Until the day’s second torrential thunderstorm finally caused tournament directors to cry, “Uncle,” the co-MVP’s of the WIAA State AA/A and B Slowpitch Softball Championships were undoubtedly the members of the Franklin Park grounds crew.
Without that stalwart crew of mudders, Royal would never have had a chance to win the AA/A title, 8-7 over Lynden Christian, with three seventh-inning runs. The Handle Garfield-Palouse and Cascade Christian were declared Class B co-champions when a fifth-inning downpour made their field unplayable. The visiting Vikings, who lost to Cascade in the semifinals a year ago, were batting and leading 8-0 at the time, but five innings must be completed before a game is official.
Almost all the consolation games in both tournaments were cancelled after an earlier 30-minute squall soaked the Franklin complex. Play was delayed for more than an hour as field maintenance workers concentrated their efforts on the main diamond.
Royal trailed Lynden Christian 7-3 after a six-run LC fifth, but scored two runs in the sixth inning and three more in the seventh. Then they kept the Lyncs off the board in their last at-bat.
Kellee Brown drove in the winner for Royal, her third run batted in. Tara Bergeson had four hits for the Knights, who led 2-0 before the rain as winning pitcher Amanda Lutz retired the first nine Lynden batters.
The B semifinal contests were both thrillers. Cascade Christian scored three runs with no outs in the bottom of the seventh for a 10-9 victory over Touchet, while Gar-Pal held on for a 7-6 win over defending champion Kalama.
After trailing 6-2 early, Touchet took a 9-7 lead into the seventh against Cascade, but a walk and a single set the table for CC’s Becky DeBoer, who singled sharply to right field. When the ball skipped past the Touchet right fielder to the fence, all three Cougar runners scored.
DeBoer had three hits, including a third-inning home run, and four RBIs.
Gar-Pal had a 4-1 lead in the first against Kalama, but the Chinooks had pulled within a run by the seventh. Viking pitcher Shannon Roper yielded an infield single to start the inning, but retired the side on two popups and an outfield fly. Kalama’s Tiffany Toteff had three hits. , DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo