Tornados softball shines on senior day with 12-3 victory over Hawks

Yelm loses to non-conference Rogers in final matchup of regular season


Despite a slow start from the Tornados offense, the Yelm softball program shined on senior day as the team secured a 12-3 victory over the River Ridge Hawks on May 9.

Following the contest, Yelm celebrated seven seniors from the varsity and junior varsity teams. They were joined by family and friends, while head coach Lindsay Walton delivered a message about each senior. This year’s senior class of athletes on the team included Trissani and Tearra Madigan, Kyara Fitzpatrick, Alicia Burnett, Carley Waite, Miranda Hunt, Madisyn Erickson and Elissa Dewees.

“This year’s senior class has been a fun and dedicated group of athletes,” Walton said. “They have worked very hard and led their teammates with enthusiasm and passion.”

Yelm trailed 2-0 until the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Tornados tied it up at 2 apiece. Mallory Hoke, who also started at pitcher for Yelm, collected the first RBI of the game as she scored second baseman Jocelyn Lintz with an RBI single. Kamden Verone tied it up after scoring on an error by the Hawks’ third baseman.

Yelm gained a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning after first baseman Caylee Roberts laid down a bunt and eventually advanced to second, scoring shortstop Austin Hitchner and third baseman Kamille Kautz. The Tornados added two more runs later in the inning after Lintz hit a bunt down the first-base line, which the right fielder over ran, allowing the ball to roll to the wall. Lintz and Roberts each scored after the bunt single turned into an inside the park home run. The Tornados led 6-2 going into the sixth inning.

“Small ball is fun and effective when you can place the ball down the lines as Lintz and Roberts managed. When you have speed on the bases, small ball becomes more difficult to defend, and you must react quickly,” Walton said. “Ultimately, small ball is what changed the momentum for us in the game and got us the win. We were able to build on that momentum and get some big hits later in the game. We play our best when energy is up, and this will be key come districts.”

The Hawks scored on a home run to add to their score in the top of the sixth inning but still trailed 6-3. The Tornados offense remained hot in the sixth inning as Hitchner collected three RBIs after smashing a home run to center field. Center fielder Dewees and right fielder Erickson scored on the play to give the Tornados a 9-3 lead. Riley Smith scored on an error for the Tornados to give the team a 10-3 lead before Hoke collected an RBI double. Yelm led 11-3.

Left fielder Waite grounded into a double play for two outs in the sixth inning, but Kylie Minker still scored. Yelm led 12-3, which was ultimately the final score. Hoke picked up the win for the Tornados, pitching a complete game and striking out eight Hawks. She allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits and one walk.

Three Tornados, Hitchner, Roberts and Lintz, led the team in hits with two apiece. Hitchner led Yelm in RBIs after picking up three, while Roberts and Hoke each added two RBIs to their season tallies. As a team, the Tornados collected 13 hits.

With the regular season concluded, Yelm turns its attention fully to the postseason. The Tornados’ first matchup of the district playoffs will take place against Silas High School at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 16, at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey. Win or lose, Yelm will play again at 12:30 p.m.

“We are hopeful to get a win in game one as long as we don’t beat ourselves,” Walton said. “Our defense has to be on point, and we must push runs across when we get runners on either through small ball or timely hits.”