TUMWATER — Alexa McDaniel generally isn’t known for her bat, but that reputation may be changing.
The Tumwater High senior catcher’s early-season clutch hitting led to her hit cleanup Friday against W.F. West in the teams’ first meeting since last May’s 2A state title game.
And McDaniel’s strong production continued in the Evergreen Conference fastpitch showdown by driving in three runs, including singling in the winning run to help the Thunderbirds prevail, 5-4, in eight innings over the defending 2A state champion Bearcats.
“I can’t stop smiling,” said McDaniel, who finished 2-for-4 with three RBI.
The fastpitch rivalry between Tumwater and W.F. West dates back years, but it reached a new level during the postseason last spring when W.F. West topped Tumwater twice in two weeks – in the 2A District IV title game in Centralia and in the state title game, 15-3, in Selah.
But that was 2012.
New teams, new season, and Round 1 goes to Tumwater (3-0 overall, 2-0 2A EvCo).
“The girls, playing in a game like this, goes a long way,” first-year Tumwater coach Doug Nedrow
After the Bearcats put up two runs to tie the game at 4 in the top of the fifth, Kaylene Glasgo jump-started Tumwater in the bottom of the eighth with a near home run to deep left field, falling just short of the outfield fence for a double. After a walk to Alyssa Ubrun, the reigning 2A EvCo offensive MVP, McDaniel came up hoping to repeat her third-inning effort when she lashed a two-run double that gave Tumwater its first lead of the game.
“I knew we had great baserunners (Glasgo and Ubrun) on,” McDaniel said. “I was surprisingly relaxed. That’s how I hit it. I stayed calm on the outside pitch. It felt good. My bat’s been hot right now.”
McDaniel took the 0-1 pitch from W.F. West pitcher Ali Graham and belted it past shortstop Jessica McKay, driving in Glasgo for the game-winner.
It took a while for Tumwater’s offense to get going in a game that was delayed by rain, strong winds, and puddles in the infield. The lineup was 0-for-8 before the bats came alive with two outs in the third. With the Bearcats leading 2-0, Tumwater pounded out five consecutive hits – including back-to-back two-run hits by Ubrun and McDaniel – to put the T-Birds ahead, 4-2.
W.F. West tied it up at 4-all when Marissa Reynolds, W.F. West’s career home run leader who’s bound for Princeton, scored on Chloe Lewis’ double. That run might not have come if Reynolds, who finished 2-for-4, wasn’t called safe at third after colliding with Ubrun on her way from second to third. .
Tumwater freshman pitcher Jocelyn Glasgo struck out four batters over eight innings in the victory.
Olympia 8, Bellarmine 0: The Bears improved to 4-1 overall and earned their third shutout in five games, behind the pitching of sophomore Maddy Stensby, who struck out two and only allowed two Bellarmine hits. Hailey Hull (2-for-3, 2 runs) and Adrianna Rupright (2-for-3, home run, 3 RBI) paced Olympia’s offense.
Timberline 14, Mount Tahoma 0 (5 innings): The Blazers put up 12 runs over the first two innings in their 3A Narrows League victory over the T-Birds. Megan Porche went 3-for-3 and scored three times, and Becca Nelson was 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI. Starting pitcher Aundrea Temple struck out three batters and also was 2-for-3 at the plate – both extra-base hits.
Aberdeen 9, River Ridge 3: Starter Collin Nord pitched four innings of no-hit ball and also was 2-for-5 at the plate, helping the Bobcats to a 2A Evergreen Conference victory over the Hawks. Jordan Ikerd went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs for River Ridge.
W.F. West 1, Tumwater 0: Tanner Gueller drove in the winning run in the fifth inning to help the Bearcats improve to 4-1. Garrett Terrell, the T-Birds’ starting pitcher, had both of Tumwater’s hits, going 2-for-3 with a double.
Gig Harbor 13, North Thurston 1: Tyler Ridgeway went 2-for-2 for the Rams in their non-league loss to the Tides.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org