Cardinals battle back for state softball berth
Cardinals' must-win over Riverside earns first state softball berth since 2006
Medical Lake's Claire Dormaier tries to tag Cashmere's Syndee Mongeon in Saturday's 1A playoff game.
Faced with the choice of packing up the gear for the year after last Saturday's 3-2 Bi-District 1A softball loss to Cashmere, or figuring out a way to beat Riverside and pack for a trip this weekend to the Tri-Cities, the Medical Lake Cardinals chose the latter.
They shored up the defense that cost them in the opener, took advantage of some shoddy fielding by their opponents and scored a 5-2 win in the loser-out game.
That sent the Cardinals into a Friday contest with Seattle Christian at Columbia Playfield in Richland at noon. It's Medical Lake's first trip to the state finals since 2006 and they go as the No. 3 seed out of District 6-7. Seattle Christian (13-3) tied Cedar Park Christian in the Nisqually 1A league with 8-2 records.
Saturday's second game for Medical Lake at Central Valley High School was what head coach Tim Blakely termed a "Have it or go home game, and they brought their A Game," he said.
Jordyn Soliday followed her stellar performance in the opener versus Cashmere (15-10), matching her earlier nine-strikeout effort with another nine Ks, again going the distance as the Cards beat the Rams (16-7) for the second time in five games, but by far the most important.
Medical Lake had lost big, 8-0 and 7-1 to Riverside, that last one May 17 in district playoffs, but the Rams had a couple of errors, "That were huge in helping get runs across the plate," Blakely said.
Offensively in the second game, freshman Glori Cheevers was 3-for-3, socked a big triple, was hit by a pitch and scored three of the four times she reached base.
The top of the order produced the biggest share of runs as the top-three places in the batting order scored all five runs. A Soliday single, followed by a pair of stolen bases and a Rams' throwing error made it 1-0, ML. Glori Cheevers' triple turned into a second run following a Kayla Pruitt sacrifice.
Hailey Cheevers reached in the third on a one-out single and scored on consecutive singles by her sister, Glori, and an RBI by Pruitt for a 3-0 score.
With the lead cut to 3-1, Glori Cheevers opened the fifth with a single, advanced to third on an outfielder's error and scored on Chelsea Hamby's sac fly.
The Cards would get a crucial insurance run in the top of the seventh when with one out Glori Cheevers was hit by a pitch, advanced on a fielder's choice and scored on Hamby's two-out single.
In the opener Medical Lake (17-8) had five errors and a couple of them played a part as the Bulldogs rallied past the Cardinals scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth.
"Our defense let us down a little bit in that game," Blakely said.
"It was a great, exciting day, the kids are totally pumped," Blakely said. While it was a letdown, it did not break the Cardinals. "They came right back in that second game and put it together."
Bulldogs' Morgan Mongeon also struck out nine and limited Medical Lake to just three hits in the opener, all in their two-run third.
The Cardinals erased a 1-0 Cashmere lead in that inning when Soliday and Hailey Cheevers each singled. Soliday later scored on an error and Cheevers on an RBI single by Pruitt.
Cashmere, which later lost 15-0 to Northeast A champ Lakeside, but garnered a consolation berth to state with a 12-4 win over Cascade of Leavenworth, used that questionable Cardinal fielding to score twice in the fifth. An error, single, fielder's choice and error allowed the Bulldogs to score the winning runs.
"Jordyn threw a great game, she only had one earned run of the three that were scored," Blakely said.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.