CENTRALIA — Winlock pitcher Jenna Jones struck out eight of nine Ilwaco hitters her first time through the lineup, on her way to a five-inning no-hitter in the Cardinals’ 15-0 victory over the Fishermen in the first round of the district playoffs Monday, May 14, ending Ilwaco’s season. Winlock, the fifth-place Central League team, improved to 16-5, but was eliminated later in the week with losses to Adna and Ocosta. Ilwaco finished 5-10.
Number six hitter Asu Herrera-Sanchez was the only Ilwaco hitter to put the ball in play against Jones the first time through the lineup, grounding out to second.
“She had pretty decent (fastball) speed,” Ilwaco coach Barbara Patana said of Jones. “She had to get one time through the lineup before we really adjusted. Each hitter pretty much had to see her once before making adjustments; they kept chasing her high pitches. And those (Centralia-based) umpires don’t call that high pitch (a strike), so we had to lay off it.”
Jones wasn’t as dominant the second time through, which began with a lineout to second by Lindsy Agee. Kaytlenn Whelden followed by reaching on an error at second, becoming Ilwaco’s only base runner.
But by that time, Winlock had a 9-0 lead. Six more Cardinal runs in the top of the fifth meant that time was running out on the Fishermen; the game ended after five innings on the ten-run rule. Patana said errors hurt Ilwaco, but cited Emma Brundage’s catch of a hard-hit line drive in center to take away an extra-base hit as the defensive highlight of the game.
For Winlock, Jones finished with 10 strikeouts, no walks, and went 3 for 3 with a double.
Arianna Bell pitched for Ilwaco, ending a remarkable career she began as an All-League second baseman in eighth grade. Bell, a captain since her freshman year, has been a fixture on the pitching mound in the four years since and consistently hit the ball hard. She brought aggressiveness to Ilwaco softball with her daredevil base running. These risks seemed to pay off more often than not, as she had a knack for catching fielders and catchers off guard and sensing vulnerability.
“She’s phenomenal, and she’s going to be missed a lot,” Patana said. “She’s a great leader and she’s been a huge presence on the team.”
Asu Herrera-Sanchez and Mckenzie Mulinix also had their careers come to an end.
“I’m going to really miss them all,” Patana said. “Asu was a very hard worker. She was always the first to do things like loading and unloading gear at games. She tried to keep everyone on track, but she had a great sense of humor. So did McKenzie; she was very lighthearted. When she wasn’t there, you noticed the difference in the dugout.”
Ilwaco, which finished fourth in the Pacific League, incorporated six freshman this season and several other softball newcomers, who will have a chance to build on what they did this year.