EVERETT — The Archbishop Murphy softball team jumped back in the race for the final 2A district berth and significantly damaged Sultan’s hopes after a 7-3 win on Monday.
Gemma Miller hit a grand slam in the sixth inning and Maureen Kelly went 4-for-4 with three doubles as the Wildcats won their second straight Cascade Conference game.
“It was just a matter of time until we put things together,” said Archbishop Murphy head coach Stephanie Harmon. “We’ve been patient at the plate and walking and we’ve been moving runners on base around.”
That patience paid off for Murphy against Turks starter Shelby Jeffries. Jeffries struck out seven, but the Wildcats drew eight walks and free passes played a key role in the first and sixth when Murphy did all of its scoring.
In the first, Miller walked to load the bases after Alyson Matriotti and Nicole Manuel each singled. Anna Whitehouse drove in the game’s first run on a fielder’s choice and Kelly hit a double to give the Wildcats an early 2-0 lead.
The score stayed that way until the seventh when Manuel drew a walk to put three runners on for Miller. The Murphy junior then blasted an 0-2 pitch to straightaway center field, that according to Harmon, cleared both the softball and baseball fences.
“It probably went 200, 210 feet,” said Harmon. “She got a hold of it.”
Facing a 7-0 deficit going into the seventh, the Turks finally managed some offense against Murphy starter Baylee Robertson. Courtney Morris hit an RBI single and Shelby Jeffries followed with a two-run homer to cut the lead to 7-3. The Turks then loaded the bases with one out to bring the tying run to the plate, but Robertson retired the final two hitters to sew up her sixth win and keep the Wildcats’ playoff hopes alive.
Murphy (6-7 league, 6-9 overall) now trails Granite Falls (8-5, 9-6), currently in third place and in possession of the last district berth, by two games with five to play for each team. Sultan (7-8, 8-9) remains in fourth, but the Turks have just three games remaining.
At Archbishop Murphy H.S.
Sultan 000 000 3—3 5 1
Archbishop Murphy 200 005 x—7 9 2
Shelby Jeffries and Rachel Kirkpatrick. Baylee Robertson and Alyson Matriotti. WP—Robertson (6-8). LP—Jeffries. 2B—Maureen Kelly (AM) 3. HR—Jeffries, Gemma Miller (AM). Records—Sultan 7-8 league, 8-9 overall. Archbishop Murphy 6-7, 6-9.