SPOKANE — Rain started to trickle down as Lake Stevens was about to put a bow on its first-round shutout win over Sumner on Friday at Dwight Merkel Sports Complex, and Sarah Hirsch said she remembered thinking to herself, “Please, just let us finish this one.”
Just after the four 10 a.m. opening-round games at the 4A state tournament concluded, inclement weather cancelled the rest of the action on Friday. The win Lake Stevens banked on Friday could prove significant, as teams on the bottom half of the bracket that weren’t able to play on Friday will be required to win four consecutive games on Saturday in order to capture a state championship.
The other Snohomish County team still eligible for a title, Jackson, wasn’t as lucky as Lake Stevens.
The Timberwolves, the defending 4A state champions, recorded only one out in their Friday matchup against Camas before play was waived off. And the ramifications are steep: Jackson’s star pitcher Iyanla de Jesus likely won’t be able to pitch every inning if Jackson wants to win a state championship.
“It definitely changes things a bit,” Jackson head coach Kyle Peacocke said. “We just had a team meeting about how we’ll do it. You definitely have to rely on your entire pitching staff, instead of relying on just one ace pitcher each day. … It makes it more of a team effort.”
De Jesus, who is commonly referred to as “Ice” by her teammates and coaches, was lights out for the Timberwolves in Jackson’s state championship run last year, allowing just three runs on 10 hits in 26 innings and struck out 47 in four winning efforts.
Juniors Taylor Harrington and Sam Warren and sophomore Amanda Wingert are going to help pick up the slack for the Timberwolves. Wingert is the most likely to appear, as she’s made seven appearances this year and boasts a 0.78 ERA. Harrington possesses a 0.78 ERA in four outings and Warren has made one appearance.
The second half of the battery will also be a rotation between the starter Hannah Greninger, junior Hannah Thompson and freshman Alexis Sicairos, Peacocke said.
Lake Stevens also has a star pitcher that it relies on heavily, Kaylie Hoskins — who is 7-4 with a 2.21 ERA this season, but Hirsch said the Vikings will try and pitch her for all three games if it comes to it.
“We’re going to let her go the first two games and hopefully the adrenaline helps her in the third,” Hirsch said. “We’re not letting up and we’re here to win it all.”
Hoskins, with a wicked rise ball, allowed just two hits, struck out 15 and walked just four in a shutout performance for the Vikings on Friday, advancing the Vikings into the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2007.
“(She was) fabulous. She looked great today,” Hirsch said. “We really worked on snaps and spins the last couple of days … she fine-tuned anything that needed to be done and she looked great today.”
Lake Stevens’ offense erupted for five runs in the first inning to help ease the nerves, as the Vikings strung together five consecutive singles after loading the bases with one out in the top of the first to jump out to a 5-0 lead.
“It feels great,” Hirsch said. “It’s a nice little warmup. We had a nice little warmup to get all of the jitters out and play like we know that we can. Hopefully the second round here, all the jitters are done and we can step up on the field like it’s nothing.”
Kiley Hubby added a solo homer in the second and Rachel Eichenberger added another in the sixth in the offensive outburst for the Vikings.
The Vikings will play Skyview in the quarterfinals on Saturday at noon. The Storm won 9-7 over Rogers in their first-round matchup.
Jackson will resume its opening-round matchup against Camas at 8 a.m.
Glacier Peak drops first round matchup
The Grizzlies couldn’t withstand the undefeated Bombers, as Glacier Peak fell, 10-6, to Richland on Friday morning.
The Bombers went up 3-0 after Taylor Clark’s two-run homer was followed by Makenna Ozuna’s solo round-tripper in the first.
The Grizzlies responded with three runs in the top of second on Ashley Schmer’s two-run single and Maleah Menchaca’s RBI single.
But Richland recaptured the lead in the bottom of the inning and poured on six runs to go up 10-3.
The Grizzlies put up three runs in the top of the seventh, but the rally fell short.
Glacier Peak falls out of the winner’s bracket, but can still advance through the consolation bracket to capture third place. The Grizzlies will face Eastlake in a loser-out game at 10 a.m. on Saturday
This story will be updated throughout the day. Follow @joshhortonEDH for updates.