WRHS FASTPITCH: Hornets hit a slow spot at state

The White River High fastpitch team learned a valuable lesson at the weekend’s Class 2A tournament at Carlon Park in Selah – you can often live by the sword, but sometimes you can also die by it.A powerful hitting Hornet contingent, which utilized its bat strength to take the Hornets on the golden ride to the state championships for the first time in nearly 20 years with an 18-6 mark, floundered at the plate on Friday while its opponents flourished. “Their hits found the gaps and ours didn’t, but that is the nature of this game,” coach Joe Sprouse said.In the opening day of the fastpitch festival, the Hornets were unable to produce their usual double digit yield of runs and consequently were ousted from the elite proceedings. White River was eliminated as it quickly suffered setbacks to Ellensburg 8-1 and North Mason 5-4 to meet its premature demise.Sprouse noted that the maroon and gold got valuable hitting from its usual sources in senior shortstop Brooke Paulson, sophomore slugger Sammie Mitchell and freshman outfielder Jordan Jacobs, but the team couldn’t string the hits together effectively enough to produce many runs.”When you rely primarily on great hitting to win games and those hits don’t come when you need them most, that’s just not a good thing,” explained Sprouse, who has taken the Hornets to new heights in his three years at the helm.Sprouse and his coaching staff realize this year’s team exceeded expectations.”With the exception of a handful of seniors sprinkled throughout our lineup we were really a pretty young squad this year,” Sprouse said, noting  that his greenhorn crew really raised some eyebrows during the 2011 outing.”All in all, the trip to Selah was a great opportunity and a fantastic learning experience for this group,” he added. “Now that they’ve had a little taste of what it takes to succeed, they will work hard in the offseason and accept the challenge to be an even stronger and better squad next season.” To comment on this story, view it online at www.courierherald.com. Reach John Leggett at jleggett@courierherald.com or 360 825-2555 ext. 5054.