TJ fastpitch stalls in semi-finals

The Jefferson fastpitch team won its first two games of the state tournament Friday, but lost to eventual state champion Kentridge 1-0 in the semi-finals Saturday.

The Raiders then lost 3-0 in the consolation semi-finals Saturday afternoon to eventual third-place team Lake Stevens.

Against Kentridge, Jefferson was one game away from the state finals.

The Raiders gave up one run in the first inning. After a walk and a wild pitch, Kentridge senior Courtney Lacock came up with an RBI single. The Raiders retired the next two batters, but the damage had been done.

Lacock, also Kentridge’s star pitcher, struck out seven of the first eight batters she faced. Jefferson’s Erin Johnson finally got on base in the fourth inning with a two-out single. Tawnya Guthrie followed by earning a walk, but Jefferson couldn’t score.

In the fifth, Jefferson sophomore Amanda Guerrero led off with a double. One out later, she moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Val Crow, but again the Raiders couldn’t get the run across the plate.

In the sixth, Jefferson had a chance to score with runners on second and third. Chelsea Hunt led off with a single and Jamie Salmon followed with a walk. Johnson sacrifice bunted to move the runners to second and third. Guthrie came through with a sharp hit to the shortstop, but Hunt was thrown out sliding into home.

“I kind of lost trust in my pitches,” Lacock said of her brief struggle. “I wasn’t hitting my spots. I knew I had to bear down with runners on base.”

In the seventh, Lacock got back on track and struck out the side on just 10 pitches.

“We had our opportunities,” Jefferson coach Kevin Hanis said. “The kids played well, we just couldn’t get any runs across the plate. It was a good ball game between two good teams. It kind of leaves you hungry, though.”

Jefferson’s run through Friday’s first- and second-round games showed how tough the Raiders have been all season.

In the first game of the tournament, the Raiders took 8 innings to beat Eastlake 1-0.

Hunt led off the bottom of the eighth when she outran an infield single. She advanced to second base on Crow’s sacrifice bunt. With Johnson at the plate, Hunt stole third. The ball got away from the third baseman, and Hunt ran home to score the game-ending run.

“Our coach gave me the steal sign, so I went,” Hunt said. “That’s pretty much the first time (I’d stolen home). I just wanted to score. We’d gone eight innings without a run and that was our chance right there.”

Hunt was 2-4 in the game with two singles. Johnson was 1-2 with a single, a walk and earned the game-winning RBI for standing at the plate when Hunt scored. Natasha Lindsey earned the win, struck out five and allowed just two hits.

Hunt also scored the game winning run as the Raiders followed with a 5-4 come-from-behind win over Marysville Pilchuck.

Jefferson was down 4-1 after the fifth inning. But the Raiders came back in the top of the sixth as Salmon hit a two-run double to tie the game at four.

In the seventh, Hunt singled then stole second base, Guthrie followed with a line drive single and Hunt made it home from second.

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