Beavers get past Ridgefield 2-0 in 2A GSHL battle
RIDGEFIELD — Kelly Sweyer was sprinting to home plate and could see the catcher getting ready to field the ball.
It was going to be close.
“I’m doing everything I can in my power to get to the (plate),” Sweyer recalled thinking Thursday afternoon.
What happened after that was “a lot of emotion,” she added.
“It was hard to hear ‘Out.’ Then our crowd started cheering,” Sweyer said. “It was just so exciting.”
Sweyer scored the go-ahead run for Woodland softball in the sixth inning after a collision at the plate jarred the ball loose for a split second. Initially ruled out, the umpire then saw the ball on the ground and called safe. The Beavers were on their way to a 2-0 victory over Ridgefield in a crucial Class 2A Greater St. Helens League (GSHL) game.
“It’s so awesome. Since the beginning of the season, this has been our goal: Take down Ridgefield,” Sweyer said.
That was said with respect, by the way. After all, Ridgefield was the lone team from the 2A GSHL to make it to state last season. And Ridgefield remains one of the best teams in the region this season.
The two teams, in fact, entered Thursday’s game at 5-0 in league play. This was a make-up of the regularly scheduled game from the first round of the GSHL schedule. The Beavers and Spudders will play again Wednesday in yet another big game.
Olivia Grey of Woodland outdueled Kaia Oliver of Ridgefield in this one. Grey got the shutout and struck out 14 as the Beavers improved to 12-0 overall.
“I knew my defense had my back no matter what,” Grey said. “I just had to buckle down. Ridgefield is a great team. We’re neck and neck.”
Grey said she is club teammates with several members of Ridgefield’s squad.
“It’s like a little sibling rivalry. They’re great players,” Grey said. “Today we were able to play better.”
The Beavers celebrated this win, and this win only. They know they did not win the league title with this victory. In fact, the league schedule is only half over for the 2A GSHL.
Still, it was a matchup of teams with a combined overall record of 21-1. It was a rivalry game. And the weather was perfect, bringing out a big crowd.
Kailey Christensen got the double that allowed Sweyer to score from first base.
“I just wanted a base hit. I just wanted to try to get that run in,” she said. “It was so exciting. Can’t describe the feeling. We worked so hard for this. Good to see what we can do.”
The Beavers would add a run in the frame on a run-scoring double from Maddi Bunger for the two-run lead. More than enough for Grey, who, according to the team’s GameChanger site, has not given up an earned run this season.
For now, Woodland is atop the standings. While there are other games between now and Wednesday’s rematch, don’t be surprised to see Ridgefield and Woodland playing with first place on the line again.