Jackson players are awarded the 2023 WIAA Class 4A softball championship trophy on Saturday, May 27, 2023, in Richland. (TJ Mullinax / For The Herald)

Jackson players are awarded the 2023 WIAA Class 4A softball championship trophy on Saturday, May 27, 2023, in Richland. (TJ Mullinax / For The Herald)

Jackson wins state title over GP after game called by weather

The Timberwolves win 5-1 to hoist their third state softball trophy since 2018 after a game that ended in unusual fashion.

RICHLAND — Jackson and Glacier Peak were on a collision course to meet up in the 2023 Class 4A state softball championship games on Saturday evening.

Placed on opposite sides of the 16-team bracket, the rival Wesco 4A high schools, which are located less than five miles apart, made the three-and-a-half hour drive to the Columbia Playfields over Memorial Day weekend to make their respective cases for the state crown.

After the Grizzlies and the Timberwolves knocked down their opponents one-by-one, the all-Wesco title game was set in stone.

By the end of the night, the No. 1 seed Timberwolves hoisted up their third state championship trophy since 2018, but it wasn’t how anyone expected it to happen.

In what began as a highly anticipated matchup with all smiles, by the sixth inning made a stressful turn.

Jackson had built a 5-1 lead over GP by the bottom of the sixth frame and the Grizzlies were up to bat, before the forever-fluky Washington state weather ended up calling the last shot.

As a thunderstorm passed over the Tri-Cities valley, it quickly flooded the playing field, forcing an initial 30-minute delay. The weather in the tucked away park of Richland had been hovering around 80-degree heat for the majority of the weekend.

The storm didn’t let up and WIAA officials made a call to resume play on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. But after discussions between the school athletic directors, coaches and officials, it was decided the game would be called off early.

Per WIAA rules, a complete game has to run at least five full innings. In the 1A tournament, which is also held in Richland, the first-place game between Royal and Montesano, as well as the third-place tilt between Deer Park and Hoquiam, were both set to restart play at 9 a.m. Sunday. Both had not reached the five-inning mark.

“There were lots of different discussions about moving the game,” Jackson coach Kyle Peacocke said. “The decision ultimately was athletic directors going by the rulebook. I have all the respect in the world for the Glacier Peak coaches, who just handled things so unbelievably well. I’m honored to be in a game with them, to be in a league with them, to compete with them.”

Glacier Peak (23-5), which came into the tourney as the No. 6 seed, edged out wins over Battle Ground (No. 11), Skyview (No. 3) and Kentwood (No. 10) before coming up short against its fellow Wesco powerhouse.

It was a tough pill to swallow for the Grizzlies, who were on a seven-game win streak, which included three-straight loser-out victories at districts. But, the Glacier Peak players were able to flash grins when they were awarded with their second-place hardware.

“These girls epitomize Glacier Peak,” Grizzlies coach Stefanie Celix said. “They represented us with class, with character, with determination. They are what GP stands for.”

A matchup with strong athlete ties across both squads made the situation a double-edged sword in terms of its magnitude.

“Today is a mixed bag,” Celix said. “And, it just comes down to the fact that you need to play the game the way it needs to be played.”

For Jackson, it was a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Skyview in the 2022 state semifinals that helped fuel the Wolves as they were searching for a redemption season.

Jackson rebounded in a big way in 2023, as the Wolves blazed their trail back to the title round. With come-from-behind wins against Rogers (Puyallup) in the quarterfinals and the hometown Richland Bombers in the semis, the Timberwolves (26-1) completed the mission they set out for.

“We had a three-run lead last year going into the seventh inning and ended up losing it. That was really devastating for these kids,” Peacocke said. “They kinda used that as a rallying cry over the course of the whole season. They wanted to get back to that moment, be in that moment and overcome that moment. It’s incredible. I’m just proud of each and every one of them.”

The Wolves played convincingly against a punishing defensive Grizzlies unit that had been firing on all cylinders over the past several weeks.

In the top of the second, Jackson plated the first run when sophomore Kiana Holden struck a line drive to plate senior Simone Williams, who had doubled earlier in the inning.

In the fourth, the Wolves kept their momentum rolling. After Holden singled on a pop fly to score Elena Eigner, Allie Thomsen got in the mix and delivered a three-RBI single, plating Holden, Macie Dean (2-for-3,) and Rachel Sysum as Jackson surged to a 5-0 lead.

In the bottom half of the frame, GP got into a mini rhythm when senior star Faith Jordan connected on a single. Senior McKellen Hamilton followed up with one of her two doubles and Jordan made it around the bases for the score.

After a scoreless fifth inning, the Grizzlies wouldn’t get their next chance to mount a run before the game was ultimately called off.

Jackson, Glacier Peak and Kamiak all made it to Day 2 of the tournament, with the ninth-seeded Knights (21-7) bowing out in the consolation bracket to No. 2 seed Bothell.

“We have outstanding softball, outstanding softball players and outstanding softball coaches,” Peacocke said. “And, we all have an incredible amount of respect for each other. I think that’s pretty rare when you’re competing against each other at a high level.

“So, all of our coaches, we love each other and support each other. Of course we want to beat each other, but at the end of the day we are a brotherhood and a sisterhood in Wesco, and it’s awesome to represent that.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Marysville Pilchuck’s Christian Van Natta lifts the ball in the air to celebrate a turnover during the game against Marysville Getchell on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 29

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 29: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Marysville Pilchuck’s Dominik Kendrick (9) runs with the ball during a football game between Marysville Pilchuck and Stanwood at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. Marysville Pilchuck takes the win, 36-7. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Marysville Pilchuck proud of 4-0 start, but has loftier goals

The Tomahawks aren’t listening to the outside noise, including a No. 1 WIAA RPI ranking, as a tough stretch lies ahead.

Stanwood players react to their coach bringing them the Stilly Cup on Sept. 30, 2022 in Arlington. The Spartans snapped a 12-game losing streak in the rivalry matchup last year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
4 games to watch in Week 5 of the prep football season

An in-depth look at the best games the area has to offer, plus a full schedule of the local action in Week 5.

Prep roundup for Friday, Sept. 29

Prep roundup for Friday, Sept. 29: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Houston Astros relief pitcher Hector Neris (50) gestures to Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodríguez (44) after striking Rodríguez out to end the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
MLB investigating Astros pitcher’s alleged use of homophobic slur

The incident occurred during a heated exchange between Houston’s Hector Neris and M’s star Julio Rodriguez on Wednesday night.

Prep roundup for Thursday, Sept. 28

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

Angel of the Winds Arena stands ready and waiting Friday afternoon for Kraken fans to arrive for the preseason game against the Edmondton Oilers. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
Patterson: After past fails, can arena football thrive in Everett?

The turbulent past of arena football in the city stems from the opening of the Everett Events Center, now Angel of the Winds Arena, in 2003.

Stanwood's Michael Mascotti relays the next play to his teammates during football practice on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Game picks for Week 5 of the prep football season

Find out which teams the experts and readers pick to win in Week 5.

Hall of Fame inductee Gina Carbonatto accepts her award during the 2023 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
GALLERY: 2023 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame banquet

A look at Wednesday’s ceremony honoring some of the most decorated sports figures in the area.

Most Read