Crusader softball gears up for state tourneys

MARYSVILLE — The Stilly Valley Crusaders’ U14 team wrapped up a six-team NSA practice tournament at Marysville-Pilchuck High School with a tie.

Still early in the team’s summer calendar, the Crusaders team — made up of girls from the last two state-champion Stilly Valley softball teams and a few girls from the Marysville area — took advantage of the five-week tournament, which concluded June 18, to get ready for upcoming state and world tournaments.

Playing against TPC, both teams carefully executed on defense, rarely allowing more than four batters per inning. Stilly Valley took the first lead in the fifth inning. Hit by a pitch, Kaylee Aune took first base and wild pitches allowed her to run the bases, taking home despite no other Crusader baserunners in the inning.

In the top of the fifth, TPC got a hit and a walk off of reliever Kaitlyn Botten and scored on a two-run single with one out. Stilly Valley got the next two outs in play and came back in the sixth inning. Kristin Backstrom led off with a hit. Another base hit, by Casey Zachry, moved Backstrom to second and a stolen base put runners on second and third. A pass ball scored Backstrom and tied the game 2-2. Outs left Zachry stranded at third.

With two outs, the Crusaders were rallying in the top of the seventh inning — Aune gave Stilly Valley its fourth hit of the game — when the game was called for time.

“We come back and play NSA Western World Series and ASA nationals,” said Stilly Valley coach Jim Barrio.

The girls are heading next to the NSA State Tournament in Pasco June 26.

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