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Dream Team advances to state
The Stilly Valley 11-12 year old girls fastpitch All-Star team has advanced to the state tournament.
Following an undefeated run through the postseason District 1 tournament, the Dream Team clinched a spot in the state playoffs with a 6-1 victory over the Mukilteo Warriors. The championship game took place at Perrigoue Memorial Field in Granite Falls on July 8.
In this tournament we gave up three runs, three unearned runs, said Dream Team coach Jim Barrio. We scored 45 runs in four games against our opponents.
Against Mukilteo, the game looked up for grabs for the better part of four innings. Stilly started strong when a first inning two-out rally got them on the scoreboard. Catcher Veronica Ladines laced a single into right field to start the rally and then Lynsey Amundson tripled to score Ladines. Amundson also scored on the play as an errant throw from the Mukilteo outfield allowed her to race home from third base to give Stilly an early 2-0 edge.
Amundson also pitched the game for Stilly, allowing Mukilteo one run in the bottom of the first inning, and then nothing after that. She struck out six batters and walked none.
I think we have the pitching to take state, continued Coach Barrio. We have three hard throwers and one bamboozler. If our bats stay strong, we can win it all.
The game remained in doubt until the top of the fifth inning, when the Stilly bats proved how dangerous they could be. A walk to Alexa Chase followed by a sacrifice bunt from Kristin Backstrom put a runner in scoring position. Arianna Barrio came through with a huge clutch single to put Stilly in front 3-1. At that point, the wheels began to fall off for Mukilteos hopes. Anna Whitehouse drilled a double into the gap in right-centerfield. Barrio chugged over to third base. With two outs, substitute Machyas Gilbertson clutched up for the backbreaking hit of the night. She looped a single over the head of the Mukilteo second baseman to score Barrio and give Stilly a 4-1 edge.
I was kind of nervous, said Gilbertson after the game. I wasnt sure if I was going to hit the ball, I wanted to swing at the right pitch.
Gilbertson did choose the right pitch and her key RBI gave the Dream Team a huge emotional lift heading into the last two innings.
Lynsey Amundson continued to shut down the Mukilteo bats as she yielded only a leadoff single in the fifth, before buckling down to retire the side.
In the top half of the sixth inning, the Stilly offense got going again. A leadoff double from Alexis Blakey put instant pressure on Mukilteo. Kaylee Aune sacrificed Blakey to third base. Alexa Chase attempted a squeeze bunt, but Blakey remained at third base while the Mukilteo pitcher held onto the ball. Chase reached safe at first and then stole second on the first pitch to Kristin Backstrom, putting runners on second and third base. Backstrom hit a shallow single to centerfield with both runners moving at the crack of the bat. Blakey scored easily and Chase slid home to put Stilly ahead 6-1.
Amundson sealed the deal for Stilly, getting the final three outs and the team celebrated on the diamond.
I feel like crying, said Coach Barrio. Weve been working for seven years to put this all together. We started building the team a long time ago and it has all come together for the girls.
The Dream Team will play Saturday July 14 in Camas at the State tournament.
At Granite Falls:
Stilly Valley 2 0 0 0 2 2
Mukilteo 1 0 0 0 0 0