YAKIMA – After Saturday’s opening volley of hits by both teams that left Colton with a 2-1 lead in the State 1B championship softball game, Colton senior pitcher Brooke Vincent decided she was going to overcome her nerves and take matters into her own capable hands.
The tall right-hander pounded the second pitch from Touchet hurler Nicole Brown over the fence in left-center for a three-run third-inning homer – her seventh of the season – breaking the contest open and propelling the Wildcats to the title, 13-1 in five innings at the Kiwanis Softball Complex.
Vincent giggled and nodded when asked if she had envisioned herself as the 1B Danielle Lawrie – the standout University of Washington hurler who homered twice in an NCAA tournament game last weekend – when she came to the plate.
“We really buckled down and practiced our hitting hard,” Vincent said while holding the state championship plaque and receiving congratulations from a small legion of Colton fans. “We played the way we know we can today.”
Kelsey Moser had three hits for Colton and Haley Moser had two.
The win salvaged a 2-2 season series split for the Wildcats. Vincent’s work on the mound saw to that.
Unlike Colton’s two losses to the Indians, in which it was plagued by defensive issues while dealing with the Indians’ effective bunting, the Wildcats made the plays and Vincent kept the Indians off-balance with a lethal change-up and an effective curveball.
“She just learned that change-up this year,” Colton coach Brad Nilson said. “She did a nice job with that and her curveball today.”
Vincent struck out just six but ended every inning but the fifth with a strikeout.
After a rocky start in the first, she faced one batter over the maximum over the next 32/3 innings.
•Inchelium 7, St. Michael’s 5: The Hornets struck for three runs in the top of the seventh inning of the game for third and fourth places, toppling the Warriors in the fifth meeting of the season between the two teams.
St. Michael’s trailed most of the game took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, but the Hornets, who had led until that point, had enough left to get the win.
St. Michael’s won its first three meetings against Inchelium this season.
Mossyrock 7, Garfield-Palouse 2 (10): Mossyrock scored six times in the top of the 10th, finally getting the timing on the off-speed deliveries of Gar-Pal pitcher Rachel Witthuhn and winning the game for third and fourth places.
The teams were scoreless through eight innings and the high school tie-breaker rules – in which each team started the inning with a runner on second base – went into effect in the ninth.
Each team scored once in the frame and only a spectacular catch by Gar-Pal’s Kori Adair – snaring the ball and crashing onto the outfield fence – kept Mossyrock from doing more damage than that.
Mossyrock pitcher Hannah Pomeroy finished with 21 strikeouts.
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