cassidy Fifield, one of the team’s leaders and most talented players, will most likely miss the remainder of the season with a strained Achilles tendon.
Her teammates honored her by scoring 24 runs in two shutout victories on the first day of the 4A District 1 Tournament.
After a 14-0 victory over Edmonds-Woodway earlier in the day, the Vikings closed out defending state champion Arlington in six innings by a score of 10-0 to advance to Thursday’s district-championship game against Snohomish and earn a berth in the state tournament.
“The way we’ve been practicing, the way we’ve been taking cuts in the cages, it all showed up today,” Hirsch said. “Our team chemistry is outrageous right now. We’re playing well together. We’re getting along on and off the field and that’s something that’s huge for us.”
Fifield’s injury forced freshman Payton Beaver to fill in at shortstop, a position she had never played before.
“At first I was kind of nervous because I’ve never played shortstop before, but Cassidy helped me out along the way and my coaches told me what to do,” Beaver said. “I just pretty much did what I could and I tried my hardest and it worked out I guess.”
And Beaver had an extra cheerleader from the dugout in Fifield.
“Cassidy was probably her biggest fan on the bench today,” Hirsch said. “Every time she did something spectacular she was cheering her on.”
As good as Beaver was in the field, Fifield had more to cheer about when Beaver was at the plate. The freshman finished 3-for-4 and was a double shy of hitting for the cycle.
“She’s just a freshman and she’s an athlete,” Hirsch said. “She’s got a lot of tools that are going to carry her very far in her softball career, but having her step up is huge.”
Hirsch said her team was excited to get the opportunity to play Arlington in the district semifinals and it showed in the first inning. Beaver led off the bottom of the first with a triple and scored two batters later on a single by junior Tehya Harney.
After Harney’s single the Vikings got back-to-back RBI doubles from juniors Amie Browder and Megan Barry to take an early 3-0 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the second inning, Beaver hit a home run to straight-away center field to increase the Vikings’ lead to 4-0.
“It felt great to contribute to my team,” Beaver said. “It just felt great going out and doing what my coaches wanted me to do and helping my teammates out and cheering them on at the same time.”
The Vikings scored at least one run in every inning while senior starting pitcher Rayne Sylvester kept a strangle-hold on the Arlington offense for all six innings. Sylvester allowed just three hits and four base runners and picked up her fifth win of the season.
“She did spectacular,” Hirsch said. “(It’s) the best game we’ve probably seen her throw all year. She was solid through all six innings she threw today.”
The game ended in the bottom of the sixth inning on a walk-off single by Browder.
The victory sets up a third meeting this season with Snohomish in the district championship game. The teams split the first two games and the Vikings are the only team to beat the Panthers this season.
“It’s going to be a great game,” Hirsch said. “The girls are ready to play them again.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at email@example.com.
Arlington 5, Jackson 2
At Sky River Park
Arlington 100 002 2 — 5 7 4
Jackson 000 020 0 — 2 7 2
Madeline Maclean and Jennifer Kellogg. Sophia Frost and Kayla Ellis. WP—Maclean (8-5). LP—Frost (14-4). 2B—Chandler Bishop (A). 3B—Kristen Scott (J).
Lake Stevens 14, E-W 0 (5)
At Sky River Park
E-W 000 00x x — 0 4 3
Lake Stevens 164 4xx x — 14 17 1
Cheyanne Strock, Mikayla Monroe (2) and Jackie Lovelace. Megan Barry and Tehya Harney. WP—Barry (11-1). LP—Strock (11-9). 2B—Rayne Sylvester (LS), Tehya Harney (LS), Kahlia Kelliher (LS). HR—Kahlia Kelliher (LS).
Jackson 2, E-W 1
At Sky River Park
E-W 000 010 0 — 1 5 1
Jackson 000 001 1 — 2 6 2
Cheyanne Strock and Jackie Lovelace. Sophia Frost and Kayla Ellis. WP—Frost (15-4). LP—Strock (11-10). 2B—Cheyanne Strock (E-W), Sophia Frost (J). HR—Taylor Adams (J). Records—Edmonds-Woodway 11-11 overall. Jackson 18-4.
L. Stevens 10, Arlington 0 (6)
Arlington 000 000 x — 0 3 1
Lake Stevens 313 111 x — 10 15 1
Madeline Maclean, Chandler Bishop (3), Madeline Maclean (4), Kaylyn Myers (5) and Jennifer Kellogg. Rayne Sylvester and Tehya Harney. WP—Sylvester (5-3). LP—Maclean (8-6). 2B—Amie Browder (LS), Megan Barry (LS), Kahlia Kelliher (LS). 3B—Payton Beaver (LS). HR—Payton Beaver (LS). Records—Arlington 12-10 overall. Lake Stevens 18-4.