After playing 17 grueling innings in two games Sunday, 11 softball all-stars from Camas stood in fourth place at the Little League Washington state tournament in Oak Harbor.
“It’s amazing that they played that many innings. If you saw them on the field during that time, you never would have known,” said manager Rochelle Gittings. “It was warm, but they never dropped their heads. They were in the game on every pitch. They never gave up. They wanted to win.”
Camas started off the day by defeating South Hill 1-0 in a 10-inning classic. Samantha Gittings pitched all 10 innings and collected 10 strikeouts. Coach Gittings said the Camas girls played clutch defense, stranded their opponents on base and threw a runner out at home plate after the game stretched into extra innings.
Gracie Buzzell led off the bottom of the 10th for Camas, and put the ball in play. The throw to first base sailed out of bounds and Buzzell moved all the way over to third. South Hill intentionally walked the next two batters to create a force at every base. After South Hill got Buzzell out at home, Candice Owen hit the ball on the ground to the pitcher and Reagan Jamison beat the throw home to score the winning run for Camas.
“I might not remember everything that happened in that tournament, but I will never forget that 10-innning game,” Gittings said. “It was the game of a lifetime.”
Camas had to turn right around and play another loser out game Sunday. Northeast Seattle scored five runs in the first two innings. Samantha Gittings came in to pitch the third and fourth innings in relief. She struck out four batters, while Camas scored four runs in the third and one in the fourth to tie the score at 5-5.
Gittings reached her inning limit, as Camas played into their second extra inning contest of the day. Seattle scored a run in the top of the seventh to reclaim the lead, 5-4, and Camas couldn’t answer back in the bottom half.
“The friendships these girls have surpasses any outcome or any championship,” said coach Gittings. “It’s not just a game. That’s not what it’s all about. Softball is a big part of it, but there are so many life lessons and so many friendships to be had.”
These Camas girls have won three district championships. They clinched second place at state in 2016 and finished in fourth place at state Sunday.
“I truly love these girls and their families,” Gittings said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better group. We are thankful to have that opportunity.”