LACEY — The North Thurston High fastpitch team needed 11 innings to put away crosstown rival Timberline when the two squads squared off earlier in the season.
No extra innings were required this time. Dominique Greeno and Dejah Hickman saw to that.
Greeno smacked a grand slam, Hickman kick-started a big seventh inning with a solo shot, and the visiting Rams took control of the 3A Narrows League by doubling up the Blazers, 12-6, on Monday.
“This is exactly where we wanted to be as a team,” said Hickman about North Thurston, which can wrap up the league championship with a victory at Mount Tahoma on Wednesday. “We came out motivated today. We wanted to show we can play.”
The Rams belted out 17 hits — seven coming in the top half of the seventh as they pushed seven runners across in their final inning to turn a 5-3 game into a rout.
Hickman led off North Thurston’s big offensive inning with a home run — her first on the season — then drove in another run with a sacrifice fly.
“I was just wanted to make contact,” Hickman said about her homer, which sailed over the scoreboard in center field. “I actually didn’t even see it go out.”
Hickman’s teammates, however, certainly saw the blast as it seemed to ignite the Rams’ offense.
Annalise Dahmen followed the home run with a single, the first of two hits in the inning for Dahmen, before Aayliah Kautz added a two-run single of her own.
By the time North Thurston (14-5 overall, 9-2 league) headed out into the field, it had turned a two-run lead into a commanding 12-3 advantage.
Timberline (11-6, 9-2) countered with three runs in the bottom of the seventh, getting a two-run single from Ellie Jones and an RBI double from Rebecca Nelson to cut into the deficit before the Rams closed the door.
Greeno broke up the scoreless tie in the fourth with her bases-loaded homer — her ninth home run of the season.
“These situations can actually be nerve-wracking,” said Greeno about being at the plate with the bases loaded. “The last time we played Timberline I got up with the bases loaded and popped out. I guess this was a little bit of revenge.”
The Rams swept the regular season series against the Blazers, also winning 9-8 on April 10.
Timberline, which had won five consecutive games, now needs a North Thurston loss and a victory over Shelton on Wednesday to claim the league championship.
Trailing 4-0, the Blazers got an RBI from both Aundrea Temple and Nelson to trim the Rams’ lead in half.
Molly Emmons later added a solo home run for Timberline in the fourth to once again pull the Blazers within two runs at 5-3.
Jones finished 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, while teammate Nelson went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI.
Greeno and Hickman both finished with three hits. North Thurston also got two hits from Kautz, who drove in two runs.