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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State 2B softball: Mattea Nelson, Northwest Christian blank Napavine to claim championship

The Northwest Christian softball team celebrates after winning the State 2B championship, stopping Napavine 3-0 on Saturday in Yakima. (@WIAAWA / Twitter)
By Michael Anderson For The Spokesman-Review

YAKIMA – Northwest Christian senior pitcher Mattea Nelson wasn’t taking any chances at Kiwanis Park on Saturday afternoon.

In her final game in a Crusaders uniform and with her team struggling in the State 2B softball championship game against Napavine pitcher Abbi Music, Nelson figured her fifth-inning single might be the team’s only chance to add to its precarious 1-0 lead. So she pounced.

After slapping a sharp one-out single, Nelson scampered to second base on a wild pitch and stole third base when she caught the Tigers’ defense napping. When a tiring Music uncorked a second wild pitch, Nelson dashed home, punctuating the run with a head-first slide that sent dust flying into the ecstatic Crusaders crowd on the third-base bleachers.

Nelson’s run was enough breathing room and NWC held on to win its first 2B softball title, topping Napavine 3-0.

The Crusaders finished the season 27-0 and also brought home the academic state championship for having the highest team grade-point average in the 2B softball ranks.

“I was just thinking that I just had to get home because at that point any run was valuable,” Nelson said while balancing the big traveling championship trophy.

Nelson had given NWC its first run in the first after a base hit. She advanced on a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice, and stole home on a sleeping Tigers defense dealing with a dropped third strike.

On the mound, Nelson limited the Tigers to four hits, using a nifty knuckle curve she learned from pitching coach Scotty Waggoner to keep the Tigers from pounding the ball into the rock-hard infield dirt.

“Mattea’s our senior and she brought us here,” NWC coach Renee Stewart said.

“She is a fighter and she’s known for doing things like (the head first slide). The team wanted the win and she really wanted the win.”