Sports

Jefferson fastpitch eliminates second-place Decatur

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

The defending South Puget Sound League South Division champion Thomas Jefferson fastpitch team will be making an appearance at the West Central/Southwest District Tournament.

Something that doesn’t sound like much of a surprise. But just two and a half weeks ago the Raiders were 6-9 overall and sitting out of the SPSL South playoff race. Jefferson was forced to win four of their last five league games to even make it into the postseason with the fifth and final berth from the South.

The talented Raiders secured their district tournament appearance Saturday morning with a 6-1 win over the Decatur Gators at Russell Road Park in Kent at the SPSL Tournament. The loss ended the Gators’ season after they finished up in second place in the rugged SPSL South. The top-seven teams from the SPSL tourney advanced.

Jefferson (12-12) goes in as the No. 7 seed from the SPSL and will take on the Wilson Rams in the first round of the district tournament Friday at the Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway at 3 p.m. Wilson finished as the No. 1 seed from the Narrows League after beating North Kitsap in the league’s championship game Friday, 3-2. Wilson is led by pitcher Amanda Pulley, who moved to 14-1 on the season with the North Kitsap win and also had the game-winning RBI. The winner of the Jefferson-Wilson game will play the winner of a game between South Kitsap (Narrows No. 5) and Enumclaw (SPSL No. 3) at 7 p.m. The losers of the two games will also play at 7 p.m. in a loser-out game. The top-eight finishers at the 16-team tournament advance to state.

Jefferson senior Amanda Herrera was solid on the mound for the Raiders in their win over Decatur. Herrera struck out 10 Gator hitters and allowed only five hits in her seven innings of work.

The Raiders broke the game open in the first two innings of play. Jefferson scored a single run in the top of the first and followed with five runs in the second to go up 6-0. Decatur’s only run came in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Jefferson shortstop Amanda Guerrero had a pair of RBIs and a double and center fielder Lindsay Radford finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a double. Lisa Clark was 2-for-3 for the Raiders off of Decatur pitcher Rachael Painter. Decatur’s Ashley McCarney finished 2-for-3 and Painter was 2-for-2 at the plate and also had six strikeouts on the mound.

The Jefferson-Decatur loser-out match up was set up by losses by both teams Friday afternoon at Russell Road Park. The Raiders were shut out by Kentlake, 4-0, and Decatur lost a heart-breaker to the Rogers Rams, 1-0.

Against Kentlake (16-5), Jefferson couldn’t get anything going against starting pitcher Kelsey Reynolds. Reynolds held the Raiders to only four hits while striking out eight. Kentlake scored two runs in the bottom of the first, one in the third and one in the fourth to guarantee themselves a spot in the district tournament.

Friday’s loss was a little bit harder for the Gators to swallow. Four errors and an unearned run in the top of the fourth inning overshadowed a solid pitching dual between Painter and Rogers’ Lindsey Johnson. Painter allowed only two hits and Johnson gave up one.

A dropped fly ball to center field in the fourth allowed the leadoff hitter to get to second base. Painter went on to record two outs before Rogers freshman Beth Haahr came through with an RBI single to score the only run of the game.

The Gators (15-9) never really threatened against Johnson.

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