Skyline senior pitcher Ryan Grace is swarmed by teammates after striking out her 24th and final batter in the Spartans’ 3-2 10-inning win over Jackson in a Class 4A District 1/2 Tournament semifinal Wednesday at Phil Johnson Ballfields. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Skyline senior pitcher Ryan Grace is swarmed by teammates after striking out her 24th and final batter in the Spartans’ 3-2 10-inning win over Jackson in a Class 4A District 1/2 Tournament semifinal Wednesday at Phil Johnson Ballfields. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Jackson softball falls to Skyline in 10-inning bi-district marathon

The T-wolves lose a 3-2 extra-inning heartbreaker in the 4A District 1/2 semis, but still have 2 more chances to reach state.

EVERETT — Battling for the chance to secure a state berth, the Jackson and Skyline high school softball teams went back and forth in a marathon pitcher’s duel.

It took several extra frames — and some help from the international tiebreaker rule — to finally break the deadlock.

Jackson suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Skyline in a tense 10-inning clash Wednesday afternoon in a winner-to-state Class 4A District 1/2 Tournament semifinal at Phil Johnson Ballfields.

“It was tough,” Timberwolves coach Kyle Peacocke said. “But it was a good game between two really good teams and two good pitchers.”

Skyline senior ace Ryan Grace, a Harvard University commit, was practically untouchable for most of the afternoon.

Grace struck out a whopping 24 of the 35 batters she faced, flustering Jackson’s hitters with her devastating rise ball. The left-hander had a stretch in which she fanned 13 out of 14 batters, including eight in a row. She allowed just two runs, three hits and two walks in a masterful 10-inning performance.

Jackson sophomore ace Yanina Sherwood was equally effective. The hard-throwing right-hander took a shutout into the seventh and finished with seven strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings, while yielding just two runs, five hits and two walks.

Freshman right-hander Allie Thomsen added a strong 2 2/3 innings of relief for the Timberwolves, using her offspeed arsenal to strike out six of the 10 batters she faced.

“That Skyline pitcher is the best pitcher that we’ve seen all year,” Peacocke said. “(She has) just an incredible rise ball. It was a battle between Yanina and her.”

Jackson sophomore ace Yanina Sherwood took a shutout into the seventh inning. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Jackson sophomore ace Yanina Sherwood took a shutout into the seventh inning. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth, when Jackson sophomore Rachel Sysum reached on a one-out single up the middle and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt.

The left-handed-hitting Thomsen then pulled a two-run homer over the right-center field fence, giving the Timberwolves a 2-0 lead.

It was Thomsen’s team-leading 10th homer of the season, including her third in the past four games.

“That was huge,” Peacocke said. “… She squared one up, and she’s been solid for us all year.”

But just when it seemed like Jackson (20-2) had broken through, the Spartans answered right back.

In the top of the seventh, Skyline junior Finley Caringer lined a leadoff double that landed just inside the left-field line. Two batters later, junior Macen Staley blasted a two-run opposite-field homer over the right-field fence to tie the game at 2-2.

In the top of the eighth, Thomsen faced a first-and-second jam after entering in relief and hitting the first batter she faced. But she quickly settled in, striking out the next two hitters with offspeed pitches to keep the game tied.

Skyline senior ace Ryan Grace struck out 24 of the 35 batters she faced. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Skyline senior ace Ryan Grace struck out 24 of the 35 batters she faced. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Beginning in the ninth, both teams started each half-inning with a runner on second base, per the international tiebreaker rule.

Neither team capitalized on its free runner in the ninth.

But in the top of the 10th, Skyline came through. Grace began the frame on second base and advanced to third on a passed ball. Lindsey Murai, the Spartans’ No. 9 hitter, then lined a go-ahead single into right field to bring home Grace for a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the 10th, Jackson advanced the potential tying run to third base on a leadoff sacrifice bunt. But Grace was unfazed, fanning the final two batters to seal the victory.

After Grace’s 24th and final punchout, her teammates rushed to the pitcher’s circle and mobbed her in celebration.

With the victory, Skyline (19-7) clinched its first state berth since 2016 and just its second in the past 16 full-length seasons.

Jackson dropped to the consolation bracket with the loss, but the two-time reigning 4A state champions still have two more chances to secure their sixth consecutive state trip.

The Timberwolves, who won the two most recent 4A state titles in 2018 and 2019, face Wesco 4A rival Lake Stevens in a non-elimination winner-to-state game at 4 p.m. Friday at Phil Johnson Ballfields. Lake Stevens handed Jackson its only other loss of the season.

The loser of that game then gets one more chance to reach state, when it faces either Redmond or Inglemoor at 6 p.m. Friday in a winner-to-state, loser-out contest.

“We just told them we’ve gotta have a short memory,” Peacocke said. “We have one day of practice to kind of regroup and get ourselves ready to go.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Austin Roest
Silvertips’ Roest continues breakout season with 1st WHL hat trick

The 18-year-old forward, who scored three goals in the second period against Spokane, leads Everett in points.

Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) runs around Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen (27) during the first half of Sunday’s game in Seattle. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)
Grading the Seahawks in their 40-34 OT loss to the Raiders

Seattle’s run defense struggles again as the Seahawks drop a game they’ll feel they should have won.

X
Prep results for Monday, Nov. 28

Prep roundup for Monday, Nov. 28: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Lake Stevens’ Jayden Limar beats the defense for a 55-yard touchdown run during the 4A semifinal against Graham-Kapowsin on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens tops Graham-Kapowsin to reach state title game

Jayden Limar accounts for 6 TDs as the Vikings beat the defending champs 42-28 and avenge last year’s title game loss.

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Penix throws for 484 yards, UW tops WSU to reclaim Apple Cup

Washington avenges an embarrassing loss last year by overpowering Washington State 51-33 in Pullman.

Lake Stevens’ Jayden Limar runs the ball during the game against Eastlake on Friday, Oct. 7, 2022 in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘He’s been our motor’: Star tailback Limar powers Lake Stevens’ title quest

Notre Dame commit Jayden Limar has showcased his immense talent while leading the Vikings back to the 4A state semifinals.

Seattle Seahawks' Tariq Woolen (27) reacts after an interception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
NFL preview: Las Vegas Raiders at Seattle Seahawks

Seattle is happy to finally be home for a stretch and is set to host Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon.

A variety of sports equipment on a black background including an american football, a soccer ball, a baseball, a baseball bat, a tennis raquet, a tennis ball, and a basketball
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Month for October/November

Below are the candidates for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Month… Continue reading

Lake Stevens’ Cole Becker weaves through the secondary on a long reception against Gonzaga Prep on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
4A state semifinal preview: Lake Stevens vs. Graham-Kapowsin

The Vikings are set to face defending champion Graham-Kapowsin in a rematch of last year’s state title game.

Washington State defensive end Ron Stone Jr., center, celebrates with Willie Taylor III, left, as he holds the Apple Cup Trophy after they defeated in an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Huskies out for revenge in Apple Cup

The Huskies haven’t forgotten the frenzied celebration that took place on their home turf last year.

Seattle Kraken right wing Jordan Eberle, left, celebrates after scoring against the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Kraken earn major win over Golden Knights

Andre Burakovsky scores twice to help Seattle come out on top in a battle of the Pacific Division’s top teams.

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Silvertips fall to Rockets

Everett allows three goals in the second period and suffers a 4-2 defeat.