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After long stretch of pitching dominance, Lake Washington bats back up WIAA Class 3A softball championship finish

Second-ranked Kangs post a five-run fifth inning, then close out No. 1 Walla Walla with nine more runs in the final inning of a 14-8 victory in Lacey
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LACEY, Wash. - Lake Washington’s senior ace Tess Bumiller kept opponents off the scoreboard, giving up just four earned runs in 18 innings as the Kangaroos marched though Auburn Riverside, Arlington and Roosevelt on their way to the championship game of the WIAA Class 3A softball tournament Saturday at the Regional Athletic Complex.

Once there, she held top-ranked Walla Walla scoreless until the fifth inning, when the Blue Devils followed a five-run Kang top of the inning with two runs in the bottom half.

When Bumiller tired with the first-place trophy in sight, No. 2 Lake Washington’s hitters, young and old, picked her up, rallying for five runs in top of the fifth and erupting for nine more in the seventh inning to hold off the Blue Devils, 14-8.

"Our seniors gave us the energy to pick it up," said ninth grade first baseman Shriya Thakur. "We all knew we could win, and we did."

It was the first state title for Lake Washington (24-2) since it won the Class 2A crown in 2014 with first-year coach JoDee Hull’s daughter and current assistant coach Kylisa Hull in the lineup.

Senior leadoff hitter Addie Sapirstein crossed the plate during both big innings on her way to a 3-for-5, four runs batted in game. Her sister Rachel, another senior, drove in a pair of runs. Inspired by the upperclassmen, two young players hammered the ball as well.

With the Kangs already up 10-3 in the seventh, Thakur – who had scored three runs and driven in three more during Lake Washington’s 9-1 semifinal victory over Roosevelt earlier in the day – crushed a three-run homer to left field.

"The pitch was up and out, I thought some one was going to catch it, then I saw, 'That’s gone,'" said Thakur, who believed her team’s strong hitting against Roosevelt carried over into confidence during the championship game.

Shortstop Christina Minor, a sophomore, followed with a solo bomb to center that seemed to put the game out of reach once and for all. Minor, who had homered only once through regular season and district play, homered in every game at state.

"One on every field here," Hull said of the four used by the WIAA at the RAC.

But Walla Walla didn’t get its No. 1 ranking by rolling over.

The Devils (22-2) made things tense with a five-run rally of their own in the bottom of the seventh. With two runners still on base and only one out, Bumiller regained her form long enough to get Anna Delarosa looking and Kylie Kemp on a fielder’s choice to end it.

"We had some nerves and had to settle down. Our pitcher was tired," said Hull. "Tess has been a workhorse all year."

Kaitline Chapman, Sidney McCauley and Delarosa each had two hits for Walla Walla. Designated player Alizaeya Salcedo, who had driven in two runs in the Devils’ 4-1 semifinal triumph over Bonney Lake, clubbed a solo home run.

Hull praised her veterans but takes optimism forward with the Kangs' strong group of young players.

"Our seniors were an incredible group of ladies. They’ve really imparted a legacy for our underclassmen and they’ve been lifting them up all year long.," Hull said. "They’re learning from the best."

Thakur agreed.

"It feels awesome to be a freshman on this team with our seniors," she said. "Now we’ve got three more years to get back here and three more years to win."