Four Camas girls lead team to nationals
Something Special sparkled on the softball diamond during the Washington State ASA state championship tournament July 12 to 14, in Yakima.
Camas players Emma Jimenez, Lena Richards, Katie Schroeder and Rio Smith helped this U-16 team win six games on the final day of the tournament.
Something Special defeated the Northwest Lady Sharks 8-7 at 8 a.m., the Vancouver Force 3-2 at 10 a.m., the Northwest Illusion 6-3 at noon, the Northwest Sidewinders 10-2 at 2 p.m. and Elite Fastpitch 8-7 at 4 p.m.
“We had already lost a state championship this year. We were not about to lose another one. This was our time to do something,” Richards said. “What made it a team effort is every single girl on the team did their part to help us win.”
Something Special and Elite Fastpitch squared off one more time in the championship game at 6 p.m. The game went into extra innings tied 1-1. Elite Fastpitch gained a 2-1 lead in the top of the eighth inning, but Kennedy Suhr delivered a clutch hit in the bottom of the inning to tie the game back up.
Jimenez started the bottom of the ninth inning on second base. She advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Koratney Speidel. After Jimenez stepped on home plate, she just stood there in disbelief.
“To have my team run out and celebrate with me after such a long day was just crazy,” she said. “There was so much energy. It really brought us closer together.”
Something Special enters the ASA National tournament July 29 to Aug. 4, in Sunnyvale, Calif. Richards remembers the words of wisdom from head coach Scott Jimenez.
“He said, ‘we finally won the state title, but we’re not done yet,’” Richards recalled. “This is a special time in all our lives. We have to pick each other up and help each other accomplish our goals.”
Richards and Emma Jimenez have been chasing this dream on the same team together for nine years. They would love to be playing in the championship bracket of the national tournament.
“We’ve been building up to this for a long time. We have the coaches and the teammates to be there for us in times of need,” Jimenez said. “We’re a close family. Everybody is there to pick each other up. It’s a great experience.”
“You don’t stay on the same team for nine years if you don’t have something special,” Richards added.
The “Something Special” family has endured through generations. Jimenez said her great-grandfather (Fred), grandfather (Ted) and father (Scott) have all coached the team.
“The name is close to my heart. It’s my go-to. It’s been in my family for years,” she said. “I hope I can carry it on.”