The Papermakers left everything on the diamond during the slowpitch softball district championship game Monday, at Heritage High School.
Kamryn Schroeder, Tori O’Neill and Emma Jimenez led off the top of the seventh inning with back-to-back-to-back hits to load the bases. Rio Smith added an RBI single, Katie Schroeder delivered a 3-run double and McKinley Johnson knocked in a run on a ground out. Abbi Wong and Kennedy Ferguson kept the rally alive with 2-out base hits, but the next Papermaker grounded out to end the game. Skyview held on for a 12-10 victory.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” Katie Schroeder said. “Especially in that last inning. We showed a lot of heart.”
“It’s just awesome how we all came together and fought til the end,” Johnson added. “It’s a good way to start off the senior year.”
Skyview took advantage of a couple of bobbles in the infield by Camas in the bottom of the third inning and broke the game wide open by scoring four runs. Camas answered with two runs in the top of the fifth. Kamryn Schroeder earned a leadoff walk, Smith moved her over to third base with a double and Katie Schroeder drove them both home with a double.
“Our girls don’t quit. That’s not in their makeup,” said head coach Ken Nidick. “Whether it’s slowpitch or fastpitch, we will fight to the bitter end.”
Johnson started off the sixth inning with a double, but the Papermakers couldn’t bring her home. The Storm loaded the bases to begin the bottom of the sixth. Camas caught a fly ball in the outfield and doubled the runner off second base. The next Skyview batter nailed a home run.
Camas and Skyview finished tied for first place in league with 13-1 records. The Papermakers defeated Union in the semifinals 12-1 Monday, while Skyview took care of Heritage. This set the stage for the two best teams to clash one more time for the championship.
“This was the most fun I ever had playing a high school sport,” Katie Schroeder said. “It was so laid back, but competitive at the same time. Everybody still wanted to win.”
Nidick said the next step for this sport to evolve is to reach out to the Spokane slowpitch teams and come up with ideas to expand the playoff format. He said the Spokane schools have been playing slowpitch for 10 years.
“We would love to be able to extend this out so the girls have something more to play for,” Nidick said. “This was a great beginning for a new program. We want to build on this success and hope the other schools do the same.
“It’s just a fun game for these girls, as it should be,” he added. “This is a lifelong sport they can play.”