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SOFTBALL: Jefferson still scorching, wins SPSL championship
The goal of any team is to be playing their best at the end of the season, when the games count a little bit more. The Thomas Jefferson Raiders softball team is doing exactly that.
The Raiders (20-3) won their 15th straight game Friday evening and with it, the coveted South Puget Sound League championship. Seventh-ranked Jefferson beat Emerald Ridge, 5-2, in the title game at the Kent Service Ballfields. Emerald Ridge won the SPSL South regular season championship, while the Raiders finished third behind Kentlake and Tahoma in the SPSL North.
Jefferson, however, did get its revenge on Kentlake during the semifinals earlier Friday in Kent. The Raiders got the best of the Falcons, 12-6. Kentlake handed Jefferson two of its three losses during the regular season.
The SPSL title gives TJ the SPSL's top seed into the West Central/Southwest District Tournament, which runs Friday and Saturday at the Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway. The Raiders will open play at noon against the winner of a play-in game between Puyallup (SPSL No. 10) and Union (Greater St. Helen's League No. 3). The top-eight finishers at the 16-team district tournament advance to the state tournament, which will be held in Spokane.
Against Emerald Ridge (16-3), the Raiders trailed 1-0 before tallying four runs in the bottom of the third inning. Emerald Ridge just couldn't get anything going offensively against TJ senior starter Katie Jackson. The right-hander allowed just six hits and struck out six in seven innings of work.
Offensively, the Raiders a pair of hits and two RBIs each from Lexi Goranson and Bailey Rundle. Michaela Patton finished 1 for 2 with an RBI and Alyssa Keyes was 2 for 3.
Jefferson's offense was even more potent during the 12-6 semifinal win over Kentlake. The Raiders' pounded out 17 hits and tallied six runs in the top of the fifth inning to overcome a 6-3 Kentlake lead.
Patton had another huge game for TJ. The Raiders' shortstop finished 3 for 4 with four RBIs and scored four runs. Annalise Campbell ended up 4 for 5 with three runs and Keyes finished 3 for 3 with a double. Jackson got the win on the mound for Jefferson.
The Raiders rolled into the semifinals with a pair of wins Thursday at the SPSL Tournament. Jefferson cruised past Beamer in the opening round at the Kent Service on a five-inning no-hitter by Jackson and a 9-8 win over Kentridge in the quarterfinals.
Against Beamer, Patton led the TJ offense again, finishing 4 for 4 with three RBIs and a double. Rundle had a pair of doubles and Reno Whitcomb and Keyes both had three hits each.
The Kentridge win as a little tougher Thursday evening. Jefferson jumped out to an 8-2 lead before the Chargers made it interesting with four runs in the top of the seventh. Campbell and Patton both had a pair of hits for TJ and Jackson earned the win on the mound.
The SPSL softball title continues an ultra-impressive spring sports season at Jefferson. The Raiders also won league championships in girls tennis, girls track and boys soccer during the spring. The only sports TJ didn't win a championship during the spring are baseball and boys track.
The Titans finished 1-2 at the SPSL Tournament to earn the league's eighth seed into the West Central/Southwest District Tournament.
After being no-hit by TJ in the opening round Thursday, Beamer downed Puyallup, 11-3, before losing to Tahoma, 11-9, on Friday in a seeding game.
Morgan Jewett-Chan finished 3 for 5 with three RBIs and a double and Analee Scott was 2 for 2 with three stolen bases against Puyallup. Madison Rogers got the win on the mound and was also 3 for 3 at the plate.
The Titans will open the district tournament at 10 a.m. at the Sprinker Recreation Center against Emerald Ridge, the second seed from the SPSL, Friday morning.