ROYAL CITY, Washington (STPNS) -- For just the second time in twenty-odd years there won’t be a team representing Royal’s Lady Knights at the state softball tournament. Royal lost two of their three games against SCAC foes that they had handled easily during the regular season.
The deciding loss was by a 3-2 score to Cle Elum as the Lady Warriors made the most of just three hits off Royal ace Kali Delgado. Cle Elum rallied with two runs in the fourth inning, aided by a couple of balls that Royal defenders lost in the sun.
After the score was knotted 1-1 in the first inning, it looked like Royal’s bats were set to come alive as sophomore catcher Alyssa Christensen belted one deep to left center for a solo homer and a 2-1 Royal lead. But strong pitching from Cle Elum’s Ratliff and stalwart defensive plays by the defense including a grab of a long drive to center field shut down the Royal offense for the last four innings of the game.
The Knights threatened to score and score big in the top of the sixth inning as Christensen led-off with an infield single and Arlene Delgado followed with a full-count hit-by-pitcher. But Cle Elum’s shortstop snagged a linedrive smash by Kali Delgado and turned it into a double play. Kiya Stakkeland flew out to centerfield to end the threat.
Royal played without regular thirdbaseman Holly Gilbert who was injured early in the Knights 5-4 opening round loss to Burbank when short stop Arlene Delgado collided with Gilbert as they tried to make the play on a soft liner between them. Joelle Herrud was also out the whole tourney with a broken foot.
Royal opted to start number three pitcher Stephanie Bartlett in their first game. With the score tied 1-1, Burbank rallied in the top of the fifth inning. Morgan Yearout came in in relief of Bartlett but took a few batters to put the fire out and by then Burbank had plated four runs and built a 5-1 lead.
Royal scored two in their half of the inning to make it 5-3 as Dani Callahan, in for the injured Gilbert, scored on an infield single by Kiya Stakkeland who had replaced Delgado at short.
Royal scored one more run in the bottom of the seventh and had slugger Kali Delgado at the plate with two out and Alyssa Christensen standing on third waiting to score. But a roller back to the pitcher turned into the third out and the Knights, surprisingly, were in the losers’ bracket.
Royal and Granger were locked in a fairly close game with Royal leading 4-3 before a four run sixth inning keyed by a Tawnee Gonzales homerun. Morgan Yearout pitched most of the game, picking up the win. Kali Delgado pitched the last two innings in relief for the Knights.
The 9-3 win over Granger set up the winner-to-state/loser-out game with Cle Elum.
Alyssa Christensen went 2-for-4 in the Burbank and then went 2-for-2 with a homerun in against Cle Elum. Tawnee Gonzales 2-for-3 with a homerun in the Granger contest, making the catcher position very productive for the Lady Knights. Combined, Christensen and Gonzales were 6-for-9 with two homers.
Dani Callahan went 2-for-2 with two runs against Burbank.
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