Team chemistry is key for Tigers first-place position in 4A GSHL
A week ago, Battle Ground softball coach Arielle Wiser gave a confident statement regarding her team.
“If we play our best all the way through league, we should win league,” Wiser said. “That’s not to be cocky. If they stay focused in practice, keep playing the way they have been playing, there is no doubt in my mind we can do it.”
Three more wins later, the Tigers sit at 7-0 in the 4A Greater St. Helens League, a two-game lead over Skyview, a team Battle Ground has already topped twice this season.
Earlier in the week, we had notes on every Clark County high school baseball team.
Today, it’s time for softball.
We will start with Battle Ground’s strong season to date, get to Mountain View incredible breakthrough season in the 3A GSHL, and check in on the competitive 2A GSHL, led by defending state champion Woodland.
This year’s Tigers are rallying together off the field, too.
“I’m impressed with the amount of chemistry we have,” said Grace Stillman, noting that this varsity squad has not been together for too long with two seniors, four juniors and a bunch of sophomores and freshmen.
“We’re always hanging out with each other,” added Brianna Adams. “If we see each other in the hallways, we’re always saying hi.”
Wiser has been stressing team-building activities.
Stillman said the team dinners have brought everyone closer.
Adams said her favorite memory of this season so far was the road trip to Gig Harbor. The non-league win helped the record, of course, but the traveling was a big boost to team morale. Until the postseason, that is the only game on the schedule outside of Clark County for the Tigers.
On the field, the bats have been leading the way. Wiser said the lineup is solid, one through nine. And the pitchers are doing their jobs, hitting their spots, relying on the defense to back them.
Stillman said the Tigers lineup is unpredictable. So many have power, but they also have speed. There could be a shot to the gap for a double or a triple, or a bunt single.
“And any time we start an inning, no matter where we are in the lineup, we can get it going,” Adams said.
The Tigers hope to keep it going, all the way to Spokane for the Class 4A state tournament.
Battle Ground (11-4, 7-0 4A GSHL)
Stillman leads the team with three home runs. She is hitting .419 and has driven in 15 runs and scored 18. Adams is hitting .389 and also has driven in 15 runs. Alexis Laizure also has double-digit RBI totals. Emma Elliott has scored 19 runs and Kelly Monaghan has scored 17.
From the pitching circle, Mallory Meyer is getting most of the work. She has 75 strikeouts in 60.2 innings pitched.
Skyview (8-5, 5-2)
The Storm went old-school softball Wednesday, earning a 1-0 win over Camas in a battle for second place in the league. Addi MacPherson struck out seven in her two-hit shutout. Izzy Lafata had the key hit, driving in the game’s only run.
In all seven of their other wins, the Storm have scored six or more runs.
In the three previous wins, nine different players drove in at least one run. MacPherson has a grand slam in that stretch. Mikelle Anthony had a 3-RBI game and a four-run game. Also in that stretch, Lauren Johnson has hit a home run, Lafata has four RBIs, and Averie Sievers has driven in two runs and had a three-hit, three-run game.
Camas (9-5, 3-4)
The Papermakers just missed out on tying Skyview in the loss column for second place with that 1-0 loss Wednesday. Still, the Papermakers have five league games remaining.
They will look to their leaders to help them down the stretch:
Marley Foster is hitting .452 with 13 RBIs and 14 runs scored. Katelin Hancock is batting .441 and has scored 17 runs. Amelia Wong is hitting .400 and has scored 13 times. Emma Carrol is at .385 with 13 runs scored.
Union (8-7, 2-5)
Kaelani Gamble is having a monster season at the plate for the Titans, driving in 20 runs in the first 14 games. She had back-to-back 4-RBI games in league play. Oh, and she is 23 of 46 — a .500 average.
Brianna Fehrer, Lauren Cockrell, and Piper McKibben all have driven in 10 or more runs, as well.
Five Titans have scored at least 10 runs, led by Schelby Greene’s 16. Union has scored 116 runs in 14 games.
