Riding high after victories against Ridgefield and Woodland, the Washougal High School softball players felt sick to their stomachs after dropping a close game to Hockinson at home Monday.
The Hawks took advantage of a few wild pitches that bounced beyond home plate and allowed their runners to score from third base. Kayla Lagerquist slugged a 2-run home run for Washougal in the fifth inning and pitched all seven innings in 80-degree heat, but Hockinson held on for a 4-2 win to remain undefeated in league play.
“We’re excited that we’re playing fairly consistent softball,” said Washougal head coach John Carver. “We’re contending in every game. Any time you get to the seventh inning and the game still matters, that’s what we want.”
The seventh inning mattered for the Panthers in their last three ballgames. Paige Forsberg held Woodland to one hit in seven innings of a 2-1 victory for Washougal. That one hit was a home run with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“I had good defense. It wasn’t just my pitching,” Forsberg said. “Being up 1-0 in the first inning and adding another run in the seventh helped me go after the hitters.”
Forsberg helped herself out by earning that first inning run on aggressive base running. She stole second, advanced to third and scored on a couple of passed balls.
Josalyn Godwin added an insurance run for Washougal on a sacrifice fly. That turned out to be a difference maker after the Woodland home run in the bottom of the seventh.
The Panthers outlasted Ridgefield 4-2 Wednesday, in Washougal. Lagerquist knocked in the tying run and scored the winning run on her 17th birthday.
“It wasn’t about me out there. It was about keeping going and finishing it out,” she said. “I’m just very proud to be a part of this family. We just fought the whole time and never let our guard down.”
Hannah Topps led off the sixth inning with a walk. Lagerquist drilled a pitch in between the center and right fielders and the ball rolled all the way to the fence. Topps sprinted around third and beat the throw home for the tying run. Morgan Ratcliff executed a perfect bunt that allowed Lagerquist to score the leading run.
“I knew I needed to get that bunt down, because their corners were playing a ways back, and I knew there was a big chance we would both be safe,” Ratcliff said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my team for keeping their heads in the game and staying up the whole time. Last year, we struggled with keeping our heads up when we fell behind, but we have grown a lot with each other and we are all beginning to compliment each other in every aspect of the game.”