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WIAA Class 3A softball roundup: No shortage of inspiration, Walla Walla streaks to state semifinals

Eleventh-seeded Blue Devils survive a pair of heart-thumping games against Bishop Blanchet and Liberty of Issaquah to join Peninsula, Roosevelt and Snohomish in final four

LACEY, Wash. - In a perfect world, reigning Class 3A runner-up Walla Walla would be at the RAC this week with first-year coach Jason Postlewait trying to steer the program back to the WIAA semifinals.

It didn't work out that way for the Blue Devils.

Their new coach lasted just a few games before he stepped down to fight brain cancer. Longtime former coach Arch McHie came back on board, only to see the team get off to a 1-11 start.

They were in disarray - and far from the team that showed up to play in the state tournament Friday.


But it's May, and 11th-seeded Walla Walla is renewed, refocused and playing with a higher purpose.

"Our saying right now," McHie said, "'We play for Posty.’"

After beating Bishop Blanchet, 6-4, in nine innings to reach the quarterfinals, the Blue Devils appeared headed for a quick exit to the consolation bracket against 3A KingCo champion Liberty of Issaquah.

The Patriots had built a 6-1 lead behind a pair of early two-run innings, and solo home runs from Layne Ford in the fourth inning, and Emi Connell to in the fifth inning.

Down to its final three outs, Walla Walla suddenly kicked everything into a higher gear for an unthinkable rally.

The Blue Devils scored eight runs - the final six coming with two outs - to shock Liberty, 9-6.

"This whole year has been a fight for us," Walla Walla first baseman Clarabelle Hall said.

With two outs, the Blue Devils put together three consecutive singles and a walk, then tied and took the lead, 7-6, on back-to-back wild pitches.

Finally, up stepped Hall, who started the inning with a strikeout. She launched a two-run screamer over the center-field wall to complete the scoring eruption.

"We talked before we went into (the seventh inning), 'You’ve go to start making some tiny adjustments and battle and battle and battle.'" McHie said.

"It was hot out there. Our kids have been playing in it for a couple weeks. Their pitcher (Elyse McMullin), who is incredibly good, just got worn down a little it ... and our kids hit her mistakes."

Other 3A quarterfinal scores:


2023 Washington softball: Class 3A tournament in Lacey, Roosevelt vs. Bonney Lake in quarterfinals

In their second time in the WIAA championships, the Roughriders will be going to back to the same destination as last season - the semifinals.

Steffi Young and Abby Williams hit run-scoring doubles in the first inning, and Sammie Wright added another RBI double to highlights Roosevelt's three-run second inning - and the 3A Metro League champions are moving on.

"We’ve been 10 (players) deep all year, and our kids have shown up for very game and put all of their heart into it," Roosevelt softball coach H.T. Lee said. "I am just so proud of them. They are amazing. They show up to play. That is what you love about them."


2023 Washington softball: Class 3A tournament in Lacey, Snohomish vs. Mount Spokane

Quietly. the 2016 champions go about their business, with little or no fanfare - but with nine determined seniors.

Which is something coach Patti Lande doesn't mind at all.

"I prefer zero attention," Lande said.

Evalyn Massena's three-run home run highlighted a five-run third inning, and the Panthers are back in the state semifinals for the first time since 2018.

Skyla Bristol pitched six-plus scoreless innings, striking out 16 Mount Spokane batters.


2023 Washington softball: Class 3A tournament in Lacey, Peninsula vs. Gig Harbor in quarterfinals

By defeating their city rival for a third consecutive time, the Seahawks are in unchartered waters - first-timers in the state semifinals.

Alli Kimball pitched all seven innings, striking out 13 Tides batters in her three-hit performance. Glory Estabrook had four hits, including a two-run double that gave Peninsula a 3-0 lead.