Monroe edges Lake Stevens for state softball berth (video)

The Bearcats win 4-3 in a 4A loser-out game and eliminate the Vikings for the 3rd year in a row.

EVERETT — After taking down the Wesco 4A co-champions for the second time in four days, the Monroe softball team is headed back to state.

And once again, Lake Stevens is on the outside looking in after a crushing end to a dominant season.

Fourth-seeded Monroe earned its second consecutive state berth and continued its postseason mastery of the Vikings with a 4-3 win over top-seeded Lake Stevens in the loser-out Class 4A Northwest District tournament second-place game Friday evening at Phil Johnson Ballfields.

“I’m just so proud of these kids,” Bearcats coach Ashley Tuiasosopo said. “(Lake Stevens) is a great team and we knew that we’d have to bring our ‘A’ game. We brought it Tuesday, and then tonight we just pulled every ounce of energy we had to gut it out.”

Monroe (18-6) finished four games behind Wesco 4A co-champions Lake Stevens and Jackson in the league standings, losing twice to the Vikings in the regular season by a total of three runs.

But the Bearcats had their way with Lake Stevens in the district tournament, beating the Vikings 7-1 in Tuesday’s semifinal and once again in Friday’s winner-to-state elimination contest.

It was deja vu for Lake Stevens (19-3), which entered the district tournament with only one loss for the second straight year. Both times, the Vikings suffered a season-ending defeat to Monroe in the second-place game.

The Bearcats have ended Lake Stevens’ season three years in a row.

“I wish Wesco could take more than two teams, because honestly we’ve probably got three to four teams that deserve a chance in Spokane,” Tuiasosopo said. “I wish we all could go, because it’s unfortunate that one of us gets left out.”

With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning, Monroe’s Elise Allen lined a two-out single off the center-field fence and advanced to second base on an error, putting runners on second and third.

Freshman pinch hitter Abi Dill then grounded a two-run single up the middle to give the Bearcats a 3-1 lead.

Lake Stevens senior Summer Scales pulled a solo home run over the left-field fence in the fifth inning to make it a one-run game, but Monroe added an insurance run in the top of the seventh to make it 4-2.

The Vikings put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh, cutting the deficit to 4-3 on a Sydney Haynes run-scoring single. Both runners then advanced on an error, putting the tying run on third base and the winning run on second.

Monroe senior pitcher McKenzie Schulz, a University of Washington signee who missed much of the season with an undisclosed injury, then entered in relief and induced a game-ending groundout to third baseman Hannah Hvitved.

Bearcats senior Sarah Reeves yielded two earned runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings pitched.

Lake Stevens senior Sara Johnson tossed a complete game, allowing three earned runs and 10 hits.

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