Heritage (4-12, 1-7)
There have not been a lot of wins for the Timberwolves, but clearly a big highlight was a 4-3 win over Union. The Titans average better than 10 runs per game. This one went extra innings. The Titans took the lead in the top of the eight, but Heritage responded with two runs to walk it off.
Breanna Arambula had the hit to tie the game, and later Larissa Villa scored on an error for the victory.
Makenzie Misner struck out four and gave up one earned run in that game for the Timberwolves.
Earlier this season, Paige Kirby drove in seven runs in a four-hit game, which included a home run.
Two years ago, Mountain View finished 4-6 in league play. Last year, the Thunder went 7-3, took second, three games out of first place. This season, the Thunder are undefeated in league at 9-0. They have a two-game lead for first place with six games to play.
The team is going with T.E.A.M., according to Mountain View coach Ashleigh Byrne. As in: Together. Everyone. Achieves. More.
“We have so much unity and trust that we all work together for the same cause,” Byrne said.
The Thunder understand if one player has a rough at-bat, the next teammate will step up and get the job done.
“It takes the pressure off, and we’re able to stay relaxed, have fun, and just play our game,” the coach said.
The goal for the Thunder is to win the league and advance to state through the bi-district tournament.
“I know we have more in us, and I am excited to see them unleash it,” Byrne said.
Mountain View (13-1, 9-0 GSHL)
The only loss was a close game to defending Class 2A state champion Woodland. So, yes, Mountain View is for real.
Sydney Brown has a team-high three home runs and 16 RBIs to lead the offense. She also is crushing it from the pitching circle with 111 strikeouts in 61 innings to go with a 1.26 earned run average.
Five players: Nae Nae Urquhart, Maelyn Ocampo, Serena Fogg, Mary Fogg, and Hailey Paull have double digits in RBIs and runs scored. All are hitting .389 or better.
Jocelyn Ocampo, Tenley Winters, and Waverly Iverson each have driven in double-digit runs, as well.
Prairie (8-6, 7-3)
The Falcons went 1-1 against Kelso last week to remain in third place in the league.
Olivia Meyers struck out 11 in that win over the Hilanders. She also drove in a run that game, which went extra innings.
In fact, Prairie scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to erase a two-run deficit. Mallory Williams tied the game with the bat, then eventually scored the winning run on a wild pitch.
Earlier in the season, Madison Graham provided a big highlight with a grand slam, hitting out of the No. 9 spot.
Alysia Fraley had a seven-RBI game in league play. She hit two home runs that day, including a grand slam.
Fraley also hit a home run in the non-league rivalry win over Battle Ground. That victory shows Prairie’s potential. Battle Ground is alone in first place in the 4A GSHL.
Evergreen (3-6, 4-6)
Alli Bailey, Dakota Piovesan, and Kate Sagendorf are crushing the ball this season for the Plainsmen. Sagendorf is batting .512 to go with a team-high 14 RBIs. Bailey and Piovesan each have two home runs. Both are hitting better than .400, too. Emma Lopez is batting .441 and has scored a team-high 19 runs.
Fort Vancouver (2-10, 1-7)
Small victories are big at Fort Vancouver. The Trappers have a couple of wins and they also did something that has not been done in at least four seasons: A home run was hit by a Trapper. Abigail Ayala-Cordova got to trot around the bases after going yard in a game vs. Prairie.
Maranda Sumner is hitting .346 and has driven in six runs. Camryn Jurcich is hitting .314. And Mackenzie Welch-Sandford is batting .310 with a team-high seven RBIs.
Hudson’s Bay Eagles (0-13, 0-9)
The Eagles have had a few highlights despite the tough season on the scoreboard.
Erica Morley is hitting .420 and has two doubles to go with six stolen bases. Elizabeth Deloria is hitting .386 and has nine stolen bases.
It is tough to say Woodland and pitcher Olivia Grey are better than the hype because, let’s be honest, there was a whole lotta hype coming into this season. The Beavers won the state championship a year ago and return one of the best pitchers in the state, at any classification. And as featured earlier this season, the Woodland offense is incredible, too.
Guess that is why Woodland improved to 12-0 overall on Wednesday, 6-0 in the 2A GSHL.
