Following a rain cancellation after the morning games on May 24, Redmond High played four softball games on May 25 and finished tied for third with Richland High at the 4A state championships at the Merkel Sports Complex in Spokane.
The Mustangs were up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday and competed from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. Since the teams were tired from their long day, they were awarded a tie, according to Redmond coach Alison Mitchell.
Redmond started out beating Moses Lake, 10-0, then defeated Chiawana, 5-1, and lost to Jackson, 4-2, in the semifinals. The Mustangs then beat Battle Ground, 3-1. Redmond finished its season with a 26-3 overall record.
While the Mustangs were warming up to play their first game of the tourney at noon on May 24, Mitchell said it was like a cloud opened up and unleashed a torrential downpour.
“It was just crazy,” said Mitchell, noting that they didn’t see the lightning, but heard the thunder.
Initially, the tournament director announced a two-hour delay, which turned into a four-hour delay and then he decided to move the rest of the tournament to Saturday.
Once things got underway on Saturday, Redmond notched its first two victories and then engaged in a pitchers’ duel with Jackson.
“Defense, pitching, hitting, everything was good, our baserunning was solid. The girls were just playing really good softball, and they did throughout the whole tournament,” Mitchell said. “The Jackson game just came down to two really good teams facing off against each other.”
Jackson — the eventual state champs — went up 2-0 in the first inning on a two-run homer from standout pitcher Iyanla De Jesus. Mitchell said she should have walked De Jesus, and it’s a decision that will bother her until next season.
Redmond had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning and its best hitters up to bat, but couldn’t cash in.
“I was really proud of the way our kids battled,” Mitchell said. “(We) worked ourselves into a situation where we just couldn’t quite come through.”
Top Mustang hitters during the Jackson game were Jennifer Cummings, Haley Hanson, Camille Eaton and Kaia Bradford.
Kiki Milloy — the 4A KingCo most valuable player — won the first two games from the mound and pitched into the seventh inning against Jackson. With Milloy’s arm spent, freshman hurler Grace Haegele entered the game with a 3-1 count on Jackson’s No. 2 hitter with a runner on first and one out. She struck out that batter, intentionally walked the next hitter and then fanned the following girl to end the threat.
Mitchell said it was “impressive to see a freshman come into a game that big and give us an opportunity to stay in it.” Haegele pitched the last game as well and earned the victory.
After the tournament director announced that there wouldn’t be a third/fourth-place game, the Redmond girls were exhausted but sad that they couldn’t play another game with each other.
“It went beyond the numbers and the statistics that the girls put up. They just genuinely love each other,” said Mitchell, noting that the team will be competitive again next season with 14 returners in the lineup.
The coach can’t wait to see what happens then.