Yelm softball sees offensive explosion in 18-3 victory over Ellensburg

Tornados go perfect 4-0 through the week, including wins over Peninsula, Prairie


Yelm High School’s softball team is riding a three-game winning streak after victories this past week over Peninsula High School, Prairie High School and, most recently, Ellensburg High School. 

The Tornados traveled to Bellevue College on Saturday, March 23, and defeated the Ellensburg Bulldogs, 18-3. The Tornados were scheduled to play East Valley High School following the contest against Ellensburg, however the game was canceled due to safety concerns presented by the pouring rain.

“All players were on fire against Ellensburg. They were aggressive yet disciplined at the plate,” head coach Lindsay Walton said. “The strong hitting performance will hopefully give each player that boost of confidence as we dive into league play against notoriously strong league programs like Gig Harbor and Timberline. (Playing at Bellevue College) gives the girls a ‘college game-like’ experience. The field is beautiful, and it’s a great opportunity to face teams from the east side.”

During the contest, senior Tornados Elissa Dewees and Madisyn Erickson each had strong showings at the plate for Yelm, as Dewees went 3 for 3 with four RBIs, and Erickson went 3 of 5 and collected five RBIs. Austin Hitchner also hit a triple early in the matchup and played solid defense at shortstop, her coach said. 

Due to the Tornados’ scoring explosion in the contest, Walton said some of the program’s younger players got to play. 

“The younger players are the future of the program, so the more reps they can get will only boost their confidence and leadership skills for this season and those to come,” Walton said. “There is a lot of pressure to perform when you are one of the younger athletes in the program, so giving opportunities to build trust and respect from the veteran players is key.”

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, March 19, the Tornados defeated the Peninsula Seahawks, 12-9, at Yelm High School. Each team collected 16 runs in the high-scoring South Sound Conference matchup. 

Peninsula took an early 1-0 lead, but the Tornados opened up the contest in the bottom of the first inning when the team scored eight runs on eight hits. Kylie Minker hit a first-inning single to score two. 

Yelm added to its lead in the bottom of the third inning when Hitchner collected an RBI single, making the contest 9-1. The big Tornados’ lead slowly shrank as Peninsula scored five runs on six hits in the top of the fourth inning, cutting the score down to 9-6, still in favor of the Tornados. 

Eventually, the Tornados led 10-9 in the bottom of the sixth inning but extended its lead to 12-9 after Caylee Roberts hit a solo home run to center field. Erickson collected an additional RBI single to extend the lead. 

Starting pitcher Mallory Hoke earned the victory for the Tornados. She allowed four earned runs on seven hits over 3 1/3 innings. Minker pitched 3 2/3 innings in relief for Yelm and allowed two runs across nine hits. She struck out three Peninsula batters. 

The Tornados’ winning ways continued on Wednesday, March 20, against Prairie High School at home, as Yelm defeated the Falcons, 10-6. Freshman Kamille Kautz had a strong performance in the non-conference outing as she collected three hits including a home run to center field and a single, along with three RBIs. 

The team dives into South Sound Conference action, next. The Tornados played Gig Harbor High School on Monday, March 25, and defeated the Tides, 15-3.

The Tornados are set to play conference opponents, Timberline, at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, March 28, at Yelm High School. They’ll also host the North Thurston Rams on Monday, April 8, as the team returns from spring break. 

“As we face two league opponents this week, we look to continue our offensive game of getting runners on and scoring often,” Walton said prior to the March 25 contest against Gig Harbor. “Our defense has had lots of reps, and being able to make those routine plays will be critical in the outcome of the game. It will be interesting to see how the league standings will start to shape up as we go full-steam ahead into league play. Our expectations are set high.”