Snohomish’s Camryn Sage reaches to try and tag out an Auburn player as they slide into second base during the 3A state softball championship game against Auburn Riverside on Saturday, May 25, 2024 in Lacey, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Snohomish’s Camryn Sage reaches to try and tag out an Auburn player as they slide into second base during the 3A state softball championship game against Auburn Riverside on Saturday, May 25, 2024 in Lacey, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Snohomish softball falls in 3A state championship game

The Panthers lose 11-6 to Auburn Riverside, marking their second straight championship-game defeat.

LACEY — It was pitcher versus pitcher with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the seventh inning of the Class 3A softball state championship game Saturday at the Regional Athletic Complex.

Junior Danica Butler was pitching for the fifth-seeded Auburn Riverside Ravens to close out the contest, while sophomore pitcher Abby Edwards was at the plate for the sixth-seeded Snohomish Panthers to keep their title hopes alive.

With one ball and zero strikes, Edwards saw the pitch she wanted and gave it a swing.

Unfortunately, this time it was not the Panthers victorious in the last moments of the game.

The ball popped up into foul territory, and Auburn Riverside catcher Kennedy Martinson cushioned it into her glove, finalizing the third out and giving Auburn Riverside an 11-6 victory over Snohomish for the state trophy.

The defeat was Snohomish’s second consecutive championship-game loss in what felt like a one-step-forward, two-steps-back themed ball game.

The Panthers (21-7) trailed 6-1 in the top of the fifth but scored one run in the bottom half of the inning, then trailed 9-2 in the top of the sixth before rallying for three runs in the bottom half.

In the top of the seventh the Panthers faced another deficit after Auburn Riverside’s Seneca Aarstad hit the only home run of the game, bringing in Kaylee Walker for an 11-5 lead. Snohomish put up a run in the bottom half, but it was too little too late. The Panthers also conceded runs from a combination of wild pitches and infield errors throughout the contest.

“Some of our good hitters didn’t hit the way they normally do,” Snohomish coach Patti Lande said. “And then of course we had our errors too. It wasn’t our day. … This is definitely the most pressure that you can feel in a high school season, so there probably was some panic mode (by us). Plus, (Auburn Riverside has) aggressive base runners. We normally can keep our errors on the low side, but it wasn’t in the cards.”

Auburn Riverside didn’t qualify for the state tournament last year but finished one game shy of competing for a third-place trophy.

The Panthers opened the scoring in the bottom of the first from a grounder by senior Kendel Sage and a Ravens error, which brought in twin sister Camryn Sage.

Auburn Riverside tied it 1-1 in the top of the second and took the lead in the top of the fourth 2-1. With two outs against the Ravens in the top of the fifth, they found ways to get the ball in play, unloading four runs for a 6-1 advantage before tacking on their last five.

Snohomish senior Avery Clark tallied one run and one RBI, Camryn Sage three runs and junior Emery Post two runs. Edwards and senior Alexandra Flohr pitched a combined seven innings, striking out seven batters.

For the Ravens, Martinson had four RBI and senior Bailee Brader two runs. Butler struck out eight batters in seven.

“The leadership on this team was amazing,” said a teary-eyed but also smiling Lande about her seven graduating seniors. “And what they have demonstrated for these young kids, because I have a fairly big freshman class … you can’t put a price on it. So many programs don’t have the luxury of being back year after year at the state tournament. … And we’ll have the same goal next year: win state.”

Prior to the championship game, Snohomish eked out a 9-8 win over seventh-seeded Garfield in the semifinals.

The Panthers had a 9-6 lead entering the bottom of the seventh when Garfield’s Michelle Arimura homered, bringing in Jordana King who was intentionally walked. But Flohr made sure Snohomish didn’t concede any more runs, striking out the last three batters.

Edwards had a home run and two RBI and Camryn Sage, Flohr and freshman Madalynn Larsen each tallied two RBI and one run. Both Edwards and Flohr struck out five batters.

Among other local teams, eighth-seeded Everett topped 12th-seeded Monroe 8-6 in a loser-out consolation game, but couldn’t down first-seeded University in the last loser-out consolation game, losing 10-6 and coming one game shy of playing for third place.

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