SPOKANE — The Arlington Eagles and senior pitcher Ronnie Ladines were barely challenged at the State 4A softball tournament, but they didn’t wither when the first challenge came.
Ladines struck out 15, including the last final batters of the game to strand the potential tying run at second base, and Arlington (22-3) claimed its first fastpitch state title Saturday night with a 2-1 win over Camas at Merkel Sports Complex.
Ladines also went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a run batted in to help the Eagles finish 4-0 and outscore opponents 24-1 at the two-day event.
“I’ve been looking for this for so long,” said Ladines, a Kent State recruit. “Our five seniors started together when we were 10-year-old Little League all-stars and we figured, ‘What the heck? Why not do it and finish it together?’.”
Ladines struck out 17 and homered as Arlington began the day with a 6-0 win over Richland in the semifinals. She also pitched the Eagles to two shutout wins during Friday’s opening day.
Camas (20-5) reached the title game with a 2-0 semifinal win over defending champion Woodinville.
Tahoma (25-5) defeated Woodinville (23-3) 7-4 in the game for third and fourth places when Bre West hit a one-out, three-run homer to left field in the eighth inning.
That extra-inning game pushed back the starting time for the championship by 1 hour, but Arlington and Camas made it worth the wait.
Camas coach Ken Nidick started pitcher Katie Schroeder, but the sophomore lasted three batters. Senior Hayley Fields led off the game with a double to right-center and scored on Ladines’ one-out double to a similar spot.
Junior Harli Hubbard relieved Schroeder and allowed five hits and struck out nine in 61/3 innings.
Ladines struck out six in the first two innings before facing a big challenge.
Amee Aarhus led off Camas’ third with an infield single and stole second base. Lena Richards tied the score at 1 with what appeared to be a triple, but the umpires called her out for missing second base. Erin Tauscher doubled to right with two outs, but Ladines struck out Hubbard to end the threat.
Eagles center fielder Marisa Rathert made the defensive gem of the game when she chased down Schroeder’s long fly to open the fourth. Rathert knocked down the fence, tumbled over and held the ball.
Ladines’ one-out double in the fifth moved Katelyn McDonald to third base. Lynsey Amundson’s grounder to second base drove in what proved to be the winning run.
Camas pinch-hitter McKinley Johnson dropped a one-out double to right in the seventh, but Ladines struck out Aarhus and Richards to net the title.
“Our team came together,” Ladines said. “We didn’t have as many hits as we normally do, but we were on the ball, kept fighting and didn’t give up.”
Arlington 2, Camas 1 At Merkel Sports Complex
Arlington 100 010 0—2 8 0
Camas 001 000 0—1 5 0
Ronnie Ladines and Lynsey Amundson. Katie Schroeder, Harli Hubbard (1) and Farnham. WP—Ladines. LP—Hubbard. 2B—Ladines (A) 2, Erin Tauscher (C), Grindy (C), Hayley Fields (A), Amundson. Records—Arlington 23-3 overall. Camas 22-6.
Arlington 6, Richland 0 At Merkel Sports Complex
Richland 000 000 0—0 6 1
Arlington 230 010 0—6 11 0
Andrews and April Utechet. Ladines and Amundson. WP—Ladines. LP—Andrews. 2B—Hayden Fields (A). HR—Ladines (A). Records—Arlington 23-3 overall.
S/O to Arlington Softball for being 2013 STATE CHAMPS!!!! #ATOWN
— Max Gray (@alldaymaxgray) May 26, 2013
— Hayden Fields (@haydenfieldss) May 26, 2013
Happy Birthday to one of my closest friends and your new STATE CHAMPION!! Words cannot explain how… instagram.com/p/Zwlb5bEMHH/
— Erin Bueser (@ErinBueser) May 26, 2013
State Champs! twitter.com/Marshhoops00/s…
— Joe Marsh (@Marshhoops00) May 26, 2013
Congrats to the Arlington softball team on winning State! Way to rep Wesco ladies
— Jason Todd (@Jason_Todd10) May 26, 2013
Are you kiddin me? Wow! So proud of an incredible performance with no errors. Coach Eng, his staff, his girls has made Atown proud.Congrats!
— Nick Brown (@NBrown141) May 26, 2013
This is amazing. I can not believe this. I am so happy to be an eagle. #EagleNation
— Anthony Parra (@AnthonyParra3) May 26, 2013
4th team to go to state, and 2nd team to make it to the championship. Arlington has had an amazing year for athletes. #EagleNation
— JJ Jet ✈ (@_JJTheJetPlane2) May 26, 2013
This game is intense!!! Lets go Arlington! One more inning!
— Krista Showalter (@kshowalter20) May 26, 2013
She is a beast! So proud to call her my sister. Love love love twitter.com/Hanimal143/sta…
— Hanna Fields (@Hanimal143) May 26, 2013