LACEY — It was clear early on this would be no pitchers’ duel.
There has been no shortage of thrilling fastpitch battles between crosstown rivals Timberline and North Thurston the past few seasons, but this one might have been the best. At the very least, it certainly was the wildest.
Megan Porche ripped a walk-off single Wednesday, scoring Aundrea Temple to put the finishing touches on the Blazers’ 18-17 victory over the Rams in a matchup of the top two squads in the 3A Narrows League at the Regional Athletic Complex.
Timberline (5-4 overall, 5-0 3A Narrows) saw a six-run lead evaporate as North Thurston scored 12 consecutive runs at one point to build its own six-run advantage.
No lead was safe, however, as the Blazers scored four runs in the fifth and the sixth innings and three in the seventh to pull off the comeback.
“This always seems to be the case when we play each other,” said Timberline coach Charles Porche, whose daughter drove in the winning run. “Last year, we lost to them in extra innings. This year, we were able to pull it out with some big hits at the end.”
Megan Porche, one of seven players to get three or more hits in the game, followed up Grace Utto-Galarneau’s two-run double by driving in her fourth run, which
proved to be the game-winner.
“Grace made things easy for me by getting that double,” said Porche, who went 3-for-4. “I just wanted to make contact. I knew anything that got past the infield would win it for us.”
A sharply hit line drive to left did just that.
Brooklyn Taylor-Sparks picked up the victory, pitching 1 scoreless innings, including a 1-2-3 seventh, with one strikeout.
The two teams combined for 38 hits, and the final tally could have been far greater as Timberline stranded 13 runners on base while North Thurston (7-3, 4-1) left eight.
“Both teams hit the ball great today,” North Thurston coach Pat Dahl said. “Timberline has hitters up and down their lineup, and I was very pleased with how we played offensively. It’s tough to lose, but just a fun game to be a part of.”
Utto-Galarneau hit a three-run home run in the fifth and finished with six RBIs, while teammate Rylee Payton drove in three runs.
The Blazers also got four hits from Krista Jones.
North Thurston was equally impressive at the plate, smacking 18 hits — four of which were homers from Aaliyah Kautz, Dominique Greeno, Saralyn Campbell and Dejah Hickman.
Greeno, Campbell, Cierra Davis, Raynie Ehret and Kautz all had three hits for North Thurston. Kautz drove in four runs.
Temple scored five times for the Blazers, the first coming after her two-run homer in the bottom of the first that opened the scoring.
Timberline pushed three runners across in the first and four in the second for a 7-1 lead.
Back charged the Rams, scoring four in the third and seven in the fourth.
“The big thing for me was seeing the girls respond being down six runs early on against a very good team,” Dahl said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had that many home runs in a game.”
Greeno led off the fifth with a solo shot. Back-to-back doubles from Greeno and Campbell pushed North Thurston’s lead to 16-11 before Davis, who got the loss while pitching a complete game, made it 17-11 on her RBI in the sixth.
After scoring four in the fifth, highlighted by Maria Velez-Kraft’s two-run triple, Timberline added four more runs in the sixth before securing the win with a three-run seventh.
“Our motto this year is, ‘One at a time,’ ” Charles Porche said. “That’s what we talked about in the dugout when we were down. Just get one hit at a time. This is a big win for us.”