A dream season came to a most dramatic, exciting and fulfilling close Saturday afternoon, when the Bonney Lake Panthers walked off the diamond as state Class 3A softball champions.
The title trek involved four victories in two days, all at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey. In the end, the Panthers were hoisting the championship trophy and boasting a season record of 26-2 that included a perfect eight-game sweep in the district and state tournaments.
The finale was uncharted territory for coach Andrew Sage and his Panther squad, who had to go 13 innings to earn an 8-5 victory over Snohomish. The final five innings were played under international tie-breaker rules, which dictate that – beginning with the ninth – each inning begins with a runner on second.
The seven innings of regulation play had concluded with a 1-1 deadlock and each team added solo runs in the ninth, 10th and 12th innings. Bonney Lake finally blew things open in the 13th, thanks largely to a two-run double by Brynne Nelson that plated Raelyn Kimmel and moved Brooke Nelson to third. The older of the Nelson sisters then scored on a wild pitch and the final runs came on a sharp single by Desiree Solberg.
Brooke Nelson, a junior who has committed to the University of Washington, was, as usual, a dominating, two-way force. She went the distance in the finale as a pitcher and, during the tourney, crushed three home runs.
To reach the championship game, Bonney Lake had blanked Juanita 8-0, beat Edmonds-Woodway 4-2 and, in the semifinals, slipped past Mt. Spokane 3-2.
WHITE RIVER TRACK AND FIELD
The top Hornet performance was turned in by the girls 4×400 relay crew of Chloe Mitchell, Chloe Anastasi, Taylor Schmidtke and Tori Schmidtke. They clocked a time of 3:57.71 to place second in the Class 2A field.
In the 4×100 relay, the Hornet quartet of Hannah McGinnes, Tori Schmidtke, Mitchell and Anastasi placed sixth.
Individually, Tori Schmidtke placed fifth in the 400 meters and J’Kira Wolbrecht tied for 12th in the long jump. Makayla Melcher competed in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdle races.
Three White River boys had earned state berth but finished out of the running. Joel Slominski made the trip in the 3,200 meters, Zach Kayner was in the pole vault and Thomas Cox went in the javelin.
BONNEY LAKE TRACK AND FIELD
The big story here was Dreakeanna Adair, who not only won her third consecutive discus title, but did so in convincing fashion. The Panther senior, bouncing back from a winter injury, won the 3A event with a toss of 141 feet, 10 inches; her nearest rival trailed by seven feet.
Also representing the Panther girls at state were Katie Fryberger, who tied f or 12th in the high jump, and Tanya Dean, who had qualified in both hurdles races.
Among the Bonney Lake boys, Donovan Henderson finished third in the triple jump and made the finals in the long jump but did not place. Jackson Gibbon finished ninth in the shot put and 10th in the discus. Amitri Allen competed in the 400 meters but did not make the finals.
ENUMCLAW TRACK AND FIELD
Connery McLaughlin topped the 4A field with a throw of 199-11, handily winning the javelin competition.
Also in the javelin, teammate Caleb Matson was 12th. Other EHS boys at state were Carson Christensen, who placed eighth in the long jump, and Bryson Engebretsen, who placed 13th in the pole vault and also competed in the 110-meter hurdles.
For the Enumclaw High girls, Hunter Storm placed ninth in the 1,600 meters and also ran the 3,200. Emmie Neu competed in the high jump and EHS had a crew in the 4×400 relay.
SUMNER TRACK AND FIELD
David Davydenko led the Spartans by placing third in the triple jump, bounding 45-11. Donovan Clark placed fifth in the 110-meter hurdles and the SHS 4×100 relay team (Deontrae Stoudemire, Clark, Derek Lee and Tre Weed) also took fifth.
On the girls side, Emma Sjolund ran the 800 meters but did not advance to the finals.
SUMNER BOYS SOCCER
The Sumner Spartans claimed third-place honors in the state Class 4A tournament, swamping Eastmont 6-1 Saturday.
The 4A finals were contested at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
The Spartans had advanced to the championship weekend as one of only four teams remaining in the 4A running. In the semifinals, Sumner fell 1-0 to Skyline.
Jade Lancaster advanced to the championship round for the third year in a row. This time, she took second in the field, falling 6-2, 6-4 to Issaquah High’s Karina Chao.
Lancaster has built an impressive resumé, winning the 3A title two years ago and the 4A crown last season.
Also at state for Sumner were the doubles pair of Tayva and Cabri Jacobsen. The sisters dropped their first two tourney matches and were eliminated.
WHITE RIVER SOFTBALL
The Hornets had qualified again for the Class 2A state tourney at Selah’s Carlon Park.
White River lost two games Saturday and was eliminated. The tourney opened with a 10-0 loss to a W.F. West squad that eventually placed third, then ended with an 8-5 loss to Lakewood.