Winning a league championship has been a rallying cry for the Camas softball team all season long.
On Monday, they captured that elusive title for the first time in 10 years.
“I don’t think words can describe how amazing it feels,” said senior center fielder Cali Mulholland. “It really shows how much hard work pays off. It wasn’t always easy, but our love for the game kept us going. Everybody on this team has the passion. You can see it when we step out on the field.”
The Papermakers showed plenty of desire Monday, and defeated Kelso 2-1 for their first league title since 2002.
Lead off hitter Amee Aarhus got the bats going to a bunt base hit in the third inning. After stealing second base and advancing to third on a wild pitch, Aarhus scored the first run of the game on an infield hit by Lena Richards.
“For only being a sophomore, seeing the seniors so excited made it all worth it to me,” Richards said. “I’m happy I could take part in it by driving in a run.”
Aarhus added a double in the fifth inning. Mikalea Searight knocked her in with a double.
“After years of having potential, we finally executed,” Searight said. “It would be a shame to regress now. We want to keep striving forward and set a precedence of excellence for every Camas softball player to follow into the future.”
Winning pitcher Sarah Nidick racked up eight strikeouts through five innings. She gave up a run in the sixth inning on back-to-back doubles, but then Harli Hubbard came in and struck out the next three batters. Hubbard shut the door in the seventh on a strikeout and two ground outs.
“We were all excited for this opportunity to play Kelso at home for the league title,” said head coach Ken Nidick. “I couldn’t be more proud as a coach. These girls are true teammates for each other.”
Camas (16-3) advances to the district championship game Friday, at Kelso High School.
“A league title is great, but the greater prize is that district championship,” Nidick said. “Our pitching was great in this game. We’ve had other games with good hitting and defense, but we haven’t been able to put all three phases together in a game. When we do, we are going to be tough to beat.”