Jackson and Snohomish will play for the 4A Northwest District championship this Thursday.
Below are recaps of each of the four games played Tuesday in the district playoffs.
Jackson 5, Lake Stevens 2
Frost returned to the mound for Jackson after her stellar first game and brought more of the same. She struck out seven in a complete game, helping get the Timberwolves to the district championship game.
Last week, Lake Stevens beat Jackson 4-0 in a seeding game for the district tournament, giving the Vikings the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. The two regular season meetings between these two teams were decided by a total of two runs. Needless to say, this is a rivalry game.
“Lake Stevens just makes us a better team,” Frost said. “It’s a good game every time and they just give us a run for our money, and that’s what makes us a better team.”
The Timberwolves got their bats going early with Kristen Scott scoring Sam Mutolo in the top of the first on a single.
Lake Stevens answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning on an error, but Frost kept the Vikings’ offense quiet until Makala Akers hit a solo home run at the beginning of the seventh — it was 5-1 prior to that.
Losing in that seeding game left Jackson with a bad taste in its mouth, leading to extra motivation Tuesday.
“The kids just decided that after last week they wanted a different result today,” head coach Kyle Peacocke said.
Other highlights in the second game of the night for Jackson: Sam Mutolo went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs. Taylor Adams hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth to make it 5-1. — Pete Treperinas
Snohomish 3, Monroe 0
Snohomish shut out Monroe in the Northwest District One semifinals and advanced to the district championship game against Jackson.
Snohomish pitchers Bailey Greenlee and Alyssa Simons were phenomenal, combining for 10 strikeouts in seven innings.
When Greenlee was taken out after the fourth inning, she had allowed just two hits and walked none. Greenlee, a freshman, typically starts for Snohomish, and Kennedy said she is mentally tough on the mound, which is unusual for a freshman.
“They’re facing kids about to go to college, and it doesn’t bother her one bit,” Kennedy said. “I think she thrives on that challenge. It’s pretty impressive stuff.”
Kennedy said the two have split game time for the last 13 games, and in that period have not lost a single match-up. Both pitchers have nine wins.
“You don’t change what works, even though they would love to throw a whole game,” Kennedy said.
When Greenlee moved over to third base in the fifth inning, she said she had full confidence in Simons in the circle:
Snohomish took the lead quickly, and didn’t give it up. In the top of the first, catcher Morgan Greenlee hit a single to left field, bringing home her sister, Bailey.
In the bottom of the fifth, Snohomish added to its tally. Simons smacked a single to shortstop, scoring Morgan. Ame Bridgeman followed it up with an RBI double to right, bringing home Simons.
Snohomish is eyeing its second consecutive district title, but Panthers coach Lou Kennedy said it never gets to be old hat.
“It took us a long time to get here,” said Kennedy. “First six of 11 years, we were just happy to make it to this place. Right now, this team is pretty surprising to me. It’s amazing that this many kids came together this quickly to play together. I did not expect this when we started.”
Championship and state tournament bid aside, Snohomish has another incentive to win Thursday. The loser’s state tournament play-in game is Friday, the same as Snohomish’s prom. — Allison Thomasseau
Jackson 2, Mount Vernon 0
To get to the final, Jackson had to win two games Tuesday at Sky River Park in Monroe (Lake Stevens and Snohomish got byes as the No. 1 and 2 seeds in the league).
Jackson pitcher Sophia Frost carried the Timberwolves to a 2-0 win over Mount Vernon in the opening round of the 4A Northwest District playoffs.
While she did get those two runs of support in the bottom of the second, Frost’s performance – 16 strikeouts in seven innings – was the difference maker.
In both of the regular season meetings with Mount Vernon, Jackson won 10-0. But as Jackson head coach Kyle Peacocke will tell you, moving on is all that counts.
“There’s no style points in the playoffs,” he said. “You just got to get it done. It didn’t go exactly how we would’ve liked it to but that’s okay. I’ll take the W.”
Frost has been one of the top pitchers in Wesco 4A all season, so Tuesday’s showing didn’t surprise Peacocke.
“She’s been great,” he said of Frost. “She’s a work horse and she’ll be ready to go. We can count on her.”
Aside from the two runs in the second, Mount Vernon pitcher Paityn Cyr also had a good outing. She gave up six hits, striking out four, and walking two.
Jackson’s second game of the day — against Lake Stevens — started about 30 minutes after the conclusion of its first game. — Pete Treperinas
Monroe 7, Kamiak 1
Monroe topped Kamiak in the district One playoffs play-in game, and advanced to semifinals.
Sophomore third baseman Kacey Hvitved was on fire for Monroe, collecting three RBI on two hits, including a double. Also notable was Olivia Fenner, who had two RBI, and Morgan Allen, who had a double and scored twice.
“[Hvitved] came through in a lot of clutch situations when we needed to score runs from second,” said Monroe coach Mike Birch. “She did a great job tonight. She did exactly what I expected her to do.”
Kamiak scored first, off third baseman Cecilia Robbins’ single, which brought home Jenna Stupey.
The Bearcats didn’t get on the board until the bottom of the third inning, which Birch credited to nerves. Even though Monroe placed third in districts last year, district playoffs is a new experience for most of the team, which includes five freshmen.
“They’ve played some tournaments during the summer, but high school is a different animal,” said Birch. “Every game, there’s so much pressure on every single game.”
Freshman pitcher McKenzie Schulz struck out four, and allowed four hits in six innings of work.
She was impressive with runners in scoring position as well. With one out in the top of the third inning and bases loaded, Schulz induced a groundout at home and a fly out to right, keeping Kamiak from furthering its lead.
Reliever Sarah Reeves took over the final inning, but Schulz didn’t get much rest – 30 minutes later she was back in the circle for a full game against Snohomish. — Allison Thomasseau