For Lake City or Coeur d’Alene to capture the State 5A softball championship, it will take three victories today.
Coeur d’Alene, behind the splendid pitching of senior Amber Coburn, righted the ship by charging through the consolation side of the bracket Friday with three victories while Lake City suffered a 1-0 loss to Timberline in the winner’s semifinal at Ramsey Park in Coeur d’Alene.
That means the crosstown rivals will square off this morning at 10 for the sixth time this season with the winner advancing to face Timberline (28-4) in the championship game and the loser finishing third.
Lake City (24-4) advanced to the semifinal with a 5-0 win over Eagle while Timberline downed Twin Falls 7-1 in nine innings.
Coeur d’Alene (22-10) started with a no-hitter from Coburn in a 4-0 decision over Centennial and followed it up with a pair of one hitters in victories over Eagle (7-0) and Twin Falls (5-0).
Twin Falls (22-13) finished fourth.
The championship game is scheduled for noon.
Timberline 1, Lake City 0: Sometimes in pitching duels, it’s the little things that can be magnified and prove to be the difference.
Take, for example, Timberline. The Wolves of Boise, after getting back-to-back hits by Erin Keen and Heather Warden to start the second, used a groundout from Jenna Bice to score the game’s lone run.
Over the next four innings, Timberline pushed just one runner to third base.
“Our girls did a good job of taking good pitches and putting the ball in play,” Timberline coach Annie Schmidt said. “Defensively, they were very clean and that’s what we needed out of them.”
It was Timberline’s ninth shutout – two of which have come at state, including a 1-0 win over CdA on Thursday.
“We always preach that defense wins ballgames and if they don’t score they can’t win,” Schmidt said.
Unlike its first two wins of the tourney, LC, which had just three hits, couldn’t bunch anything together. The T-Wolves advanced just one runner to third where Jenna Robertson, who led off the fifth with a single, was stranded.
“I told the girls that at state tournament time it can be one mistake, one big hit, one bad pitch … that’s what state is about, though,” LC coach Laura Tolzmann said. “You just have to come ready to go. …. You’ve still got to be able to put one run on the board. We did hit the ball at times, but when we did, we hit it right at them. So it was kind of frustrating.”
LC 5, Eagle 0: Senior Jessica Ross went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and freshman Katie Rowe had two hits and an RBI to lead the T-Wolves past the Mustangs.
Ross expects her team to bounce back today.
“We need to leave it out on the field,” Ross said. “There’s no other option. We just have to get the job done.”
She said there’s no secret what LC must do.
“Nobody hit (against Timberline),” Ross said. “In order to win the game you’ve got to score.”
CdA 5, Twin Falls 0: The Vikings scored two unearned runs in the first and then added three more on RBI singles by Lindsey Ritzheimer, Kathy Comack and Coburn.
“I told the kids to get a good night’s sleep because it’s going to be a rollercoaster (today),” CdA coach Larry Bieber said. “We know exactly what we have to do and I’m sure they (T-Wolves) know what they have to do.”
CdA 7, Eagle 0: Coburn’s no-hit pitching carried through 112/3 innings before she allowed her first hit Friday.
Amanda Brouillard and Jessica Kraft each went 3 for 4 with an RBI.
CdA 4, Centennial 0: The Patriots had one player reach on a walk and another on an error. After that it was slim pickings as Coburn mowed down the Pats, striking out 12.
She ended up with 30 strikeouts in the three games Friday.
“I went out there ready to pitch,” she said. “I knew my team could help me so I had a lot of confidence.”
Coburn was especially pumped after Timberline’s lone run the day before scored when she hit a batter.
“I don’t think it was disappointing because disappointing is a really harsh word,” Coburn said. “It was really upsetting because it was kind of my fault that they got their run. But then again we needed to hit the ball.”
Bieber started sophomore Jessica Lupinacci for the first time since she returned this week after breaking a wrist in mid-March. Lupinacci responded against the Pats, going 3 for 3 with two RBIs. Her speed also made a big difference.
“It’s so good to have her back, and it was amazing to watch Amber throw BBs,” Bieber said.
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