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

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez, left, reacts with third base coach Manny Acta after hitting a two-run home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Monday, July 4, 2022, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
M’s offense backs strong Flexen start for win over Padres

Julio Rodriguez homers again and Cal Raleigh drive four runs in an 8-2 victory.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen of Everett poses with a soccer ball in front of the U.S. capitol building in Washington, D.C.. (Provided photo)
How Rep. Rick Larsen helped Seattle secure its 2026 World Cup bid

The longtime congressman isn’t solely responsible, but he played a small role in bringing the event to the Pacific Northwest.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox rally from early hole to beat Emeralds

Victor Labrada hits the go-ahead home run in the seventh inning as Everett wins 6-4.

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez is greeted in the dugout after he hit a solo home run against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 3, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Rodriguez, Ray lead Mariners by lowly A’s

Seattle’s star rookie drive in both runs and Robbie Ray fans a season-high 12 batters.

Storm
Dream pull away in 3rd to beat Storm

Seattle never leads in a 90-76 loss to Atlanta.

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 add pair in CHL import draft

Everett selects Czechian forward Dominik Rymon with pick 57 and Swiss goalie Tim Metzger 117th overall.

Silvertips’ Niko Huuhtanen and Giants’ Jaden Lipinski fight for the puck during the playoff match up against the Vancouver Giants on Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Silvertips will look to replace Huuhtanen in CHL import draft

The standout forward who scored 37 goals this past season recently signed a professional contract to play in Finland.

FILE - UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., right, tries to get by Southern California forward Isaiah Mobley during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on March 5, 2022, in Los Angeles. UCLA and Southern California are planning to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten Conference in a seismic change that could lead to another major realignment of college sports. A person who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday, June 30, 2022, on condition of anonymity because the schools' talks with the Big Ten have not been made public said the schools have taken steps to request an invitation to join the conference. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
UCLA, USC leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The two schools announce they will be exiting the Pac-12 in 2024 in a major blow to the viability of the conference.

Seattle Mariners' Abraham Toro, center, is greeted by Julio Rodriguez, right, and Cal Raleigh, left, after Toro hit a single to score Marcus Wilson with the winning run during the ninth inning of the team's baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Seattle. The Mariners won 2-1. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Late fireworks lead Mariners over Athetics

Justin Upton homers in the eighth and Abraham Toro hits walk-off single to give Seattle a 2-1 victory.

Most Read