RICHLAND - It didn't seem like Lynden Christian's ace pitcher Bridget Kruck would ever get tired. But after taking the mound for the fourth game in two days she finally, and understandably, ran out of gas, out of steam and the Lyncs were sent out of the Class 1A State Tournament.
Kruck threw all but one of 26 innings the Lyncs played in the state tournament and that fatigue clearly got to her as Lynden Christian saw its late lead slip away in an 7-4 season-ending loss against Castle Rock on Saturday, May 26, at the Columbia Playfield in Richland.
"I probably should have taken her out, but she was battling so hard," said Lynden Christian coach Mitch Moorlag in a phone interview. "Win or lose, she deserved to be out there. We rode her all this way so we let her stay out there."
Kruck held Castle Rock to two runs the first four innings and allowed her team to build a 4-2 lead heading into the fifth inning.
Castle Rock took advantage of Kruck's 22nd inning pitched in two days with two runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game.
With Kruck still fighting on the mound into the seventh, Castle Rock led off with a triple. Tierney Uhlenkott followed with a two-run home run to put the Rockets ahead and Nicole Seidl's homer the next at-bat helped put the Lyncs away for good.
We played really well and had them going into the sixth," Moorlag said. "Then they had that leadoff triple and back-to-back home runs - that took care of us. That is a really good hitting team and you are not going to keep them at four runs forever."
Moorlag said he talked to Kruck about coming out of the game sooner, but she told Moorlag she wanted to stay.
Kruck threw all but the final inning of Lynden Christian's 10-0 loss against Onalaska in the opening round of state. She went on to earn wins against Orting and Okanogan the next two games on Friday. The Lyncs beat Okanogan in five innings.
Lynden Christian gave Kruck the lead against Castle Rock on Saturday after it led the inning off with three straight singles from Shelby Brown, Karley De Jager and Brooke Handerson. Handerson's hit drove in both Brown and De Jager before Meagan Van Berkum recorded a two-out hit to score Jenna Korthuis, who entered as a pinch runner.
That would be all the run support Kruck would get before Lynden Christian suffered its fate in the seventh inning to head home from the state tournament with two wins and two losses.
But considering the Lyncs were the only team from the Northwest Conference to reach the second day of state in any classification, Moorlag said the tournament will be remembered in a good way.
"We are just overwhelmingly proud of the kids," Moorlag said. "They really had a blast over here."
CASTLE ROCK 7, LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 4
Castle Rock 011 020 3 - 7 14 0
Lynden Christian 010 300 0 - 4 7 0
WP: Brittany Keeling. LP: Bridget Kruck. Highlights: LC - Shelby Brown 2-3; Brooke Handerson 2-3, 3 RBI.