After an early exit from the playoffs last season, the Camas High School softball team is going back to the state tournament for the third time in four years Friday and Saturday at the Merkel Sports Complex in Spokane.
It could have been over just as easily for the Papermakers following a 1-0 loss to Bellarmine Prep in the bi-district opener May 20 at Enumclaw.
Instead, Camas collected 40 hits during three five-inning, 10-run bouts against Todd Beamer, Union and South Kitsap to secure the No. 6 seed to state.
“It was an eye-opener. They didn’t want that to happen again,” said head coach Dale Lunde. “You don’t know what your team is going to do until you see it happen. They didn’t let off the gas pedal at all.”
After leaving 10 runners on base and getting shut out against Bellarmine Prep, the Papermakers scored six runs on Todd Beamer in the first inning and never looked back in a 13-1 victory. Allie Hancock and Kyli Obermiller both went 3-for-3 and combined for 5 RBI.
“Just shake it off,” Hancock said. “The first game didn’t go our way, but the next one can.”
Peyton Bates added a 3-run home run and finished the game with 4 RBI.
“Once it hits the bat, you know. The feeling you get is just great,” she said. “It’s like a sisterhood. Once you hit home plate, you know that everyone around you is there for you. It’s a big moment for all of us.”
The next day, Camas shut out Union 10-0 and then defeated South Kitsap 12-1.
Bates hit her second home run of the tournament against South Kitsap and now has five round-trippers this season. Hancock had three hits in each game.
Kennedy Ferguson pitched her heart out for the Papermakers. In 20 innings of work, she allowed no earned runs, seven hits and two walks. She also struck out 41 batters.
“This is a big tournament. This is our chance to get as far as we can,” Ferguson said. “We all feed off each other. I think that’s the best part. We don’t have a weak link in our lineup.”
Lunde said Ferguson is a “bulldog” in the pitcher’s circle. After Camas had clinched a state berth, he asked if she needed to rest her arm.
“I told her, ‘I don’t think you need to pitch this last game.’ She said, ‘Oh yes I do.'”
Camas (21-2) faces Richland (19-5) in the first round of the state tournament Friday, at 10 a.m. Woodinville (22-0) could be waiting for the Papermakers in the quarterfinals.
“Every team is going to have a good pitcher and they’re going to be swinging the bats,” Lunde said. “Top four would be a great achievement. Anything higher than that would be icing on the cake.”
Tianna Bevens, Hancock, Callie Johnson, Alexis Royal and Alyssa Tomasini want to end their senior year off with a bang before going to college.
“Everyone contributes,” Hancock said. “Someone comes up big every game. It’s fun to be part of a team like that.”
After suffering their first loss since March 30, the Papermakers proved how determined they are by pounding out 17 hits against Todd Beamer, 12 against Union and 11 against South Kitsap.
“No one likes to lose,” Lunde said. “We told them to do something about it, and they sure did.”