YAKIMA — District IV champion Naselle went 1-2 at the 1B State softball tournament Friday and Saturday May 24-25, an event where Eastern Washington teams finished 6-0 in matchups against the West.
Naselle kept quarterfinals against Inchelium competitive through five innings before the Hornets pulled away in the sixth for an 18-5 win. The Comets beat Coastal League rival Taholah 17-2 in the Friday night game, then lost 11-2 against Pomeroy on Saturday. Almira-Coulee-Hartline won the tournament with a 2-1 win over Colton in finals.
The Naselle girls reached State in all three sports seasons this year, making it in volleyball, basketball and softball. The boys teams had the same accomplishment, going in football, basketball and baseball.
“It’s been a big deal [at Naselle High School],” senior outfielder Kenzie Glenn said. “It couldn’t have ended a better way, especially to make it in basketball and softball. And to do it with my best friends was great. I’m glad I switched to softball this year.”
“The girls haven’t made it in basketball or softball for a while,” senior third baseman Hailey Weston said. “We were an era of seniors that created something special.”
Inchelium 18, Naselle 5
Rylee Desautel went 5 for 5 with four doubles, hard-throwing Meika Heath got her high fastball by Comet hitters, and the Hornets broke open a 7-4 game with an 11-run sixth inning.
The Hornets scored three runs in the first. Rylee Desautel doubled and two batters later Amaya Simpson hit a hard grounder on Brynn Tarabochia’s ankle-high pitch that took a high hop and got through for another double.
Leading off the second, Sammi Stensgar got an inside fastball from Tarabochia and turned on it. The pitch is usually fouled off or taken for a strike west of the mountains, but Stensgar, the number eight hitter for the Hornets, hit it out to center for a home run.
Heath, who struck out eight batters in five innings, kept the Comets hitless until Peyton Dalton’s bunt single with one out in the third. Dalton scored on a Kylee Tarabochia sacrifice grounder to cut the lead to 5-1. Hollie Haataia ripped a 2-0 pitch for a double but was stranded in the fourth.
“We don’t normally see that kind of speed in our District,” Taylor Gudmundsen said of Heath’s velocity. “Other than maybe when we played Ocosta or Winlock, we haven’t seen it before.”
The Comets trailed 7-1 going into the bottom of the fifth but got their offense going with three runs. Tarabochia had Naselle’s third hit, an infield single, to drive in a run, then was picked off first by catcher Chenoa Erickson. Kylee Tarabochia walked, and Lily Harman drove her in with a hard single past short. Haataia battled back from an 0-2 count, fouling off the high fastball and taking two straight balls, but Heath got a call on a pitch that was letter high or higher for the second out. Two batters later, with two on in a 7-4 game, Heath fell behind 3-0 on Hailey Weston but came back to strike her out.
Desautel sparked Inchelium’s 11-run sixth with two doubles, and Amaya Simpson’s two-run home run during the inning made it 18-4.
In the bottom of the inning Mia Watson poked a double down the left-field line against reliever Rylee Desautel to bring home Taylor Gudmundsen with the final run of the game, which ended after six innings on the ten-run rule.
Naselle 17, Taholah 2
Taholah, which reached State on the strength of a comeback victory to upset Rainier Christian, took on the Comets in the consolation bracket on Friday evening. On the mound they had Chastity Seymour, who featured a rise ball. The Chitwhins played Naselle even at 1-1 through two innings, but Naselle broke the game open in the third, scoring nine runs after there were two outs and nobody on.
In the first inning, after three Comet errors, the Chitwhins had a run in, two on and one out. Brynn Tarabochia got a swing and miss with a vicious sinking pitch, then nailed the outside corner with a breaking ball for the called strike three. She then induced a first-pitch tapper back to the mound for the final out of the inning. In the second she was responsible for all three outs, fielding another grounder before striking out back-to-back batters.
Lily Harman led off the Naselle second with a ground-rule double, then came around to score on a Courtney Paul single.
Comet hitters at times were able to lay off the high riseball, while jumping on the pitch when it peaked too early and hung a bit. Kylee Tarabochia got Naselle’s two-out rally going after a four-pitch walk to Brynn. She laid off one of Seymour’s best pitches, a called strike at the top of the zone. Then, when the next pitch came down a bit, she lined it through the left side. Back-to-back singles by Harman and Hollie Haataia followed, sparking Naselle’s nine-run inning for a 10-1 lead.
Naselle scored seven runs against a wild Taholah reliever in the fourth for a 17-2 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Tarabochia snagged a hard one-hopper to the left of the mound, threw to Lily Harman for the out at first, and Harman threw home to nail a runner trying to score, completing the 1-3-2 double-play. That play ended the game, as the Comets led by 15 runs after a completed fourth inning to win by the mercy rule.
Pomeroy 11, Naselle 2
Natalie Bryson and Keely Maves each tripled in Pomeroy’s three-run first inning. But Tarabochia, who pitched 16 innings over the two-day tournament, kept the score there for a while. She got Avery Ruchert to foul off a pair of breaking pitches, then got a fastball by her for the second out of the first inning, starting a streak in which she retired eight of 11 batters.
However, Naselle was baffled by the movement on Heidi Heytvelt’s pitches, taking numerous called strikes and beating other pitches into the ground. Pomeroy pulled away in the fourth, when three errors and a strike-three passed ball led to a seven-run inning.
Brynn Tarabochia walked and scored Naselle’s first run on a third-inning double-steal with Lily Harman. Pomeroy was alert to the double steal; their shortstop came way in to receive the catcher’s throw and went home right away. The throw beat a sliding Tarabochia, but Pomeroy’s catcher dropped the ball and Tarabochia was safe.
In the fifth, Hollie Haataia hit a hard ground ball past first to score Kylee Tarabochia. In the seventh, Brynn and Kylee Tarabochia had back-to-back singles, but Pomeroy escaped the jam to close out the win.
The Comets were unbeaten in Coastal League play this year and beat Quilcene to claim the district championship. Their season included a non-league victory over Ocosta, which went 2-2 at 2B state last weekend.