But also as noted earlier this season, it is not a runaway. Ridgefield has a talented group that is looking to take down Woodland. Ridgefield is a game out of first place.
“Our goal all along was to get back to state,” Woodland coach Tom Christensen said. “Winning league would put us in the best position to do that. But winning our league takes playing your best every night. That’s something I know we are capable of, as long as we don’t get complacent. So far, so good.”
Woodland (12-0, 6-0 2A GSHL)
The Beavers have outscored their opponents 88-2.
And those two? Unearned runs.
Yes, Olivia Grey has not given up an earned run.
She has 179 strikeouts in 74 innings.
On offense, the Beavers spread the love around throughout the lineup.
Kaily Christensen is batting .605 with 10 extra-base hits and 10 RBIs. Kelly Sweyer drove in four runs in a win over third-place Hockinson on Wednesday, giving her 12 RBIs for the season. She is batting .486. Carleigh Risley has driven in 13 runs and scored 12 runs. Gwen Elkinton got to double-digit RBI totals with four against the Hawks on Wednesday. Yes, that was two players who drove in four runs in one game against a quality opponent.
The Beavers have it going their way right now.
Ridgefield (11-3, 6-1)
The Spudders, though, still believe they can get to the top of the standings. A year ago, Woodland and Ridgefield split the season series. The two teams meet again May 3.
Kaia Oliver has 102 strikeouts in 63 innings with a 0.67 earned run average.
Kekai Schultz and Lily Mittmann are crushing the ball. Both are hitting better than .400 and both have a team-high three home runs. Schultz has driven in 15 and scored 13 runs. Mittmann has 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored. Together, 22 of their 29 hits have gone for extra bases.
Sarah Jenkins is hitting .359 and has scored 11 runs.
Hockinson (10-3, 4-2)
The Hawks had lost two in a row in league play against the superpowers before getting a win Thursday. Yet, they are feeling they are just behind those top squads. In the four league wins, they have outscored their opponents 41-8.
Abby Runyon has 27 strikeouts and no earned runs in those three wins.
Oh and one of those wins was a 2-0 victory that was scoreless through seven innings. Runyon went the distance.
Ashley King had a huge day in one of those league wins, going 4 for 5 with three runs and four RBIs. Also in that game, Lilly Seal had a four-hit game that included three doubles. Ellie Skinner and Addison Penner each drove in three runs.
In another league win, Penner had two doubles and drove in five runs.
Columbia River (2-10, 1-5)
It has been a struggle for the Chieftains this season in regard to the win-loss record. But a closer look shows they are not far off from a few more wins. River lost league games by one run and two runs. They also were within two runs in a non-league game against 4A GSHL leader Battle Ground. They lost by one run to Class 4A Union as well.
The River bats unleashed their frustration in the team’s lone league win. Lillian Franke drove in four runs, and JayCee Williams and Emma Klundt each drove in three runs.
Washougal (2-10, 0-5)
While it is not much fun going winless in league so far, the Panthers did score 41 runs in their two non-league wins. That eases the pain a bit.
Audrey Thompson is batting .455 and has scored nine runs. Paige Hungerford also has scored nine runs. Sarah Jones leads the team in RBIs and extra-base hits.
Castle Rock has a commanding lead in the loss column.
La Center (7-7, 5-4)
The Wildcats opened the Trico League season with three consecutive wins. First-place and undefeated Castle Rock would end up getting the Wildcats three times. And La Center then beat King’s Way Christian in two of three games.
In La Center’s two wins over the Knights, Jocelyn Blankenship drove in a total of four runs. Ceanna Johnston and Coral Clark each hit home runs in the first game of the series, driving in two runs apiece.
King’s Way Christian (4-5, 3-2)
Tyra Schroeder made school history earlier this season, becoming the first King’s Way Christian Knight to hit a home run in a softball game.
The Knights also have a signature win, taking one of three games in a series against traditional power La Center. In that victory, Sophia Nelson went 5 for 5 and drove in six runs. She, too, hit a home run.
The Knights have won three in a row.