Decatur fastpitch falls in district tournament

Despite winning two games, Gators come up short of state tournament dreams.

A district tournament that started with such promise for the Decatur High School fastpitch team ended in heartbreak as the Gators once again fell short of the state tournament.

Decatur was on a mission to make the state tournament for the first time in 19 years and the second time in school history. But that drought will go on another year as the Gators fell to Puyallup in a winner-to-state, loser-out finale at the district tournament May 18.

The tournament started off on a positive note for the Gators. The Gators were the eighth seed and took on Sumner, the same team they faced in the first-round last season as well.

Decatur took down the Spartans thanks to a great performance in the circle from Karen Cervantes. She has taken over the starting pitcher role from junior Audrey Deviney, who was shut down with elbow inflammation for a couple of weeks.

Decatur’s offense got just enough from a big third inning, scoring three runs on just two hits. But Decatur batters took three walks in the inning, and Deviney came through with a 2 RBI single to cap the scoring for Decatur.

Sumner was able to get one back, on an RBI groundout, but Decatur minimized the damage in the sixth.

Following Sumner was SPSL winner and top seeded Olympia for Decatur’s next opponent. The two sides were locked in at 0-0 through the first three innings, but back-to-back two run innings in the fourth and fifth gave Olympia a comfortable 4-0 lead.

However, Decatur made things interesting in the top of the seventh. Kahea Sharpe and Luci Pech both singled with two out and Sina Fuiava smacked a homer to bring the Gators within a run. Deviney followed suit reaching base, but that was all the Gators could muster for a comeback, falling short 4-3.

On day two of the district tournament, the Gators took on Kentridge. The Gators disposed of the Chargers with relative ease with an 11-3 win. The win avenged a loss in the regular season to the Chargers back on April 24.

In the eight-run win, four different Gators hit home runs. That had only happened one time this year, back on March 21 against Gig Harbor. But four home runs are not the most in a game this year for Decatur.

Against Mount Rainier, Fuiava (3), Deviney (2) and Lani Smith-O’Brien combined for a season-high six homers in a 19-7 win earlier this season on March 28.

The win over Kentridge was the last positive outcome for Decatur as they went on to lose 7-1 to a tough Battle Ground team and ultimately had their season ended at the hands of the Puyallup Vikings, 6-4, in a winner-to-state, loser-out game.

Decatur is losing the 4A NPSL MVP in Fuiava, Smith-O’Brien and Cervantes, but still has a lot of youth in the wings waiting for their chance. Players like Sharpe, Luci Smith and Deviney can look to take the Gators to the next level, and maybe break that 20-year state tournament drought.

Karen Cervantes stepped up for the Gators but couldn’t quite get Decatur to state despite shining in the circle. Ben Ray / The Mirror

Karen Cervantes stepped up for the Gators but couldn’t quite get Decatur to state despite shining in the circle. Ben Ray / The Mirror