After scoring 170 runs and tallying just 41 points against them in the season’s shortened 14 games, the Tornado softball team accomplished everything it could have possibly mastered this year, reigning undefeated.
“I’m extremely proud of my team,” said coach Lindsay Walton. “We had a goal for this season to be undefeated and we were able to accomplish that.”
Walton said the team had some exciting games with Timberline, Spanaway Lake and Peninsula.
“Against Timberline, the last two times we played them, we came from behind both times to win in the bottom and the top of the seventh. … We never quit,” Walton said.
At home against the team, at the bottom of the seventh, Yelm received two outs, but even with those marks against them, the team was able to come back and score four runs to win the game on April 16. So at the bottom of the event it was 10-7 Timberline, and Yelm came back to win 11-10.
The last time the teams played against each other, Yelm won 7-6 at Timberline. Going into the seventh inning, the Tornados were down six to five, but they were able to push two runs with one out and get ahead with a score of 7-6, holding the Blazers in the bottom of the seventh.
“(They were) two really awesome wins, almost like a playoff-type feel — as close as you were going to get to a playoff game given the situation in that we weren’t having playoffs this year,” Walton said. “So it was nice to have a couple of close games that were exciting. And obviously when it ends up in your favor, it’s more fun. But Timberline played two really great games. Hats off to them as well. They are a strong team.”
Yelm played Spanaway Lake earlier in the season, winning 11-7, but Walton said the final score was not indicative of how close the contest was.
Spanaway Lake got ahead with two runs in the first inning, then Yelm scored five in the second and one in the third. At that time, it was 6-2 Yelm, all the way to the sixth inning, when Spanaway Lake put up five.
“Actually, they were ahead 7-6 (Spanaway Lake) going into the sixth inning and then we put up five,” Walton said. “So the final score was 11-7, but it was still a very close game when you break it down.”
The outcome of the Peninsula game saw the Tornados victorious at 6-1.
“(Peninsula) had a really, really great pitcher,” Walton said. “We had one run in the first, one in the third, two in the fifth and two in the seventh. So we scored every other inning. Peninsula was able to push across in the sixth inning, but still … it was a close game. It was a 2-0 ball game going into the fifth.”
Walton said the season’s success couldn’t have been possible without the amazing support of its members, including outstanding players like Vivian Watts, Audrey Missildine and Kailei Thompson.
Watts pitched most innings as Yelm’s go-to pitcher, throwing 57 innings, with an ERA of 1.83.
“She was really solid for us on the mound and she helped us win a lot of games,” Watts said.
Missildine was the team’s catcher, with 63 innings behind the plate. She also had a 0.364 batting average, with a 0.480 on-base percentage.
“She was just a real leader on and off the field,” Walton said. “A lot of girls looked up to her to be the one to look to for advice, or to help or for just encouragement. She was really solid behind the plate and came through offensively.”
Thompson was a lefty slapper and played shortstop with a 0.531 batting average and a 0.596 on-base percentage.
“She just really was solid for us on the lead-off,” Walton said. “I would say nine out of 10 times that girl gets on base she was scoring, because she’s so fast. So she was a really consistent force to be reckoned with at the top of the lineup. She was tough to get out.”
The team’s final game saw a triumphant 10-0 victory over Ridge Ridge High School on May 1, but Walton said it was bittersweet.
“It was the last game and that was it,” Walton said. “It was kind of sad and I was trying to find the words to say ‘thank you’ and at the same time, just let them know how much I appreciate them and all the hard work that they put in … knowing that I wasn’t really going to be chatting with them all the next week. (It’s) a bummer to not be able to finish the season with our normal banquet and closure, but at the same time it was really exciting, because we met our goal. We were undefeated.”