SELAH - Steve Petersen was at a loss for words.
The affable Lynden softball coach struggled with his composure and with finding the right words to convey his feelings in the aftermath of his team's 7-3 elimination loss to rival Sedro-Woolley in the Class 2A State Softball Tournament on Saturday, May 25, at Carlon Park.
"These seniors," he said, choking up. "Before they came in, we were 7-13 and didn't qualify for district."
Petersen paused for a moment, tapped his his chest near his heart and pointed to his team gathered a few yards away in the outfield.
"Now they're tied for fifth in state. There's no fifth-place trophy, but we earned it."
And the seniors Petersen mentioned - Brooke Bonsen, Kaitlyn Brown, Destinee Matter and Taylor Van Dalen - won 42 games in their last two seasons, won two consecutive league titles and made it to state three consecutive times.
"They're just great kids and they started the ball rolling for this program."
Lynden's dreams of a state championship were dashed earlier Saturday in the semifinals, 8-5, by eventual state champion Selah.
The game was a virtual home game for Selah. The Carlon Park complex is a short walk from the Vikings school grounds and adjacent to their regular-season home field.
Selah's high scoring offense - it scored 23 runs in two games on Friday and 40 for the tournament - made an immediate statement, plating four runs in the first inning on three hits and an error.
Cheyenne Fletcher - who had three hits including a home run in the contest - led off with a double and scored on an error. Sarah Bersing had a single and Laura Steiner a double for the Vikings.
Seemingly stunned by Selah's quick start - Lynden's standout senior pitcher Brooke Bonsen had surrendered just two runs in 15 innings on Friday - the Lions clawed back with single runs in the second and fourth innings and three runs in the fifth.
Matter had a two-run single to key the three-run fifth inning. Jenna Bonsen had an RBI single in the second inning. The Lions totaled 12 hits on the contest.
Given that they seemed to have found the measure of Selah's ace McKenzie Zerr after a slow start, the Lions had chances to take the lead in all three of the final innings. But Lynden left five runners on base in those frames and nine for the afternoon.
The Lions take some solace in the fact that their final two losses in a 21-6 campaign were to the state champion - Selah - and the fourth-place team - Sedro-Woolley.
SELAH 8, LYNDEN 5
Lynden 010 130 0-5 12 2
Selah 411 011 x-8 12 2
WP: Zerr (NA). LP: Bonsen (19-4). Highlights: Lynden: Mandy Warner 3-4, Tanna Benson 2-4 2B, Hannah Rothwell 2-4 2b RBI, Destinee Matter 1-3 2RBI.
SEDRO WOOLLEY 7, LYNDEN 3
Lynden 000 000 3-3 8 2
Sedro Woolley 102 301 x-7 6 1
WP: Queen (NA). LP: Bonsen (19-5). Highlights: Lynden: Tanna Benson 2-3 2B, Destinee Matter 1-4 RBI, Hannah Rothwell 2-2, 2B.