Tornados softball drops matchup to Timberline, 7-2

Yelm returns to action April 8 with 12 conference matchups to play


Coming off of a dominant victory over the Gig Harbor Tides on Monday, March 25, the Yelm Tornados suffered their first South Sound Conference loss of the season, a 7-2 defeat by the Timberline Blazers, Thursday, March 28. 

Following the contest, Yelm’s head coach Lindsay Walton said the final score does not reflect how close the game could have been. 

“We beat ourselves in the first inning with costly errors. If you take away the first inning, it’s a 2-2 ball game in the bottom of the seventh,” Walton said. “Timberline’s pitching is probably some of the strongest pitching we will face in our league, so it’s always great to compete against that high caliber of skill since that’s what we will most likely see in the postseason.”

The Blazers jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning, with the first run scoring on an error, two additional runs from a Kassidy Jack double, and two additional runners scored from errors. The Blazers tacked on another two runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a 7-0 lead. 

The Tornados got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning following a Caylee Roberts single. After a fielding error, Roberts advanced to second base, and her teammate Austin Hitchner scored, cutting Timberline’s lead to 7-1. 

In the seventh inning, Roberts drew a bases-loaded walk to cut the deficit to 7-2, but her teammate Layah Hicks posted the final out of the game. Pitcher Jasmyn Polanco earned the victory for the Blazers, allowing five hits and two runs, zero earned, throughout seven innings. She struck out 10 batters and walked three. 

Mallory Hoke, Yelm’s starting pitcher, received the loss after pitching seven innings. She allowed seven runs, three earned, while striking out four batters and walking three. 

Following the contest, Walton said the first thing she told her team is that the loss against Timberline does not define the season, and that the Tornados beat themselves. 

“I don’t expect perfection from the girls, and I know off-days will happen for each athlete, however, we can’t all have off-days at the same time,” Walton said. “Each player accepted responsibility for their part in the final outcome, and they still have each other’s backs and trust, as do I, in each athlete.”

Earlier in the week, the Tornados earned a massive 15-3 victory over the Gig Harbor Tides. Yelm jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning after a two-run home run by Hitchner and a two-run RBI single from Kylie Minker.

Hitchner added another RBI in the second inning after she doubled, giving the Tornados a 5-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Gig Harbor scored its first run of the contest in the bottom of the second inning. Yelm scored three additional runs in the fourth inning but exploded in the sixth inning after scoring seven runners. 

The outburst was led by Madisyn Erickson’s RBI double, Miranda Hunt’s RBI groundout, Roberts’ two-RBI home run to left field, Jocelyn Lintz’s two-RBI double and Elissa Dewees’ RBI single. The Tornados led 15-3 in the top of the sixth inning to end the scoring. 

Sophomore Hoke earned the win for the Tornados. She gave up three runs, two earned, over six innings. She allowed just five hits and two walks throughout the contest, striking out five.

“The win over Gig Harbor felt good,” Walton said. “We hit the ball well and scored multiple innings. That’s what led to the victory, along with a great pitching performance from Mallory Hoke and Layah Hicks behind the plate, who threw out a runner attempting to steal second late in the game. The intensity and support in the dugout during our offensive innings were loud, and that helped keep the momentum on our side.”

The Tornados will go on a week-long hiatus for spring break but will return to action at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, April 8, to host the North Thurston Rams. They’ll hit the road and travel to Yauger Park for a 4 p.m. matchup, Wednesday, April 10, against the Capital Cougars. Yelm will finish its busy week at home at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, hosting the Central Kitsap Cougars. 

“We need to finish the rest of the season strong. After spring break and some much-needed rest for their minds and bodies, we will return with intensity and passion to get the wins we need to finish top of our league,” Walton said. 

“Teams seem to be beating up on each other, and finishing first is not out of the question,” she added. We plan on taking it one game at a time and never make the mistake of underestimating any opponent.”