Nooksack Valley's softball team has grown more comfortable than they would like with loser-out games. After winning six straight elimination games, the Pioneers finally broke down.
Nooksack lost 5-4 to Okanogan in a consolation round on Saturday, May 31, at Columbia Playfield in Richland at the Class 1A State Tournament.
"The mentality you have to have (to win loser-out games) is to trust what you want to get done," Nooksack coach Tom Harmon said in a phone interview. "Whether it's with sticks, with gloves or in the circle you have to trust you'll get it done."
A team must also bounce back from adversity and Harmon says his team has done that the last month of the season.
"It was a great May," Harmon said. "It would have been real easy for the group to get down but they weren't going to do it. A couple weeks ago I said that these kids just don't know how good they are. Now they do."
In the last game of the year, the Pioneers got behind 5-2 by the third inning and tried to chip away but couldn't get the tying run across.
They even had runners in scoring position in the sixth and just couldn't manage to even it up.
Kayla Struiksma pitched the first three innings before Alexis Pike threw four.
"They both threw well," Harmon said. "Okanogan is a good hitting team, but both kids did a good job."
Nooksack ends its season with a 15-16 record and the Pioneers are aiming to get back to state next season despite graduating three seniors.
"We will miss our seniors, but that's the fact of high school sports," Harmon said. "At Nooksack, there's always the expectation that we want to be beack. It's not something we talk about every day but come March that's what we're looking at. Do we want to be back? Heck yeah. Do we know it's going to take a lot of work? Heck yeah. Are we willing to do the work? Heck yeah."
OKANOGAN 5, NOOKSACK VALLEY 4
Okanogan 203 000 0 - 5 8 3
Nooksack 200 101 0 - 4 8 0
WP: Norwill (n/a). LP: Kayla Struiksma (11-15). Highlights: Nooksack: Lindsay Hayes 2-4, RBI; Kayla Struiksma 1-4, 2 RBI.