Haley Hanson said the trophy was heavy, but she still kept it in her possession for a bit.
After clutching the 3A state softball hardware with a glove on top for pictures, the Redmond High softball player passed it on to a teammate and shook her arms.
A few seconds later, Hanson chuckled and said she could have probably run around the bases with the award if given the chance.
Every Mustang player likely would have done the same if called upon, that’s how fired up they were after defeating Yelm, 9-5, to win the championship on Saturday afternoon at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey. Redmond finished 23-4 overall.
“It feels really good to hold it,” Hanson said of the trophy. “We worked all year to get to this point, and it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Redmond’s powerhouse from the mound and at the plate Kiki Milloy led off the game with a towering homer in the top of the first.
“It was important. I wanted to start us off since we were hitting first. We needed to have the energy first, so just getting that, it just really hyped us all up,” Milloy said.
Added Keona Tibbs: “It was a good way to start the game. I mean, when would it not be a good way to start the game?”
Lindsay Tsujikawa’s two-RBI single in the third put Redmond up, 3-0, before Yelm cut the lead to 3-2 with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the inning.
Hanson had an infield RBI single in the fourth. In the fifth, Yelm threatened to close the gap with runners on second and third, but Redmond doused the rally and no runners scored.
“All my teammates were talking to me, and just focusing on my fundamentals and getting back to throwing strikes,” Milloy said of getting out of the jam. “Because I know that they would have my back.”
The sixth was big for Redmond as Mara Kipnis lashed a two-RBI double down the right-field line; Jen Cummings knocked an RBI double to the center-field fence; and Lauren Lund had an RBI groundout to put the Mustangs up 8-2.
Yelm stayed alive with three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
After intentionally walking Milloy in the sixth, Yelm pitched to the Redmond slugger in the seventh. Milloy’s bat exploded with another homer and Redmond padded its lead to 9-5.
Soon, the Mustangs leaped on top of each other along the first-base line after they registered the final out. The Redmond crowd was ecstatic as well.
“We needed a lot of energy not only on the field, but our (fans in the) stands helped us so much. There’s so much energy there. That kept us going,” said Tsujikawa.
“Out on the field, it was definitely really awesome to do it because it’s my fourth year and we worked so hard this year,” said an emotional Tibbs. “It’s just so exciting and we could feel that it was gonna happen and it was so much fun.”
Coach Alison Mitchell said she’s proud of everything the players accomplished this year. The young players and the veterans kept their composure and fought the whole way, the coach noted.
Mitchell is impressed with “the coachability, the way they’ll take instruction and just buy in and believe in each other and rely on each other. When the top half wasn’t hitting, the bottom half did, and vice versa. True definition of a team.”
Milloy said if someone struggled early in the tournament, they turned it around with their teammates supporting them.
“Well, we’re all family. You know, family sticks together, and even when one person’s down, we pick each other up,” she said.
Hanson said it’s important that players embrace their roles in order to bring the team success.
“I need to be able to hit it over the infield and I need to be able to get it on the ground when I need to, because my job’s to move runners around, especially when the game’s close like it was today,” she said.
In earlier state action, Milloy smashed a grand slam and got the win in the Mustangs’ 6-1 victory over Gig Harbor in the opening round. Milloy had eight strikeouts and Hanson had two hits.
Redmond downed Edmonds-Woodway, 10-0, in its second game. Mustang highlights included a two-run homer from Milloy and doubles from Tibbs and Camille Eaton.