YAKIMA - Twenty-eight innings in eight hours.
Win three straight games to earn tournament hardware. Win four and take home third place.
DeSales and Waitsburg-Prescott faced this daunting losers-bracket challenge at the start of Day 2 of the State 2B Softball Tournament here Saturday.
When the dust finally settled after 6 p.m., the DeSales Irish stood along the third base line clutching the crystal and flashing No.3 hand signs.
The Irish defeated Waitsburg-Prescott 13-4 to start the day, then dispatched Davenport 9-1, Colfax 6-5 and Napavine 10-8 to take third place honors.
DeSales 13, Waitsburg-Prescott 4
The Irish jumped on W-P early in game one putting up three runs in the first inning on four singles. Ali Zander's clutch two-out bloop into no-man's-land behind second base plated the second and third runs.
The Irish took advantage of an error and two walks with one out in the third. Centerfielder Janelle Hartford delivered a double to the left centerfield gap to clear the bases. Ashlyn Lyons doubled home Hartford in the next at bat.
W-P starting pitcher Jen Nichols settled down after Lyons' double. Nichols retired the next eight Irish in a row.
Meanwhile, W-P's offense engaged for a run in the fourth and two runs in the fifth-Hailey Goenen's fifth-inning RBI triple providing the biggest blow in the timeframe. W-P trailed 7-3.
The Irish answered back in the bottom of the fifth by taking advantage of an Ashley Wilson through-the-wickets fielding error that landed leadoff batter, Hartford, at second base. Hartford scored when Lyons lined a ball off Nichols midriff for a single.
Amanda Warnick grounded out to score Lyons one batter later.
W-P's last best chance to rally came in the top of the sixth. W-P loaded the bases with no outs. Megan Withers singled, Katie Hofer walked and Sarah Wilson reached on an error by DeSales shortstop Lexi Zander.
But Irish pitcher Lyons rose to the challenge, inducing the next two batters into fielder's choice plays that cut down W-P players at the plate.
W-P picked up a single unearned run in the inning on an error by DeSales catcher Amy Arnzen, then Lyons finished off the W-P side with another groundout to third.
DeSales scored four more times in the bottom of the sixth to post 13-4 victory.
Lyons finished the game 4-for-4 with four RBIs. Hartford was 3-for-4 with five RBIs.
"The girls came out, scored early and played a great game," DeSales coach Russ Vera said. "(Getting out of the sixth inning bases-loaded no-out jam) was huge. It took the air out of Waitsburg and gave the momentum back to us."
"If someone is going to go on and not be us, it's good that it's them," W-P coach Angie Potts said. "(DeSales) played well, and we did what we do when we play tight-give up too many runs."
DeSales 9, Davenport 1
Both starting pitchers mowed down their opponents the first time through the order.
DeSales' Lyons no-hit the Gorillas through three innings, while Davenport counterpart Kenzi Graber nearly matched the feat allowing just one hit through three.
DeSales missed out on a golden opportunity in the fourth. The Irish put two runners on with no outs thanks to a single by Arnzen and a Hartford hit-batsman free pass. Lyons singled home Arnzen and a wild pitch later both Hartford and Lyons stood in scoring position.
But Graber came back to strike out Warnick, and after a walk to Alex Buley, to retire Michele Prior and Marcella Perez on a foul fly and grounder to second respectively.
Up 1-0, DeSales didn't dally away its next opportunity. The Irish again loaded the bases with one out, then Lyons cleared them with one swing. Lyons belted a 3-run line drive triple to the gap in right center. Lexi Zander, Arnzen and Hartford scored.
Warnick plated Lyons with a single in the next at bat to boost the lead to 5-0.
The rout was officially on as the Irish chased Graber in the seventh and batted around for four more runs on just one hit, three walks and two errors.
Lyons struck out seven, while driving in four of DeSales' nine runs on offense.
"We coaches thought this was going to be a pitcher's duel," Vera said. "Then we started getting the timing down on their pitcher and started hitting the ball.
"We didn't hit the ball real hard," Vera continued. "We got just enough of the ball to get a hit. But it doesn't matter. It's a game of inches."
DeSales 6, Colfax 5
The most thrilling of the Irish games came against the Bulldogs.
For the first time all day, pitcher Lyons faltered in the first inning. Lyons issued two walks and two triples all of which came around to score in the first inning.
The first triple by Christa Nyholm most likely should have been a single, but DeSales left fielder Amanda Warnick misplayed the ball, charging it. The ball got behind her and Nyholm ended up at third. Warnick would atone for her mistake later in the game.
DeSales got one run back in the bottom of the first as Lexi Zander scored on a wild pitch and groundouts after reaching by means of being pitcher-plunked.
