Kamiak’s Ally Boulger pitches during the 4A district championship against Jackson on Friday, May 17, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Kamiak’s Ally Boulger pitches during the 4A district championship against Jackson on Friday, May 17, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Jackson softball rallies past Kamiak for district title

Yanina Sherwood dominates in the circle, striking out 10 in the 4-3 come-from-behind victory.

EVERETT — Yanina Sherwood hucked her glove into the air and belted out a loud scream as she joined her teammates in celebration after throwing the game-sealing strikeout in the Class 4A District 1/2 championship softball game.

The Jackson High School senior and UNLV signee had a full count, two outs and a 4-3 Timberwolves lead in the top of the seventh inning when she slotted the ball into the catcher’s glove, sending the Kamiak batter swinging and securing the second consecutive district trophy for her team.

Jackson (22-2), the defending state champion and No. 2 seed, trailed twice in the ballgame against the eighth-seeded Knights (18-5), a team it swept in the regular season. But there was no panic, and everything was under control as Sherwood struck out 10 to keep the Timberwolves within striking distance the entire contest.

“I knew that coming into this game, (Kamiak) was going to hit the ball more often because the more you see a pitcher the easier it gets,” Sherwood said. “(We) just believed in ourselves and our fight. If (Kamiak) does score runs, we have the fight to be able to punch back. We’re not just going to get down about it.

“I know that expectations are very high for our team because we’ve been successful in the past,” Sherwood continued. “(We) worried about ourselves and kept everything inside, not worrying about what’s going on outside of our team.”

Both teams had already qualified for the state tournament, which begins Friday in Richland.

Kamiak seemed primed for an upset after junior Emma Stansfield came home on a Sherwood wild pitch, then sophomore Synclair Mawudeku’s grounder brought in Scarlette Chapman to give the Knights a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth.

But like a champion, Jackson responded in the bottom half of the inning. Allie Thomsen’s ground ball brought home Emery Tulio to tie it at 3-3. Then facing two strikes and two outs, senior Rachel Sysum smacked a line drive to right field, scoring Thomsen with what proved to be the winning run.

“When you’re playing a team for the third time, it’s really difficult. Both teams have seen each other’s pitcher a couple of times,” Jackson coach Kyle Peacocke said. “We expected that it was going to be a close game. One thing about our team is that they’ve been in a lot of playoff games, and no matter what the situation is, they find a way to be in the game and get it done.

“We just rely on our leadership and senior kids. They’ve been in those (playoff) situations,” Peacocke continued. “The biggest thing as coaches is just, ‘Stay calm, we’re going to get our chances to bat, and we’re going to battle back, and it’s one pitch at a time and seven innings.’”

Senior Aliana Boulger and Mawudeku pitched a combined six innings on the mound for Kamiak, striking out three batters.

“(We) didn’t give up even with the two walks (that forced runs in and gave Jackson a 2-1 lead in the second). (We) came back and scored again,” Knights coach Ann Bradley said. “I’m just so proud of them. I think no one thought (Kamiak) should be here in this game at all. … But I thought we should be here and so to pull that off and keep (Jackson) on the ropes the entire time was amazing.”

Other 4A state-qualifying games

Glacier Peak 13, Redmond 3 (6)

After topping Lake Stevens 4-2 in an earlier consolation game, the victory situated the 10th-seeded Grizzlies in a both-teams-to-state game against the seventh-seeded Mustangs. The victory over Redmond meant Glacier Peak took third place in the tournament.

Glacier Peak (15-9), which lost 2-0 to Redmond (18-10) in the first round of the district tournament, tallied five runs in the third inning and three in the fourth and sixth to win the rematch.

Lauren Hufford homered and scored three runs, and Samantha Christensen homered with three RBI for the Grizzlies. Briannica Titus had three RBI and Morgan Udy three runs. Emma Hirshorn pitched six innings, striking out eight batters.

North Creek 5, Lake Stevens 2

The fifth-seeded Vikings (16-6) trailed by four runs after the first inning against the sixth-seeded Jaguars (18-10) and couldn’t secure the district’s final state tournament berth.

Haylee Kim had a home run, Emery Fletcher one RBI and Ava Heston one run for Lake Stevens. Mara Sivley pitched seven innings with one strikeout.

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