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Ranger fastpitch team makes 10th straight trip to championships

Posted 5/25/22

Following a convincing win against Muckleshoot and a barnburner with Darrington, the Quilcene girls fastpitch softball team is heading to the 2022 1B State Fastpitch Softball …

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Ranger fastpitch team makes 10th straight trip to championships

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Following a convincing win against Muckleshoot and a barnburner with Darrington, the Quilcene girls fastpitch softball team is heading to the 2022 1B State Fastpitch Softball Championships.

It’s the 10th straight trip to state for the Rangers.

Quilcene will face the Inchelium Warriors in their first game of the tournament Friday at Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima.

The Rangers advanced through the playoffs by knocking out Muckleshoot 17-2 in a four-inning contest last week.

Quilcene then went the distance against the Loggers, finishing in front by one run, 14-13.

“One of the most exciting finishes I have been a part of,” said Quilcene Coach Mark Thompson. 

“I am so proud of these young ladies, they have worked hard and have earned everything they’ve gotten,” he said.

Against Muckleshoot, the game quickly went Quilcene’s way as the girls got two hits on the first two pitches of the game.

The Rangers strung together nine runs in the first inning against the Kings.

Ten out of the first 11 Ranger batters reached base by hit, with the one batter who didn’t hitting a sacrifice RBI.

The big hit in the first came from Teagan Graunke, who slammed a three-run RBI double.

Then, in the second inning, Savannah McBride extended the Ranger lead with a three-RBI triple.

Kayla Ward went all four innings in the circle (with 15 runs after three innings being the rule). She struck out five King batters while only surrendering two hits.

“A really good win for us,” Thompson said.

“Muckleshoot has come a long ways in the last couple of years and we needed to play well,” he added.

By the numbers, McBride went 4-for-4 with a triple, three runs, and two RBIs. Shelby Love was 2-for-4, also with a triple, three runs, and two RBIs.

Ashley Jones finished 2-for-3 for the Rangers, while Kayla Ward was 2-for-4 at the plate.

Jayden Talley also finished 2-for-4, and added two RBIs. Emery Reimann was 3-for-3 with a triple and an RBI.

Graunke went 1-for-3 but made it count, with a double and three RBIs. Teammate Destiny Hack was 2-for-3, with three runs and an RBI.

The win on the Rangers’ home field moved Quilcene into the bi-district championship, held at Yelm High School on May 19.

Against Darrington, the Loggers cut their way to a 3-2 first inning lead, then broke it open with three more runs in the third to lead 6-3 going into the fourth.

Another three runs followed for the Loggers in the fourth inning.

Following another three-run inning for Darrington in the sixth, the Loggers were in front 12-4 before the Rangers started to rally.

Quilcene unloaded with nine runs in the inning to take a 13-12 lead. Savannah McBride, Stormie Elkins, Teagan Graunke, and Abby Ward all had RBI singles.

Darrington evened the score in the bottom of the seventh, 13-all.

Kayla Ward led off the eighth inning with a single, reaching second base on an error.

And with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Graunke launched a walk-off double to score the winning run.

Kayla Ward pitched all eight innings for Quilcene, giving up five earned runs on eight hits. She struck out 12.

“Kayla fought through,” Thompson said.

“Pitching with this game’s stress level takes massive quantities of mental and physical toughness, and that was the difference between the two pitchers today,” he said. “Kayla was still standing at the end.”

The Rangers didn’t make it easy for themselves in the bi-district championship.

Quilcene had eight errors and 10 free bases that put the Rangers in an eight-run hole.

Stat-wise, McBride went 2-for-2, with three runs and two RBIs.

Elkins was 1-for-4 with two RBIs.

Kayla Ward went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Abby Ward was 1-for-5 with an RBI.

Jayden Talley finished 1-for-4 for Quilcene with two RBIs.

Graunke was 2-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs, and Destiny Hack went 1-for-4 with a double.

The Rangers are planning to depart Quilcene for State Thursday morning. 

The first pitch against  Inchelium is noon Friday, with a second game scheduled at 4 p.m., followed by Saturday games, if necessary.

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