Let this sink in. The Yelm High School softball team hasn’t lost a game since May — of last year.
And the Tornados haven’t lost a league game since April — of 2015.
Yelm locked up the Class 3A South Sound Conference title on Monday at home, shutting out Gig Harbor, 2-0.
This is the second consecutive season the Tornados (19-0, 14-0 3A SSC) have finished league play with a perfect record. They were undefeated in the 4A Narrows League last year.
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After finishing a game short of placing at the 4A state tournament a season ago, the Tornados are ready to make noise in the 3A playoffs.
“I know we’re going to have some good competition,” Yelm infielder Jaeden Ells said. “I think we know that, as we go through those games, we’re going to get better.”
And, hopefully, another long playoff run will end with a state title.
“It’s not going to be easy, but we definitely have a very good chance,” Ells said.
Yelm again proved its worth and depth on Monday.
Ells, a junior, cranked a solo home run in the bottom of the first to give the Tornados a lead they never lost.
She pulled an 0-2 fastball from Gig Harbor ace Jordan Adams over the left-field fence.
“It was a nice little pump-up,” Ells said.
The early run gave Yelm ace, junior Drea Schwaier, some room to work. Schwaier (10-0, 0.48 ERA) responded with another dominant outing.
She allowed one hit and two walks in seven scoreless frames. Schwaier, a Whitworth commit, struck out 11 batters.
“I was coming in with the same mentality as I went in to the Bonney Lake game — to shut the batters down,” Schwaier said.
Gig Harbor (13-5, 12-2) managed four base runners — three times to lead off an inning — and advanced two of them into scoring position, but Schwaier coolly kept the Tides out of reach.
“I remain calm and I try to hit my spots as best as I can,” Schwaier said. “I know if I hit my spots, my defense will be there for me and they’ll be able to get the out if I can’t. That’s what I rely on.”
The Tornados were able to squeeze an insurance run out of Adams in the sixth.
Ally Choate, The Olympian’s 2016 All-Area player of the year, hit a one-out triple over the left fielder’s head. MacKinzee Moore then drove Choate in on a single up the middle.
Adams recorded the loss, despite giving up just the two runs in six innings of work. She allowed four hits and struck out 10.
“She pitched a beauty,” Gig Harbor coach Kara Dressel said. “We gave up one big one, and it just happened that was enough.
“We have to come out and capitalize when we get runners on second, and we just couldn’t do that.”
The two programs could see each other as early as Friday at the 3A SSC tournament. Yelm is the No. 1 seed entering the tournament and Gig Harbor is No. 2.
Yelm has a first-round bye, and will play for a trip to the tournament title game at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.
“We’re not going to underestimate anybody we’ve already played, even though we are undefeated,” Schwaier said. “We’re going in with the same mentality every single game, no matter what the team is.”
La Center 8, Tenino 6: Down five runs with three outs remaining, the Beavers rallied but couldn’t quite complete the comeback at Rochester High School.
Spencer Brewer hit a triple for Tenino and Riley Wright was hit by a pitch before Robbie Wall drove both in on a one-out double.
Dalton Chambers hit a long sacrifice fly to score Wall and trim the lead to two runs, but that’s as close as the Beavers got.
Tenino (7-10) plays 1A Evergreen Conference rival Elma (5-11) at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Rochester in a loser-out game.
The Beavers won two of the three regular-season meetings.
King’s Way Christian 11, Elma 1: Colten French scored on an error in the top of the first to give the Eagles an early lead, but the Knights (17-2) quickly erased it at Castle Rock High School.
Liam Nabors and Isaiah Parker hit back-to-back singles in the second to give the Knights a 2-1 lead they never lost.
King’s Way Christian, which won the 1A Trico League, scored three runs apiece in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to seal the win.
Damon Stubbs pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings for the Knights, allowing one hit and two walks, while striking out 12.