By Mike Maltais
The Liberty Bell High School varsity softball team split a pair of games in district competition at Ephrata on Saturday and won the right to meet Darrington in the first round at the state championships in Yakima on Friday (May 30).
The Lady Lions swept by White Swan, 11-1, but lost in the second round to Kittitas, 11-1.
White Swan loses
It took Liberty Bell about an inning to size up the Cougars’ pitcher, and after a two-run first the Lady Lions opened up with six runs in the second en route to a five-inning victory.
White Swan gave up only four walks from the pitcher’s mound but Liberty Bell capitalized on 12 hits from half a dozen batters to keep the girls rounding the bases.
“There were a lot of hittable balls,” said coach Lee Pilkinton.
Katherine Tannehill hit 3-4, Kuirstin Pilkinton went 2-4 with three runs and two runs-batted-in (RBIs), and Lauren Ochoa connected on 2-3 for two runs and three RBIs. Five Lady Lions smacked doubles including pitcher Kelsey Baldwin, who held the Cougars to only a few hits.
A single by senior Julie McMillan reached the mandatory 10-point mercy rule when Devin Surface crossed the plate for Liberty Bell’s 11th score.
Good pitching helped give Kittitas the edge over Liberty Bell as the Lady Lions were held to three hits and one run against the Coyotes.
“She had good control and didn’t walk anybody,” Pilkinton said of the Kittitas hurler.
“She had a good fastball and curve and our batters hadn’t seen those this year.”
Baylee Canedo, Carly McMeans and Kuirstin Pilkinton each got a hit, with Pilkinton’s single bringing McMeans across home plate in the third inning.
In their second consecutive return to state, the Lady Lions will meet Darrington, whose 4-4 league record makes the Loggers a good match for Liberty Bell, coach Pilkinton said.
“If we get by them we will face one of the two teams we placed last year, Napavine or Northwest Christian,” he said.