SCS pregame preparation paid off against Lynden Christian.
Seattle Christian qualifies for state softball
COVINGTON - Strong hitting set up the winning situation, but it was a highlight reel defensive effort that saved the day in a Seattle Christian fastpitch winner-to-state, loser out 8-3 victory against Lynden Christian at the Class 1A Tri-District girls softball tournament held on the Kiwanis Field of the Kent Service Club Fields on Saturday, May 18, under cloudy, but dry conditions. The Warriors will play at the Columbia Playfield in Richland on May 24-25.
Holding a 7-1 lead after five complete innings, Seattle Christian encountered a Lynden uprising that threatened to block its entrance to state even as the Warriors were on the verge of booking passage.
The Lyncs loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth before scoring one run and appeared to have a big inning in the making. At this point the defining event of the matchup surfaced. Lexi Holleman drove a deep fly to right field that had the possibility of being at least a sacrifice fly for another run. Outfielder Makenna Wallingford set up to catch the ball before unloading a strong strike to the plate where fearless Warrior catcher Molli Ronish caught it on the fly before the runner from third base upended her. Ronish held the ball to complete a dynamite double play. Pitcher Alyssa Baucom then induced an infield ground out to end the possible game changing barrage of runs.
"It seemed like a million years before the ball got here," she recalled. "I could see the girl in my peripheral vision. When the runner came into me, my helmet covered my eyes. Then I looked at my mitt and saw the ball. It was the best feeling of my life."
From right field, the view was even clearer.
"I could see the runner, so I moved back a few steps to catch the ball," said Wallingford. "I knew we needed to get the out. This was the first time I threw the ball to home on the fly. It was so exciting."
SCS added one more run on a Kelli Kumasaka RBI triple in the sixth inning before Lynden Christian closed out with a final run in the seventh.
Seattle Christian grabbed a 1-0 lead in the home half of the first inning on the strength of Kelli Kumasaka's one-out double and Baucom's two-out run-scoring double.
Lynden Christian returned fire with a single tally in the top of the second inning only to get battered by a Warrior hitting binge in the bottom of the inning. Benita Beale led off with on opposite field slap single to left field. Batting from the left side, Mikayla Wrolstad followed with a ground ball slapped single just inside the third base line. One out later, Lindsy Ronish loaded the bases on her single. After Beale scored on a wild pitch, leadoff hitter Molli Ronish stepped to the plated and turned strongly on a pitch to deliver a two-run triple to the right field fence. Kumasaka's ground ball out closed out the scoring as the Warriors claimed a 5-1 clearance.
SCS added to its advantage in the fifth inning. Kumasaka singled into the left center field gap before Baucom struck out and reached first on a passed ball. An infield error loaded the bases for Beale to send two runners scampering to the plate on a single as the dramatic defensive play in the sixth approached.
Baucom grittily hung in there on the mound for a complete game state qualifying clincher.
"I had good defense behind me," a happy Baucom explained. "I felt confident that my team was backing me up. It was so amazing."
For Seattle Christian head coach Rick Ronish and the Warrior girls, it was mission accomplised.
"Lynden Christian eliminated us last year," Ronish said. "It was the longest year of my life and for the team. We have been preparing for this for a year. The extra work paid off. Against Lynden Christian, the game is never over. Our team just kept playing add-on."
Beale batted 2-for-3 with two RBI while SC teammate Kumasaka batted 2-for-4 with a triple, double and two RBI.
The player roster for the state-bound Seattle Christian Warriors includes Molli Ronish, Lindsy Ronish, Kellie Kumasaka, Mikayla Wrolstad, Megan Holmberg, Abby Hay, Makenna Wallingford, Lisa Kumasaka, Mikayla Kogle, Hannah Ruffcorn, Mariah May, Bryce Ditmore, Erika Kaler, Taelor Willhoite, Benita Beale and Alyssa Baucom.
Head coach Ronish is assisted by coaches Dick Ronish, Will Finn, Brian Kumasaka, Ben Beale, Scott Hay, Randy Ronish and Angelique Hunt.
Craig Wrolstad is the athletic director.