When Papermaker pitcher Kennedy Ferguson is on the mound, everyone on the Camas softball team feels confident about winning. Her grit and determination has motivated the Papermakers all season, and the trend flowed right into the state softball tournament in Spokane. The Papermakers made it all the way to the semi-finals finishing their impressive run with a fourth place finish against the best in the state.
“With Kennedy pitching you just know if we can muster three or four runs, we will win,” head coach Dale Lunde said.
The Papermakers opened the tournament by blowing out Moses Lake 12-1. Moses Lake had only lost one game all season, so that first victory immediately gave the Papermakers some added confidence, according to their coach.
They followed it up with a game against Newport Bellevue, a team that had just knocked out Woodinville, the state champs from last season. During that game, coach Lunde looked to his bench for some offense, calling up Emory Miller to pitch hit. Miller went out there and immediately hit a home run, which helped the team to a 7-0 victory.
Ferguson was relieved by Mary Pipkin in each game, which allowed Ferguson enough rest to keep throwing.
Lunde said Pipkin’s solid relief pitching was a big key to their success.
“After winning the first two games, we were on cloud nine because not too many people gave us a chance of going this far,” Lunde said.
In the semi-final game against Jackson, the Papermakers ran into tough left-handed pitching and failed to get a hit, losing to Jackson 6-0, and just missing a trip to the championship game. Lunde said the game was closer than the score because Jackson kept making incredible saving plays at third base to prevent Camas from scoring.
“Our girls hit some great line drives, but those plays at third base were amazing,” Lunde said.
That’s how it goes sometimes.”
Hancock and Wong shine, Ferguson breaks home run record
Katie Hancock came on strong in the tournament with seven hits, which was the most on the team. Catcher Abby Wong also had multiple hits.
However, as strong as Ferguson’s pitching was, she showed her offensive talent breaking the all-time Camas school record for home runs in a season. She hit a two-run shot in the Papermakers’ final game against Central Valley, making it eight home runs for the season, and smashing the old record of six. Ferguson will play for the University of New Mexico next season.
After the final pitch was thrown, emotions flooded the Camas dugout, starting with the coaches, then tears started flowing from the players and the parents.
“It was a big ‘ol bawling match,” Lunde said. “I even had some folks tell me I’m a big baby, but this team is like no other team I’ve coached, because they never tired of practice and always rose to the occasion.”