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

Mt. Spokane bests Greater Spokane League rival University for 3A/2A slowpitch state championship 18-17

Mt. Spokane slowpitch softball celebrates winning the 3A/2A state championship at Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima on Saturday.  (Jerrel Swenning/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Jerrel Swenning The Spokesman-Review

YAKIMA – Saturday’s State 3A/2A slowpitch softball championship game took a brisk 2 hours to wrap up in a crisp central Washington autumn afternoon.

It’s the final three outs, however, will be remembered for years – the years the anxiety-laden top of the seventh inning shaved off the lives of the Mt. Spokane faithful and the years the Wildcats will recall their nail-nibbling victory to wrest the state title from Greater Spokane League rival University at the Gateway Sports Complex.

The second-seeded Wildcats held off No. 1 U-Hi 18-17 to end the Titans’ two-year reign and return the trophy to Mt. Spokane, where it resided in 2019.

“Whew! We knew the 21st out wasn’t going to come easy, and it didn’t,” Wildcats coach Carl Adams said. “I’m proud of our kids for staying the course and competing and never getting down.”

Mt. Spokane needed every ounce of composure it could muster in the top of the seventh when the Titans, who had put up 52 runs in two romps Friday to return to the title game, nearly erased a seven-run deficit to extend the game.

U-Hi senior Abby Watkins keyed the rally with her second three-run homer of the game, and the Titans loaded the bases with two outs. The Wildcats, though, induced a pop-up to end the game and begin the celebration.

“We’ve had the good fortune of being here, but it’s been a battle especially with them,” said Adams, motioning across the field to the Titans. “Tons of respect for them and their players and their coaching staff. I think we’ve played them maybe eight times in the last two years, so it’s fun.”

Mt. Spokane’s players didn’t homer Saturday, but seven had multiple hits. Makenzie Morris, who secured the final out for the Wildcats, was 4 for 4 and knocked in a pair of runs. Addison Jay collected three hits – including a triple and double – to pace the Wildcats’ offense, which was aided by seven U-Hi fielding errors.

“Against them, we had to get a base hit, base hit and string them together, and we did a pretty good job of that,” said Adams, whose team scored seven runs in the bottom of the first and led the rest of the way.

The Titans kept battling, nearly tying the score in the fourth with their first six-run rally when down 9-2 and then making a final stand in the seventh.

“There’s no quit in my crew,” U-Hi coach Matt Connor said. “I just tip my cap to Mt. Spokane. They came in and did what they wanted to do. It just goes to show how many things have to go right to finish this thing, and we just didn’t have enough things go right today.”

The Wildcats, who won three of four games against the Titans this season, finished the season 20-2. The second-place Titans wrapped up 21-3.

Maliyah Mann, Natalie Singer, Katie Travis and Haley Walker each had three hits for U-Hi.

Mt. Spokane and U-Hi are scheduled to start the 2024 season against each other.

Class 4A

Eastmont 15, Central Valley 11: Ella Bendele hit a pair of home runs, but the Wildcats used a five-run seventh to hold off the Bears to claim third place.

CV collected 17 hits in finishing fourth. Bendele had three hits and three runs. CV’s Sofia Morales added three hits, including a double, and two RBIs.