DeSales tied the game at 4-4 in the third. The Irish plated three on three singles and two walks. The clutch hit coming off the bat of Lyons with two outs.
Both teams remained scoreless through the next three innings. The Irish left a runner stranded at third in the sixth.
Lyons walked leadoff batter Brittney Burke to start the seventh. Burke advance to second on a Brooke Waldo sacrifice bunt. A Lyons wild pitch to the next batter moved Burke to third.
Burke scored when Nyholm smoked a sacrifice line drive to dead center field.
Colfax pitcher Amy Hickman pulled her team to within one out of advancing by striking out Bobbi Prior, and grounding out Lexi Zander to start the bottom of the seventh.
Two outs is all she would get.
Arnzen singled over second to start the rally. Hartford followed with a sharp single to left. Lyons tied the game with a diving fly ball double to left center that bounced just in front of an onrushing Dani Hearne.
Then, with runners at second and third, senior Amanda Warnick made her first inning worries fade with a walk-off single to center field.
"Amanda, who's been struggling all day, just came up with the biggest hit of her career today," Vera said.
"I didn't even know (the ballgame) was tied. I was just trying not to throw up from the pressure," Warnick said. "I swung at the first pitch and missed and said ‘oh great, there goes another one'. Then she pitched the next one right down the middle and I said, ‘OK, I'm hitting this'."
DeSales 10, Napavine 8
The fourth game of the day was a rematch of Day 1's second game.
Napavine put DeSales into the losers bracket Friday via a 22-5 pounding.
The Irish put two runs on the board in the second inning. Ali Zander's trot home on a passed ball, and Marcella Perez's RBI single accounted for the scoring.
Napavine answered with two in the top of the third to tie the score 2-2. DeSales retook the lead in the bottom of the inning with three more runs, two coming on a 2-RBI single by Ali Zander.
Napavine tallied another run in fourth, before the Irish put the game seemingly out of reach in the fifth.
Lyons scored on an error by pitcher Grace Hylton that allowed Alex Buley to reach safely. Then with two outs, nine-hole hitter Perez blasted a three-run homer to push the lead to six runs, 9-3.
Napavine did not quit, as the Tigers got all four runs back in the top of the sixth thanks to three singles, an error and a two-out RBI triple by Ali Brossard.
Ali Zander singled in Hartford to push the lead to 10-7 after six.
Then the Irish weathered a two-out RBI double by Teryn Pannette, and a walk that put the tying run on at first.
Lyons got Lacye Smith to ground back to the circle. Lyons threw to Buley for the out. The long day was over and the celebration began.
"It means so much, going out like this," senior Perez said. "The game against Colfax really got us riled up and we came into this game really wanting it."
"It was a real round-about way to get (to third place)," Lexi Zander said. "We were kind of shocked to be here. We worked really, really hard. Our pitcher pitched four games today. We stepped up when we needed a hit. We held the field down on defense."
"We hadn't been to state since our sophomore year," Michele Prior said. "To go out strong like this is just great."
The third place Irish lose seniors Michele Prior, Lexi Zander, Marcella Perez and Amanda Warnick to graduation. Ashlyn Lyons and Amy Arnzen are eighth graders.
DeSales 13, W-P 4
W-P 000 121 0 - 4 7 3
DeSales 340 024 x - 13 12 4
Nichols, Grende (6) and Withers; Lyons and Arnzen.
HR - none.
Hits - W-P: Goenen 2, A. Wilson 2, Withers, S. Wilson, Henze; DeSales: Arnzen 2, Hartford 3, Lyons 4, A. Zander, M. Prior.
DeSales 9, Davenport 1
DeSales 000 140 4 - 9 8 1
Davenport 000 010 x - 1 3 2
Lyons and Arnzen; Graber, M. Brantley (7) and Choate.
HR - none.
Hits - DeSales: L. Zander, Arnzen, Hartford, Lyons 2, Warnick 2, Buley, Prior; Davenport: Choate, M. Brantley, Montgomery.
DeSales 6, Colfax 5
Colfax 400 000 1 - 5 6 1
DeSales 103 000 2 - 6 10 1
Hickman and Hall; Lyons and Arnzen.
HR - none.
Hits - Colfax: Nyholm 3, Hall 2, Herne; DeSales: Arnzen 2, Hartford, Lyons 3, Warnick 2, Buley 2.
DeSales 10, Napavine 8
Napavine 002 104 1 - 8 12 2
DeSales 023 041 x - 10 15 1
Hylton and May; Lyons and Arnzen.
HR - DeSales: Perez.
Hits - Napavine: Panette, Santiago 2, Morris, Brossard 2, May 4, Goodland 2; DeSales: L. Zander, Arnzen 2, Hartford 3, Lyons 2, Warnick, A. Zander 3, Buley 2, Perez.