SELAH - Lynden used the Benson-Bonsen connection in a 7-2 first round win over Sumner in the Class 2A State Softball Tournament on Friday, May 24, at Carlon Park.
The win moved the Lions into a 10 p.m. quarterfinal against Aberdeen in the rain-delayed tournament on Friday. Lynden was originally scheduled to play its opener at 10 a.m.; the Lions took the field at 4 p.m.
Lynden went on to win the nightcap 2-1 over Aberdeen to advance to the state semifinals, where it will play tournament host Selah at noon on Saturday, May 25.
It will mark the Lions' first trip to the state semifinals in program history. In fact, with their two wins on Friday, Lynden matches its previous win total in the state tournament in its first three trips to state.
Third baseman Tanna Benson swung the big stick for Lynden in the opener. She blasted a three-run homer to right centerfield in the first inning and had run-scoring base hits in the second and fourth innings as well.
Taylor VanDalen walked with one out in the first inning and Brooke Bonsen was hit by a pitch. Benson hit a two-out rope that easily cleared the fence.
"I just wanted to get up to the plate and score some runs for the team," Benson said of her first run shot. "That lead really helped our defense relax and play the way we know we can."
The sophomore third baseman put on a defensive show in the fourth inning, assisting on three-consecutive ground-outs as senior pitcher Bonsen breezed through the first four innings while facing just 13 batters, one above the minimum.
The home run gave Bonsen all the support she needed. The lanky right-hander shut the Spartans down on three hits, striking out 10.
Holding a 7-0 lead after five innings, Sumner seemed to figure Bonsen out at the same time the Lions defensive focus seemed to waver.
"I think (Sumner) kind of buckled down on me a little bit," Bonsen said. "It seemed like they figured me out a little bit."
Bonsen said the 6-0 lead after two innings made her work on the mound simpler.
"It's really nice to have that insurance when you walk out there," she said. "We know if they get a hit it's not a big deal because we know we're getting our hits."
Lynden coach Steve Petersen was pleased with his team's focus right off the bat, particularly since they endured a six-hour delay at the team hotel.
"Hey, if I have to be stuck with a team for six hours, I want it to be this team," Petersen said. "Anytime you get that first win at state it's a great thing. It's a step in the right direction."
That step included snapping a three-game state tournament losing streak and advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time in the fastpitch era.
LYNDEN 7, SUMNER 2
Sumner 000 001 1 - 2 3 2
Lynden 330 100 0 - 7 4 1
WP: Brooke Bonsen. LP: Sims. Highlights: Lynden: Tanna Benson 3-4, HR, 2B, 6RBI; Brooke Bonsen 1-2, RBI