BURLINGTON - Steve Petersen's Lynden softball team picked up three wins against Skagit County softball power Burlington-Edison.
That's right, three. At least that's what Petersen told his Lions during his postgame address.
Lynden's 6-1 Northwest Conference win Tuesday, April 9, against the Tigers counted as one win. Earning a tiebreaker over Burlington-Edison (7-3, 3-1 NWC) marked win No. 2 and Petersen credited the road win at Burlington-Edison Play Fields as Lynden's third triumph in one seven-inning game between conference unbeatens.
The win came after a week-long spring-break hiatus. Good enough for a fourth win?
Maybe so, given Lynden's last competitive game was a one-run loss to Sehome back on March 23. The Lions (7-3, 4-0 NWC) played Bellingham and Squalicum leading up to the break but beat the schools by a combined 53-0.
"We had to come into this with a lot of confidence," Lynden third baseman Tanna Benson said. "We had to come in battling. We knew they were good with good bats, and we knew we had to play good defense."
Benson did her job. Brooke Bonsen did, too. The Lynden ace threw a complete game four hit-shutout, striking out seven while giving up only one walk. Bonsen threw another gem, which Petersen has grown accustomed to throughout her Lynden career.
"Brooke, I say it all the time, but she does what she does," Petersen said. "She comes out and throws strikes. (She) never gives you a pitch down the middle to hit, unless you can get it 2-0 or 3-1, so that is really key, and then she has girls where routine outs are outs. When routine outs are outs, we're pretty successful."
The Lions didn't commit any errors Tuesday against a solid hitting Tigers club. Benson made several nice plays at third, which eventually prompted Burlington-Edison coach Darcy Taylor to jokingly beg her girls to stop hitting the ball Benson's way. Right fielder Hannah Rothwell made a handful of plays on fly balls hit to the outfield and shortstop Kaitlyn Brown scooped up any ball in her vicinity.
Bonsen helped her cause at the plate with a solo home run and two RBI, Benson was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI and Taylor VanDalen reached base with a pair of infield singles. Those were the only Lions to record hits against Burlington's pitching duo of starter Riley VanderVeen and reliever Kylee Lambert.
Five hits was all Lynden needed, though, especially with the Lions' heads-up base running.
"Burlington does a great job, and their pitchers are always tough," Petersen said. "You have to come in with a plan. Our game plan was to not help her, not to put anything in the air. We wanted to lay off the high stuff. If we take some strikeouts, so be it. Hopefully that will play off as the game went on, and that's what really happened."
Bonsen put Lynden in front 1-0 with her homer over the left-center field wall on a 0-1 count, but Burlington-Edison's Chahala Handy answered in the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot of her own over the right-center field fence to tie the game 1-1.
Lynden built on its lead during the fourth and fifth innings despite recording just two hits. Brown worked her way around the diamond after a walk, stolen base and an error. A second error by catcher Sarah Richards on a routine throw back to VanderVeen between pitches scored Brown, who darted home from third on the poor throw.
"It's 240 feet around and anytime you can take a quarter of that away, that's huge," Petersen said. "You add up enough of those. You do it four times, and it's a run somewhere. That was really important."
Benson put Lynden ahead 4-1 in the top of the fifth with a two-run bases-loaded double. Destinee Matter followed with an RBI on a fielder's choice that drove in Bonsen for third to give the Lions a 5-1 lead.
"I just always go into the game, and I'm doing it for my team," said Benson, who Petersen said "flirts with being outstanding often." "When I go up to bat, I want to get the line drives to help my team out and on defense I want to back up Brooke and make sure we can get the win."
Bonsen shut down Burlington-Edison in the sixth and seventh, during which she recorded a Bonsen-family 1-3 double play with sister Jenna Bonsen after Tigers hitter Quincy Gunderson lined a come-backer to Brooke, who tossed the ball to sister Jenna at first to double off Burlington's base runner.
The win was Lynden's third straight, and it snapped Burlington-Edison's six-game win streak dating back to March 18.
Lynden has another tough test next against Anacortes. First pitch is at 4 p.m. Friday, April 12, at Lynden High School.
"I think those (early-season) losses were definitely motivation for us," Benson said. "The rest of the season, I think we'll be able to push ourselves to do what we can. We want to get better than we did last year."
LYNDEN 6, BURLINGTON-EDISON 1
Lynden 010 131 0 - 6 5 0
Burlington-Edison 010 000 0 - 1 4 3
WP: Brooke Bonsen. LP: Riley VanderVeen. Highlights: LYN - Tanna Benson 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, SB; Brooke Bonsen 1-3, HR, BB, 2 RBI, 2 R, Taylor VanDalen 2-4, 2 R. B-E - Chahala Handy 1-3, HR, R, RBI.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862