TACOMA – It was a short day and a short stay for the 2007 state champs.
Shadle Park, which survived two loser-out games on Friday at the State 4A softball championships at South End Recreation Area, ran into an early buzzsaw in the Prairie Falcons on Saturday.
Prairie scored four times on one play in the top of the first inning and rolled to a 7-2 victory.
“When you’re down four runs early like that, it’s hard to come back,” Shadle coach George Lynn said. “But that’s a tremendous year that we had. To get 20 wins is huge.”
The Highlanders finished the year at 20-7. They made it to the second day at the state tournament, despite some known deficiencies.
“We had the athletes and the hitters,” Lynn said. “But we didn’t have the defense. To do this without a defense that can get you to state …”
That defense cost Shadle against the Falcons.
Prairie loaded the bases with no outs in its first trip to the plate against Highlanders pitcher Haylee Cushner. That brought Chelsea Creech to the plate.
The Falcons pitcher drove a ball into right-center field that rolled to the fence for a two-run double. But that didn’t end the play.
Shadle threw the ball back to the infield in an attempt to get Jessi Duncan at third base. The ball ricocheted away back into the infield.
Duncan got up and raced home while Creech moved to third.
With nobody at the plate, Creech decided to take off.
Shadle catcher Megan Skillingstad collected the ball and turned as Creech was coming home. Creech won the race, sliding in safely just ahead of a lunging Skillingstad for a 4-0 Prairie lead.
“The home-plate umpire didn’t help, though,” Lynn said. “He thought the play was over and was out of position. He obstructed my catcher. That’s two runs.”
Shadle responded with a single tally in the bottom of the inning, and hit the ball hard on several occasions after. But by the seventh, Prairie had extended its lead to 7-1.
That made Alli Burger’s RBI single that scored Kai Reid with one out in the bottom of the last inning a moot point – except to their coach.
“They did, they did,” Lynn said about the two seniors getting a run in their final Shadle at-bats. “It was nice to see them compete.”
Another senior who got her last at-bat for the Highlanders – a strikeout to end the game – was Lynn’s own daughter, Danielle. That begged the question, is George Lynn done?
“I haven’t made that decision yet,” Lynn said. “I’ve always said, when I’m no longer having fun I will stop coaching. I am still having fun.”
•2A: Colville completed play at Carlon Park in Selah with a 4-0 loss to Steilacoom. The Indians finished 2-2 at the tournament and 21-5 for the season.
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