Jackson’s Yanina Sherwood delivers a pitch on her way to striking out 16 Eastmont batters in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs May 24 at Columbia Playfields in Richland, WA (Aaron Coe / The Herald).

Jackson’s Yanina Sherwood delivers a pitch on her way to striking out 16 Eastmont batters in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs May 24 at Columbia Playfields in Richland, WA (Aaron Coe / The Herald).

Jackson softball halfway to defending its state championship

The Timberwolves beat Eastmont, Olympia to move into the Class 4A semifinals.

RICHLAND — It took a while for the Jackson High School softball team to get its engine started Friday at the Class 4A state tournament.

But once the second-seeded Timberwolves got it going at Columbia Playfields, they blew past two opponents and into the semifinals.

“For whatever reason, we have not played our best in the first round,” said Jackson coach Kyle Peacocke, whose teams have won three of the past four state tournaments. “We definitely got it going, and top to bottom everybody was contributing.”

Friday’s 5-1 victory over No. 15 Eastmont in the first round was followed by an 11-0 thumping of seventh-seeded Olympia in the quarterfinals, earning Jackson (24-2) a Saturday meeting with Sumner, which defeated Kamiak 2-1 in another quarterfinal. The Jackson-Sumner winner advances to Saturday evening’s championship game.

After initially feeling some early nerves associated with defending a championship, Jackson scored 16 runs in 9 innings spanning the two victories.

Yanina Sherwood threw every pitch on Friday, and said she felt great afterward. Winning the quarterfinal game in five innings via the 10-run rule likely helped. The UNLV-bound senior also hit a home run in the first game and drove in three runs on Friday.

“Making those two steps today was a relief, just to get the first day out of the way and worry about the next game now,” said Sherwood, who struck out 16 batters in the first-round triumph.

The No. 15 Wildcats enjoyed an early 1-0 lead in the first game, but Allie Thomsen gave Jackson the lead for good with a 2-RBI single in bottom of the third inning. Sherwood gave herself some cushion with a two-run bomb over the left field fence in the sixth inning. Addi Bale and Emery Tulio each went 2-for-3 for the Timberwolves.

Though there was about 7 hours between the two games, Jackson kept the engine running. Olympia started its No. 2 pitcher, and the Timberwolves chased her out of the game quickly with four first-inning runs.

Olympia pitcher Sami Potvin, an Iowa State signee, took over and was greeted by Thomsen’s parking lot home run in the second inning. Thomsen, a University of Washington commit, went 3-for-4 against the Bears.

“I just knew she had a really good rise ball,” Thomsen said. “I just saw the ball up high and I went with it.”

Leneyah Mitchell, who had four hits in four at bats with four RBI, drove in Rachel Sysum for a 6-0 lead in the second inning. Sysum, who is headed to Fresno State in the fall, stretched the lead to 8-0 with a third-inning double. The Timberwolves earned an earlier dinner with three runs in the top of the fifth for an 11-0 lead.

Next up is Sumner, the No. 14 seed that qualified for a semifinal appearance with upsets over No. 3 Richland and No. 6 Kamiak. Two of the top three teams were knocked out Friday, including No. 1 Skyview, which beat Jackson 1-0 early in the regular season.

“Sumner looked really good,” Peacocke said. “I’m expecting that it’s going to be a close game — probably low-scoring — and we’ve just go to go out there and fight.”


Sumner 2, Kamiak 1

Allyson McNulty drove in Kamiak’s lone run in the top of the seventh inning, but the Knights fell short of advancing to the semifinals. Kamiak pitcher Synclair Maduweku struck out nine.

First round games

Kamiak 9, Battle Ground 0

Mawudeku threw a two-hit shutout for Kamiak against No. 11 Battle Ground. Mawudeku struck out six batters, and also hit an RBI double for the Knights. Scarlette Chapman helped Kamiak to a 5-0 first-inning advantage with a 3-run homer to right field. Emma Stansfield, Tyler Karabach, Allyson McNulty and Chapman each had two hits.

Olympia 3, Glacier Peak 2

Glacier Peak’s Maya Mesa struck out eight batters and went 2-for-2 from the plate as the Grizzlies seventh-inning comeback bid fell just short.

Consolation games (loser out)

Puyallup 3, Kamiak 2

Emma Stansfield went 3-for-4 for the Knights, who finished the season with a 19-7 record.

Eastmont 3, Glacier Peak 2

Maya Mesa pitched her second complete game of the days, striking out 10 batters for the Grizzlies (15-11).

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