LACEY — It was a rare scene for Quinn Breidenbach – top of the first inning, bases loaded with one out Friday.
“I just couldn’t figure the ball out,” said Breidenbach, Enumclaw’s sophomore pitching sensation.
Yes, it was foreign territory for the undefeated Hornets, but that hardly means they were rattled.
Breidenbach pitched out of the first-inning jam and later homered, powering Enumclaw to a 13-2 victory over University in the Class 3A state fastpitch quarterfinals at the Regional Athletic Complex.
The Hornets (27-0) will face Glacier Peak (17-8) in one semifinal matchup Saturday, while two-time defending state champion Kamiakin (22-2) squares off against Shadle Park (20-4) in the other.
Both games start at 9 a.m. with the winners playing for the state title at 3:30 p.m.
Enumclaw entered the tournament as the favorite and did little to tarnish that reputation against the Titans, a semifinalist from last year.
After University loaded the bases, Breidenbach got Hannah Wesselman to hit into a double play, ending the threat.
“I actually enjoy being in pressure situations,” Breidenbach said. “We know coming in here we have a big target on us.”
The Hornets followed with an avalanche of runs, posting a 12-0 lead through the third inning.
Chloe Young’s RBI single started the scoring onslaught in the first inning. Madelyn Carlson and Becky Forza each drove in a run, helping the Hornets to a 3-0 advantage.
Breidenbach, who finished with four RBIs, added a three-run home run in the second, and Enumclaw pushed five runs across in the third to put the game out of reach.
“I think we had a little bit of nerves in our first game,” said Breidenbach, who also homered in the Hornets’ 10-4 win over Holy Names in their opener Friday. “Once we got going, we were just out there having fun.”
Glacier Peak has made the most of its first state-playoff appearance.
The Grizzlies knocked off last year’s runner-up Prairie, 5-4, in the first round before beating Juanita, 5-2, in the quarterfinals.
“We didn’t really know what to expect coming in here,” said Glacier Peak coach Caitlin Nies, who, as Caitlin Noble, pitched for the University of Washington from 2005-08. “I couldn’t be more happy. No one on our team has any state playoff experience.”
The same can’t be said for Kamiakin.
Seeking to become the first program in the 3A classification to win three consecutive titles, the Braves beat Liberty, 12-6, in the opening round and Ferndale, 9-2, in the quarterfinals.
“We just keep hitting the ball,” Braves coach Tim Bisson said. “Once we get to this point of the season, the players just seem to know it’s game on.”
The Braves scored four in the second against the Golden Eagles, who were making their first trip to the state playoffs since 1992.
Melanie Oord went 3-for-4 with three RBIs for Kamiakin, and freshman Emiley Moore struck out six.
Since the state’s inception of fastpitch in 1992, only two programs – 1A Connell (2011-13) and 1B Colton (2009-13) – have won three consecutive state crowns.
Kamiakin will first have to get by Shadle Park in the semifinals to even have a chance at making history.
The Highlanders advanced by defeating Mountain View, 5-4, and Bonney Lake, 5-1.
Shadle Park scored two runs in both the second and fifth innings against the Panthers.
Freshman Jaya Allen had a pair of hits and drove in a run. Teammate Brittany Gately went 3-for-4.
“(Kamiakin) is the team everyone wants to play,” said Shadle Park senior Berkley Fisher, who homered in the win over Mountain View. “We now have that chance.”