Jefferson fastpitch headed back to state tournament

Jefferson senior Erin Fujita takes a pitch during Friday’s opening-round game against Central Kitsap at the West Central District Tournament. The Raiders won three-straight loser-out games to qualify for the state tournament.  - Casey Olson/The Mirror
Jefferson senior Erin Fujita takes a pitch during Friday’s opening-round game against Central Kitsap at the West Central District Tournament. The Raiders won three-straight loser-out games to qualify for the state tournament.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

It’s back to state for the Thomas Jefferson girls faspitch team.

For only the third time in the school’s history, Jefferson will open the 2009 Class 4A State Softball Championships at the South End Recreation Area in Tacoma at 1 p.m. Friday against the Redmond Mustangs. Redmond won the KingCo 4A Conference championship Wednesday with a 5-2 win over Woodinville.

The Mustangs, who surprised the state field last spring by placing third at state last year, feature plenty of big-game experience. Redmond is led by senior pitcher Erika Hendron, who struck out 11 in the KingCo championship game.

The winner of the Jefferson-Redmond game will take on the winner of a game between Central Kitsap and Kamiakin at 7 p.m. Friday. The two losers will play at 5 p.m.

The possible matchup with Central Kitsap, who ended up finishing second at the West Central District Tournament, would give the Raiders a little revenge. Central Kitsap is the team that knocked TJ into the loser’s bracket in their opening game at districts Friday.

It will be the second time most of the Raiders have played at the state tournament. Jefferson qualified two years ago and won two games before getting knocked out by Inglemoor in the consolation bracket. The team included current players like third baseman Jayme Carbon, first baseman Erin Fujita, pitcher Jessica Dickson, catcher Christi Bruin and shortstop Hannah Kiyohara.

The Raiders didn’t take the easy route to state during Friday and Saturday’s West Central District Tournament at the Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway. Jefferson had to its their way through the loser’s bracket after a 3-2 opening-round loss to Central Kitsap. The loss meant the Raiders would have to win three games in a row to punch their ticket back to state.

Which is exactly what they did Friday and Saturday with loser-out victories over Tahoma, Puyallup and Wilson to snare the district’s fourth seed to state.

Against Central Kitsap Friday afternoon, the Raiders scored a quick run off starter Carolyn Cross in the first inning on a ringing double from catcher Christi Bruin over the centerfielder’s head to take a 1-0 lead.

But the Cougars (19-4) fought back with two runs in the third and another in the fourth to take a 3-1 lead. The Raiders fought back with a run of their own in the top of the seventh on an RBI by shortstop Hannah Kiyohara, but it wasn’t enough. Kiyohara ended up 2-for-4 on the day.

The loss dropped TJ into a must-win against Tahoma, which the Raiders won easily, 7-2, Friday evening.

Jefferson tallied two runs in the bottom of the first, added two more in the fifth and three in the sixth to take a 7-0 advantage. The Bears added a pair of runs in the seventh, but it was too little, too late. Dickson limited the Bears, who the Raiders beat twice during the SPSL North regular season, to just four hits.

The Raiders got to enact a little revenge Saturday morning against the Puyallup Vikings. The Vikings beat TJ last week 4-2 at the SPSL Tournament in a matchup between the third-place teams from the North and South divisions.

Dickson was brilliant against the Vikings. The senior left-hander held Puyallup to just three hits while striking out 10. Senior third baseman Jayme Carbon, who will play at the Class 4A state golf championships Tuesday and Wednesday, finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Carbon, who has qualified for the state golf tournament all four years, is headed to Eastern Washington University in the fall.

The win over Puyallup set up a loser-out, winner-to-state game Saturday against Wilson, the champions of the Narrows League.

The Raiders used a pair of big innings to beat the Rams, 8-5, to punch their ticket to state. Jefferson tallied three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a quick 3-0 lead. But Wilson (18-4) fought back with a run in the second and two more in the third to take a 4-3 lead. But the Raiders put the game away with five runs in the third.

Jefferson pounded out nine hits against two Wilson pitchers and Dickson picked up her third win of the district tournament by limiting the powerful Wilson offense to eight hits.

Beamer drops two straight at districts

The young and talented Titans (11-11) had a solid showing in their first-ever appearance at the West Central District Tournament. Beamer lost to Wilson in their opening-round game, 6-4, and were knocked out of the tournament by Kentlake, 7-1, at the Sprinker Recreation Center Friday.

Against Wilson, the Titans tallied single runs in the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead. But Wilson fought back with three runs in the bottom of the second to go up 3-2. Beamer tallied two more runs in the third to grab the lead back, 4-3. But that was all the runs the Titans could muster. The Rams scored two in the third and one in the fourth to win the game, 6-4.

The Titans were led by the hitting of catcher Taylor Winton, who finished 3-for-3 with an RBI.

The loss dropped Beamer into the loser’s bracket and into a matchup with Kentlake. The Falcons jumped out to a 7-0 lead before the Titans tallied their only run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The Titans will return a bulk of their lineup next year, including talented pitcher Emma Blauser, Winton and outfielder Sarah Petosa.

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