GRANITE FALLS — After the Granite Falls softball team suffered back-to-back losses to drop to 8-5 in Cascade Conference play, the Tigers figured they could do no better than a third-place finish.
But Granite Falls got back into the race after a doubleheader sweep of Lakewood and the Tigers grabbed a piece of the league title and the No. 1 seed after a 5-3 win over South Whidbey on Wednesday on the final day of the regular season.
“We were playing for third in the last five games, but everything fell into place,” Granite Falls assistant coach Dale Welk said.
Caitlyn Munce and Lauren Harding each had two hits and an RBI for the Tigers. The two also played a part in the three-run sixth inning that rallied the Tigers from a 3-2 deficit.
Munce led off the inning with a walk. Harding and Lacey Downs followed with singles. Downs’ hit drove in Munce and Harding also scored after an overthrow on the play, with Downs advancing to third. Nicole Wesala’s RBI groundout scored Downs to cap the scoring.
South Whidbey’s Alex Kubeska finished 3-for-3 and Ellie Greene launched a long two-run home run in the top of the first inning that gave the Falcons an early 2-0 lead.
“It went out to dead center,” Welk said about Greene’s homer. “It’s 225 feet and no one’s even come close this season … it was a legitmate home run, definitely not a cheapy.”
After surrendering Greene’s homer, Harding blanked South Whidbey until the sixth. Munce hit an RBI double in the bottom of the first and Harding’s RBI single tied the game in the third. The Falcons retook the lead when illegal pitch from Harding forced home a runner from third.
Granite Falls, Lakewood and Cedarcrest all finished at 13-5 in the league, but the Tigers won the tiebreaker draw for the top seed in the 2A district tournament. The Cougars will enter as the No. 2 team and Cedarcrest the third seed.
“It’s huge,” Welk said about the top-seed. “We don’t have to play Lynden (the Northwest Conference champion) and we get to play the No. 4 seed.”
At Granite Falls H.S.
Alex Kubeska and Anne Madsen, not reported (4). Lauren Harding and Lacey Downs. WP—Harding (11-4). LP—Kubeska. 2B—Caitlyn Munce (GF). HR—Ellie Greene (SW). Records—South Whidbey 3-15 league, 3-15 overall. Granite Falls 13-5, 14-6.