Lake Stevens pitcher Charli Pugmire deals against Glacier Peak on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Lake Stevens pitcher Charli Pugmire deals against Glacier Peak on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Lake Stevens tops Glacier Peak in key softball encounter

The Vikings strung together a three-run rally in the fifth inning to prevail 3-0.

SNOHOMISH — The Lake Stevens and Glacier Peak high school softball teams were deadlocked in a defensive duel through four innings of an important Wesco 4A matchup Tuesday evening, but the Vikings escaped after their bats came alive in the fifth.

Lake Stevens used a three-run fifth inning to a secure 3-0 victory over the Grizzlies. Three of the Vikings’ five hits came in the inning as Lake Stevens finally strung together a rally.

Emery Fletcher began the decisive fifth for Lake Stevens by drawing a walk. Then the Vikings ignited their bats. Alyssa Waldo scored Fletcher on an RBI double for the opening run. Then Ava Heston plated Waldo on a triple. Alexa Bradley kept the surge going, plating Heston on pop fly single to make it 3-0.

“We had talked a lot about what we were seeing at the plate and what we were going to do with it,” Lake Stevens coach Sarah Hirsch said. “We work a lot on hitting that outside pitch, we just finally were able to string enough together to make it work.”

That was more than enough offense for junior Charlie Pugmire, who started in the circle for the Vikings (13-2 overall, 3-1 league) and pitched a complete-game shutout, striking out eight while allowing three hits and two walks.

Senior Seattle University commit Maya Mesa racked up 11 strikeouts with four walks in seven innings for the Grizzlies (10-5, 1-3).

Mesa and Pugmire spent the early part of the game taking turns closing out innings in the circle. Then Mesa used her bat to put Glacier Peak in prime scoring position in the bottom of the fourth. She led off the inning by smacking a line drive to center field that nearly cleared the wall, settling for a double. Mesa advanced to third on a groundout, but Lake Stevens retired the Grizzlies’ last two batters as the game remained scoreless going into the fifth.

The Grizzlies threatened again in the bottom of the sixth as Sammie Christensen connected on a single, but McKenna Richer’s cross-field toss threw out Glacier Peak courtesy runner Audrey Fortune at third base to end the frame.

“We were there right on the edge,” Glacier Peak coach Stefanie Celix said. “We just need to string some runs together. We need to get to our hits, string them together and we’ll be where we need to be.”

After missing out on a playoff bid last season, the Vikings brought back a full crew with no graduated seniors from last spring. The win kept Lake Stevens holding a firm grip of second-place in a loaded Wesco 4A.

“You can definitely tell that they’ve been there and done that,” Hirsch said of her seasoned group. “They’ve wanted it and I think being left out of last year, they’ve got a little bit of hunger and fight in them. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do, its a solid fun team to be around.”

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