LACEY — Bailey Greenlee has thrown four perfect games this season, but perhaps none as big as Friday evening’s effort at the Class 3A state tournament.
The Snohomish senior struck out 10 while retiring all 21 Kelso hitters to propel the Panthers into Saturday morning’s semifinals.
“I just knew going in that I had to hit my spots,” said Greenlee, who also earned the win in Snohomish’s 5-3 opening round victory over Gig Harbor. “In the first game I was a little rocky. I knew that I was going to have to take my time in-between pitches and hit my spots, and that’s exactly what I did today.”
The Panthers (24-1) will see a familiar foe in the morning semifinals as Wesco North rival Marysville Pilchuck (22-4) also won twice on Friday. The two teams will meet for the fourth time this season at 9 a.m. Saturday with a berth in the state championship game at stake.
Snohomish has won all three previous matchups including an 8-6 decision in the district semifinals 11 days ago.
“We’re excited about that,” MP coach Aaron Zachry said. “We know each other pretty well. These girls even outside of high school know each other well and have been playing against each other for 10 years so it will be a fun game.”
In the quarterfinal game it took the Panthers until the fourth inning to solve Kelso starter Jordyn Ragan.
“We were chasing the early rise ball and that was tough,” Snohomish coach Lou Kennedy said. “(Ragan) had a very good rise ball and when you see that pitch that looks fat and just keeps climbing you’re in trouble already. It was just kind of clicking on better plate discipline.”
Izzy Hansen’s homer in the top of the fourth opened the scoring, and Snohomish added three runs in the fifth to chase Ragan. Greenlee had a two-run double and Hansen followed with an RBI single to make it 4-0.
“I think we locked in and focused on finding our pitch and the one we wanted to hit,” Greenlee said. “We definitely need to bring that energy into Saturday.”
On the adjacent field the Tomahawks dispatched quarterfinal opponent Garfield 4-2 to reach the semifinals for the second time in the past three seasons.
Alissa Edge had an RBI double as MP built a 3-0 lead after three-and-a-half innings. Garfield’s Kaia Simpson hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to pull the Bulldogs within a run, but McKenzie Justice’s solo home run in the sixth pushed MP’s lead back to 4-2.
Justice scored three runs and limited Garfield to two hits to earn the complete-game victory in the circle.
The Tomahawks reached the semis despite dealing with early adversity Friday morning. Third baseman and No. 3 hitter Lilianne Fischer suffered a broken hand while making a tag in the first inning of MP’s 6-2 first-round victory over Prairie and forced the Tomahawks to shuffle the lineup.
“They said, ‘We gotta deal with it. Let’s move forward and see what we can do,’” Zachry said. “They got two games won today so I’m really proud of them for that.”
In addition to the 8-6 loss at districts, MP fell 2-1 and 5-3 to Snohomish in Wesco North regular-season play.
“They’ve been good games — we just haven’t been able to get over the hump against them,” Zachry said. “They’re tough.”
Snohomish captured the Class 4A state title two years ago. MP’s best-ever finish was a Class 4A runner-up showing in 2011.
In first-round action, the Panthers erased a 2-0 deficit with a three-run fifth inning and went on to defeat Gig Harbor 5-3 and reach the quarterfinal round.
Greenlee struck out a dozen hitters to earn the win in the circle for the Panthers.
Ruby Sugayan hit a solo home run and Ruby Butler had a pair of doubles to lead the Panthers at the plate.
The Tomahawks reached the quarterfinals with a convincing victory earlier Friday. MP scored twice in the top of the first inning, added three more in the fourth and never trailed en route to reaching the quarterfinal round.
Justice earned the win on the mound. Chloe Morgan was 3-for-4 at the plate and Edge was 3-for-3 to lead the Tomahawks.
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