Panther softball opens with two wins before running into Bearcats

Bonney Lake’s first two games of the spring were more reminiscent of a program that captured last season’s Class 3A state championship.

After starting the season with two victories, the girls of the Bonney Lake High softball program ran into some serious Saturday competition.

The result was a 5-1 loss to W.F. West, a nonleague contest staged on the neutral diamond at Auburn Riverside High School.

The Chehalis school, which competes in the Evergreen 2A League, has proven to be pretty tough during the season’s early stages. After two Saturday wins, the Bearcats were sitting pretty at 4-0 and had outscored their opponents 47-11.

“It was good for us to see a high-quality opponent,” coach Andrew Sage said of the loss.

Sage said his squad scattered “a bunch of hits” and had five line-drive outs that could have put more runs across the plate. In the end, he credited the Bearcats’ pitching. Also, the Panthers had a tough fourth inning, allowing three hits while committing two errors.

Bonney Lake’s first two games of the spring were more reminiscent of a program that captured last season’s Class 3A state championship: that means a potent offense and dominating performances from pitcher Brooke Nelson.

The spring campaign opened March 12 with a 6-1 victory over Class 4A Gig Harbor High and was followed two days later by a 10-0 thumping of Newport High, a 4A squad from the Bellevue School District.

The season opener was halted midway through the final inning due to thunder and lightning, but an extra turn at bat likely wouldn’t have saved the Tides. Nelson faced just 20 Gig Harbor batters and struck out 17; that included 11 of the first dozen she faced.

When the Panthers stepped to the plate, Gabby Jones went 3-for-4 and a trio of Bonney Lake hitters – Nelson, her sister Brynn and Anna Hook – had two hits apiece. Hook provided more than enough offense on her own, blasting a pair of home runs.

The victory over Newport was noteworthy due to the fact that the Knights are coming a season that saw them claim a fifth-place trophy in the 4A state tournament.

But Nelson was up to the challenge, allowing just two singles in her five innings of work. While tossing a shutout, the senior fanned 11 and walked one.

Hook again shower her power, smacking a three-run homer. Jones added two more hits, as did Brynn Nelson and Shelby Welfringer. Brook Nelson went 3-for-4 and crushed a double, a line drive that hit the top of a 10-foot fence 200 feet away.

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