By Jordan Nailon / The Daily News
YAKIMA – For the past two weeks, at least, the Toledo softball team has been on a ride, narrowly avoiding disaster at every turn and laughing until the last day of the season at the 2B State Softball Tournament. .
That run ended a game earlier than the Riverhawks would have liked when they first shoved a screwdriver into the ignition of a playoff series that seemed destined for scrap after the first day of districts. Toledo came out on Saturday and extended their run a few hours with a 5-2 win over Warden before watching it all come crashing down and burning in a season ending in a 12-5 loss to Colfax.
“We threw the ball around a bit, but we never gave up,” Toledo coach Jeff Davis said. “One of the things I loved about this team, and that was true all season, is that they never met.
Toledo started their Saturday at the park in remarkable fashion, putting in a flawless performance against Warden to come up with a one-game trophy win. In the first inning, the Cougars threatened with the bases loaded and no outs, but left-handed shortstop Brynn Williams flashed some leather and returned the ball to Greenlee Clark at second base to start a 6-double play. 4-3 which took most of the gas. of Warden’s first accusation. The next batter sent a flare out to left field and Vanesa Rodriguez swung out into foul territory to trap him on the fly for the endgame, leaving the Cougars with just one run to show for all their initial promise.
“Even though (Williams is) left-handed, she can straighten up and throw that ball over there and spin two,” Davis said. “Vanesa Rodriguez, she’s a central defender and she injured her arm but she didn’t want to give up, so we compromised and put her on the left and I thought she had done a job. phenomenal there.”
Late in the first, Williams hit a triple to put the Riverhawks’ bats level with their gloves. She ended up hitting the flat after a Mialeigh Jurica single and Toledo would never trail again, scoring a run in the second and three more in the sixth after the Cougars tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the sixth.
Jurica finished that game with three hits, one run scored and one RBI. Marcil scored a single to lead the deciding sixth inning and Averie Robins added two hits.
Bethany Bowen took the win in the circle for Toledo, striking out three batters while scattering eight hits and allowing just two runs.
The win put Toledo with Colfax in a contest to determine a berth in the third-place game. After playing their best in so many losing games in the final weeks of the season, it looked like the Riverhawks were finally running on fumes as unusual mistakes ruined any chance they had of beating the Bulldogs.
“We had a lot of clean games, but we made mistakes in this game and sometimes we can overcome them, but we had a good tournament, I think,” Davis said. “I was really proud of how they fought all the time, even in the district tournament, all the games we won were losing games.”
Colfax hung three runs on the board in the first inning and scored in every frame but fourth en route to the seven-run victory. Bowen had more success missing bats with two strikes than she had earlier in the day, but walks and errors behind her put the Riverhawks on a collision course with the end. Bowen finished the game with five strikeouts while allowing seven hits, six walks and nine earned runs.
Trailing 5-0 in the fifth inning, it was Abbie Marcil who finally broke the chicken egg for Toledo with a two-run homer.
But the Bulldogs responded with three more runs late in the inning to erase any sense of a good time for Toledo. The Riverhawks had three more runs in the sixth, but Colfax fought back with three runs to put Toledo back in the ditch.
Greenlee Clark went 3 for 4 at home plate as she continued her torrid journey through the playoffs.
“She’s been phenomenal the whole post-season,” Davis said. “She’s been a leader all year and has a bulldog mentality while asking a lot of her teammates.”
Marcil finished with two hits and three RBIs. Williams added a brace with two RBIs and a run scored. Candace Clark, Averie Robins, Quyn Norberg and Vanesa Rodriguez all added hits in Toledo’s ill-fated comeback attempt.
This loss ends a season that started with a new coach and so many uncertainties and ended with Thelma and Louise full of confidence before leaving the cliff.
“We have a tough league and a tough district, but we have to figure out how to beat the Adnas and the Pe Ells,” Davis said. “With the seniors we’re going to lose, it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a lot of holes to fill. The good news is that Bethany comes back and throws, and Abbie catches.