By Meg Wochnick
SPANAWAY -- For 15 minutes, Olympia Highs fastpitch season hung in the balance. Were the Bears headed to state for the first time since 2004 or watch their season end at 20-5?
Umpires and tournament officials were involved in a seventh-inning protest by Olympia in Mondays 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district winner-to-state, loser-out game against Puyallup after the Vikings scored what was thought as the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh. Olympia coach Matt Loes wanted obstruction, leading to a third out and preventing the run from scoring after a Puyallup baserunner collided with Bears shortstop Leticia Farias as she tried to make a play on the popup with runners on second and third.
Minutes ticked by before the original call of the lead runner at third base scoring on the play was reversed, and the Bears had new life tied at 2-all going into the eighth. Thats when Hailey Hulls sacrifice fly drove in Nikki Schroeder for the go-ahead run in a 3-2 eight-inning win that sends Olympia to the 4A state fastpitch tournament in Spokane, which starts Friday at Merkel Sports Complex.
The eighth inning sparked the Bears, giving the players a lot of momentum, said senior infielder Hailey Hull.
The chance of us going to state were taken away for a second and we all knew that wasn't right, Hull said. We dug deep and pulled out of it.
Hull drove in all four of the Bears runs on the day. Following their 3-2 win over Puyallup came a 4-1 loss to Tahoma in a state seeding game, in which Hull also drove in the Bears run in the fourth that put them ahead, 1-0. In the sixth, Tahoma scored all four of its runs with two outs, sending nine batters to the plate.
Farias suffered an apparent concussion on the collision against Puyallup, moving Hull from third base to shortstop against Tahoma.
Sophomore pitcher Maddy Stensby struck out 15 batters in two games, combining to throw more than 220 pitches over 14 innings; freshman Erin Roloff pitched the seventh inning in relief against Tahoma.
This is Olympias first state appearance since a Ryanne Horton-led Bears team, coached by Tom Jones, nine years ago went 0-2 at South End Recreation Area in Tacoma. But the 2013 Bears arent just happy to be going to state, but looking to bring home hardware.
We have overcome a lot this season and we deserve it, Hull said. Weve bounced back from everything thats in front of us. ... I think we can do all the way. we definitely have the potential.
Blazers season ends: Timberline was outscored 26-6 in both its winner-to-state games Monday at Sprinker Recreation Center, losing to Enumclaw, 10-4, and Auburn Mountainview, 16-2 (5 innings). The Blazers season ends at 14-9.
Auburn Mountainview pitcher Delene Colburn held the Blazers to three hits in a winner-to-state, loser-out game, and also went 2-for-3 with a triple as the Lions offense scored 11 runs of its 16 runs in the first inning. Against Enumclaw, Timberline took a 2-0 first-inning lead before Enumclaw had an 7-2 advantage after two innings. Ellie Jones, Krista Jones and Aundrea Temple combined for four of the Blazers seven hits against the Hornets.