The Lakewood Softball team travelled to Selah, Washington, to compete in the WIAA 2A State Softball Tournament on May 24-25.
Lakewood got off to a tough start on Friday morning as they opened the tournament with a strong defensive battle against the Ridgefield Spudders. Through seven innings the Cougars only allowed four runs but couldn’t get on the scoreboard as they lost 4-0.
A couple of hours later in the second game of the tournament, the Cougars defense and fielding would continue to be tested against the White River Hornets. A strong pitching effort, combined with team play, allowed one run in the fourth inning to decide the game as Lakewood took the victory 1-0.
In the final Friday game, Lakewood found themselves behind early against the Selah Vikings. Down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning, the Cougars refused to let go of their chance to make it to Saturday as they outscored the Vikings 13-2. Lakewood moved onto their fourth game off a 13-4 victory.
The Cougars matched up with the Lynden Lions on Saturday morning as they started slow and fell behind early, 7-0 heading into the fourth inning. However, Lakewood did not lay down and let the game slip away as they battled back over the next two innings to outscore the Lions 6-1. Entering the bottom of the seventh inning Lakewood needed two runs to close the gap, unfortunately, they were only able to score one as the fell to Lynden 8-7.
After going 2-2 in the State Tournament, Lakewood managed to take the seventh-place overall finish.
“Last year they were excited to go to State and this year they expected to be here playing in the State Tournament. This team is still really young and our expectations keep growing every year. We need to stay hungry, get better every day and we should be right back here fighting for a State Title,” said Lakewood Head Coach Travis Boortz.
The Cougars were led by strong performances from their young core of Riley Mae Swanson, Ashtyn Falor, Kaci Smith and Abby Freeman. Swanson, sophomore pitcher, started all four games on the mound as she pitched 23 innings and racked up 25 strikeouts. She also put up numbers at the plate with four hits, three runs, six RBIs, one single, two doubles and a homerun. Falor, sophomore catcher, led the team with seven hits in 13 at-bats that turned into two runs, one RBI, two stolen bases, five singles, a double and a homerun. Smith, freshman third baseman, had 11 at-bats with three hits, three walks, two runs, five RBIs, two singles and a homerun. Freeman, sophomore left fielder, recorded two hits, two walks, four runs, two singles and two stolen bases.
Lakewood relied on leadership from their seniors all season and continued to look to Olivia Poulton and Riley Molloy. Poulton, shortstop, had 13 at-bats as she earned two hits, three walks, two runs, a stolen base, a single and a double. Molloy, center fielder, finished with 12 at-bats, two hits, one walk, three runs, an RBI, one stolen base and two singles.
The Cougars will lose four seniors in the offseason but will return the majority of their varsity roster next season. With a strong core to build around, Lakewood will reload in the offseason and look to finish in the top four next year.