Madison Cathcart’s two-run home run in the first inning briefly gave R.A. Long the lead. It had been quite some time since anyone held an advantage over the W.F. West fastpitch team in district play.
How would the Bearcats respond?
With plenty of pop.
Roni Braun hit a three-run home run and added a two-run triple as W.F. West scored 16 consecutive runs to hammer the Lumberjacks, 16-3, in five innings in the semifinals of the 2A Southwest Washington District tournament at Borst Park in Centralia on Thursday.
W.F. West, champion of the 2A Evergreen Conference, will look to successfully defend its district crown Friday at 6 p.m. against 2A Greater Saint Helens League champion Woodland, which needed six innings to dispatch Tumwater, 11-0, in the other semifinal.
The Bearcats (18-3) have won six consecutive games, outscoring opponents a combined 77-8 over that stretch. They have been just as impressive over the past two years at the district tournament, holding a gaudy 54-7 advantage in runs scored while going 5-0.
One of those five victories came in last year’s district title game, where W.F. West blasted Capital, 14-0.
“This team just comes together once the playoffs roll around,” said Braun, whose three-run homer helped the Bearcats defeat Ridgefield, 5-0, in the opening round. “We’re definitely not intimidated out there.”
It was quite the opposite against R.A. Long (16-5) with W.F. West playing the role of bully.
Trailing 2-0, the Bearcats scored two runs in the bottom of the first to tie it, then simply went on a tear with eight runs in the second, one in the third and five in the fourth.
“We’ve really been hitting the ball well,” W.F. West coach Mike Keen said. “It’s not just one player. We’ve been getting it from everyone. You can’t pitch around anyone in this lineup because they all seem to be hot right now.”
The top three finishers at the district tournament earn a spot in the state playoffs — W.F. West and Woodland already are guaranteed two of the slots.
Gracey Trice highlighted Woodland’s five-run fourth with a two-run single before capping the scoring with a two-run double in the fifth.
Tumwater’s two hits – both singles – were a far cry from what the T-Birds (12-8) did in their first-round game against Hockinson — an 11-1 victory in six innings.
Aubri Burmood sparked the T-Birds’ offense with a two-run homer in the fifth inning to increase the lead to 9-1.
Tumwater will play crosstown rival Black Hills in a loser-out game at 4 p.m. Friday. The T-Birds won all three regular season meetings against the Wolves.
Black Hills lost to R.A. Long, 3-0, in the first round but kept its state dreams alive with a 4-2 win over Ridgefield.
The Wolves (7-15) held their own against the Lumberjacks, taking a scoreless game into the sixth inning, where R.A. Long posted all four of its runs by opening the inning with four consecutive hits, including a three-run single from Jessica Flanagan.
R.A. Long will play Rochester in the other loser-out game.
The Warriors lost to Woodland, 7-5, in the first round after leading 2-0 and 3-2, then defeated Hockinson, 6-5.