The Post Falls softball team cruised to the 5A state championship. Click the tab below to read our unedited story.
NOTE: A parade will take place Sunday, beginning just east of the Highway 41/Seltice Way intersection and contining west on Seltice Way to Spokane Street, up to Poleline Avenue and culminating at the high school where a ceremony in the gym will take place.
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Post Falls softball coach Jack Foster always thought if he could get a team to the state tournament, it would fare well.
The difficult part was getting out of the intensely competitive Inland Empire League.
Foster’s Trojans finally got to state this week and got the
most out of the experience.
“Honestly, I never thought I’d experience a state championship,” Foster said. “The neat part of it is sharing it with these kids. They’re all good softball players, but they’re better kids.”
Just three weeks ago Foster wondered if his team would earn
one of the two state berths from the IEL. His team lost three of its final four
regular-season games including getting swept by league champ
But the Trojans (18-9) won their final six games, and the charge started in the regional tournament.
“Our hitting had been kind of flat all season,” senior pitcher Richelle Ashburn said. “We really brought it together as a team.”
Senior second baseman Bri Joseph agreed.
“Our season had some ups and downs,” Joseph said. “We really came together at the right time.”
In a word, the Trojans peaked at the right time.
Their bats, which had seemingly been in hibernation most of
the season, flourished at state. They hung a 10-run defeat on defending state
champ Timberline (24-9), which finished third. The Trojans advanced to the
title game with a 7-1 win over
Ashburn knew the potential was present all season.
“I said if we play to our potential we are the best team around,” she said. “I don’t know what happened. We realized how good we are and we finally put it together.”
The Grizzlies (23-9-1) struck first Saturday. Timberline’s second hitter, Rachel Nebel, lifted a fastball offering from Ashburn that was high in the strike zone that rode a gusty wind to right field out of the park for a 1-0 lead.
Ashburn and the Trojans responded in the bottom of the first inning. She crushed a 3-2 pitch over the center field fence that put the Trojans ahead to stay at 2-1.
“That home run, I had it in my head I was going to hit it,” she said. “I said I’m going to hit this out because I hate when home runs are hit off of me.”
A wild pitch in the sixth allowed the Trojans to end the game early.
“Everyone contributed,” Ashburn said. “The team really helped me a lot defensively. It’s probably the best feeling to go out my senior year with a state title. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Foster marveled at how well his team played at state.
“It’s the best we played all year,” he said. “Our league got us ready to play at this level. You look at it every year, the third team out of our league could place at the state tournament.”
Foster appreciated how Ashburn carried the team until the bats arrived.“What she did for us is she gave the kids confidence all the time,” Foster said. “They knew they were in every game that she pitched.”