MONROE — In Lou Kennedy’s 10 years as the head softball coach at Snohomish High School, the Panthers have never made the state tournament.
It’s only fitting that one of the best players to ever don a Snohomish jersey ended that trend with one swing of the bat. Senior Trysten Melhart’s walk-off home run in Tuesday’s 4A district 1 tournament semifinal gave the Panthers a 13-3 win over Lynnwood and punched their ticket to state.
“I can’t even put it in to words,” Melhart said while fighting back tears. “I’ve been wanting to go to state forever. It’s really emotional because come so far and this meant everything to the seniors and to me. This is awesome.”
Melhart set a school-record for batting average as a freshman and has raised it as a sophomore and a junior. If she continues to hit the way she did in Snohomish’s two games on Tuesday, she just might do it again.
The University of Washington commit had a double and a triple in the Panthers’ 10-0 victory over Cascade in the opener and finished 5-for-5 with four runs scored and five RBI in the victory over Lynnwood.
“A walk-off home run, doubles in the gaps, running like crazy stealing bases — she’s just the complete player,” Kennedy said of Melhart. “That explains why she is going to (the University of Washington). There’s no weakness to her game.”
The Panthers didn’t get to be 21-1 this season on the strength of just one players. It’s been a team effort throughout the season.
Tuesday was no different.
Senior pitcher Bailey Seek had home runs in both games and pitched a no-hitter in the Panthers’ win over Cascade.
“She did something in first game that I’ve never seen and I’ve been in this game 25 years,” Kennedy said of Seek. “She struck out the first nine in a row.
“She just came in and overpowered them and put it anywhere she felt like it.”
Snohomish’s victory sets up a meeting with Lake Stevens in Thursday’s district championship game. The teams split their two regular season meetings and the Vikings are the only team to beat the Panthers so far this season.
“It’s going to be great,” Kennedy said. “The pressure is off because (both teams) get to go to state and I really like that. Of course we’re always going to want to win. It ought to be a fantastic game because when we face each other both teams play at a very high level.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynnwood 13, Monroe 4
At Sky River Park
Monroe 001 300 0 — 4 7 9
Lynnwood 430 204 x — 13 14 1
Megan Rybar and Morgan Allen. Jessica Gott and Meagan Crabtree. WP—Gott (13-4). LP—Rybar (11-6). 2B—Madison Morgan (L), Morgan Allen (M). 3B—Dasia Lester (L). HR—Megan Rybar (M).
Snohomish 10, Cascade 0 (5)
At Sky River Park
Cascade 000 00x x — 0 0 0
Snohomish 700 12x x — 10 9 0
Chloe McIntosh, Karissa Johnson (1) and Whitney Harris. Bailey Seek and Morgan Greenlee. WP—Seek (11-1). LP—McIntosh (3-8). 2B—Trysten Melhart (S), Jennie Winston (S). 3B—Trysten Melhart (S). HR—Bailey Seek (S), Morgan Greenlee (S).
Monroe 12, Cascade 8
At Sky River Park
Cascade 000 701 0 — 8 12 4
Monroe 440 031 x — 12 14 5
Megan Rybar and Morgan Allen. Karissa Johnson and Whitney Harris. WP—Rybar (12-6). LP—Johnson (5-4). 2B—Chloe McIntosh (C), Jazmine Taylor (C), Morgan Allen (M), Michael Johnson (M), Kathleen Sundet (M). HR—Morgan Allen (M), Michaela Johnson (M). Records—Cascade 8-13 overall. Monroe 13-8.
Snohomish 13, Lynnwood 3 (6)
Lynnwood 021 000 x — 3 6 1
Snohomish 250 015 x — 13 17 2
Jessica Gott and Meagan Crabtree. Alyssa Simons (S), Bailey Seek (4) and Morgan Greenlee. WP—Simons (8-0). LP—Gott (13-5). 2B—Dasia Lester (L), Madison Morgan (L). HR—Bailey Seek (S), Trysten Melhart (S). Records—Lynnwood 15-7 overall. Snohomish 21-1.