Lynden’s softball team has qualified for the Class 2A State Tournament every year since Breanna Swendt was in fourth grade. Now it’s the iron-armed freshman’s turn.
Swendt (16-5) pitched her most impressive and most important games, both under loser-out pressure, to help the Lions (18-6) qualify for state for the sixth consecutive year in the Northwest District Tournament on Friday, May 20, at Janicki Fields.
In the winner-to-state game for third place, Swendt received error-free defense in a 5-2 win over Anacortes, which scored 36 runs in its first three district games. In the loser-out semifinal, Swendt recovered from giving up six runs in the first two innings to Sehome – which batted well over .400 as a team – and allowed the Lions (18-6) to rally for a pressure-packed 13-8 win.
In other words, Swendt allowed only four runs in the final 12 innings of her biggest day.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
“Our coach (Steve Petersen) told me he believed in me (after Sehome’s five-run second inning),” she said. “We played great defense and I located my pitches where I’m supposed to locate them. And we’re a real good comeback team – we’ve had a lot of games like that.”
Said Petersen: “She’s a hard nosed kid … I feel really fortunate to beat teams as good as Sehome (18-5) and Anacortes (14-10),” which eliminated Archbishop Murphy 12-9.
Lynden’s Megan Paoli, Elisa Kooiman and Alexis Fredin each had two hits and combined to score four runs and drive home two against Anacortes. No. 9 hitter Olivia Wittenberg – who went 3 for 3 against Sehome – singled in her first at-bat against Anacortes in the second inning and scored on a wild pitch for a 3-1 lead.
Kooiman’s single, Fredin’s fence-rattling double and a grounder by Tayler Eshuis produced two more runs.
Against Sehome, Fredin and Morgan Black hit consecutive homers to tie it 6-6 in the fifth, with Black’s homer her third of the tournament. A hit by Eshuis set up RBI singles by Wittenberg and Kooiman to snap the tie. Kooiman, Fredin, Eschuis and Amanda Cunningham – who supported Swendt with two tough catches in left against Anacortes – had two hits each. Freshman Lyndsey McLachlan hit an RBI double in a five-run sixth for a 13-6 lead.
McDOWELL HITS 11TH HOMER
Sehome sophomore Tori McDowell hit the game’s first pitch for her 11th home run and Sehome’s 28th. McDowell finished 3 for 5 and Samantha Hruby went 3 for 4 while Rebekah Miksovsky and Taryn Clark each had two hits as Swendt weathered 13 hits by Sehome.
Lynden turned in a remarkable four-inning stretch against the Mariners, sending 30 batters to the plate and getting 13 runs and 13 hits, after the Lions went hitless in the first two innings.
Cascade Conference champion Cedarcrest (20-3) took the title with a 13-7 win over Northwest Conference titlist Sedro-Woolley (18-4).