Washougal softball team overmatched at districts

Young Panthers are excited about the future

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Courtney Shelley fires a pitch for the Washougal softball team during the district tournament Thursday, in Centralia.

The Washougal softball team was happy to be in the district tournament for the first time in a decade, but heartbroken over the results.

“We accomplished the first goal. Now we need to make all the goals,” said junior captain Madisen Baldwin. “Getting to districts will no longer be enough. We want to make it to the second day and then on to state.”

Tumwater turned clutch hitting and aggressive base running into an 11-0 victory over the Panthers in the first round Thursday, in Centralia. R.A. Long also humbled Washougal 10-0 in a loser out game.

“Nobody wanted the season to end this way,” said head coach John Carver. “I hope these girls take any sad feelings or frustrations and use them as motivation for next season.”

Tumwater scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Washougal loaded the bases in the top of the second, but couldn’t get a runner home.

“We wanted to win, it was just simple errors and simple mistakes that cost us,” said sophomore pitcher Courtney Shelley. “We had runners on base and we were always trying to apply the pressure. We came up short in the end, but it was still a good experience.”

Washougal left fielder Brooke Wolfe crashed into a temporary fence while chasing down a towering fly ball.

“I was a couple of inches away,” Wolfe said. “It was almost in my mitt, but the fence got in my way.”

Wolfe thanked Baldwin and Brooke Croeni for their leadership as captains.

“They pushed us to this point and asked us if we wanted it or not,” Wolfe said. “I wouldn’t go through a fence if I didn’t want it.”

R.A. Long hit a 2-run home run to begin the second game against the Panthers. Despite pitching with a jammed finger, Kayla Lagerquist retired the next eight batters in a row for Washougal. R.A. Long scored four more runs on a few Panther throwing errors and never looked back.

Washougal had lost seven qualifying games into the district tournament since 2004. This one team changed everything.

“Throughout some of our most difficult seasons, the girls have stood by each other,” Carver said. “To see them get to this level and show that the program is coming back around means the world to me.”