Lyncs advance to 1A Northwest District 1 championship. Mountaineers face Nooksack Valley in a loser-out game Saturday.
SEDRO-WOOLLEY – Hit the ball and make plays. Lynden Christian senior Anny Jansma said that’s what the Lyncs needed to do if they wanted to beat Mount Baker to punch their ticket to state on Thursday night.
The Lyncs definitely hit the ball. And they made just enough plays to edge Mount Baker in an offensive showcase from both teams, 19-17, in the 1A Northwest District 1 tournament. Lynden Christian easily handled Cedar Park Christian Bothell 15-3 earlier in the afternoon to advance.
Lynden Christian distanced itself from Mount Baker early, taking an 8-3 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning, but the Mountaineers wouldn’t go away quietly. Mount Baker tacked on two runs in the fourth to cut the lead to 8-5 after freshman Ashlynn Cloninger took Jansma deep for a home run.
That was just the beginning.
The Lyncs took that two-run lead into the bottom of the fifth inning, but it wouldn’t hold. Mount Baker plated 10 runs on nine hits in the inning to take a 15-8 lead. The wheels looked to be falling off the wagon for Lynden Christian.
Until the top of the sixth inning.
It was Lynden Christian’s turn to have a big inning as the Lyncs scored eight runs on eight hits to take back the lead at 16-15.
“If they can do it, we can do it,” Jansma said. “That’s just our mentality. Never getting down until the game is done.”
Lynden Christian coach Brooke Heystek said the team focused on hitting in practice all week after struggling at the plate the last couple weeks.
“Just hitting, hitting, hitting and getting all those reps in,” she said. “That really kind of showed today – all the work we’ve been doing in the last week.”
Mount Baker tied the game once again in the bottom of the sixth inning with an RBI single from junior Tyler Miles.
Knotted at 16 runs each headed into the top of the seventh, the Lyncs hit three consecutive singles from Faith Suprak, Anna Engels and Shanoah Whittern to reclaim the lead at 17-16 as Suprak scored on the single from Whittern. Lynden Christian added two more insurance runs as Reese Dykstra singled to bring in Engels and Whittern.
Jansma came back on in the bottom of the seventh inning to close out the game for the Lyncs.
“I definitely could not have gotten that win without them,” Jansma said. “All around together we just hit the ball well and did all of our jobs that we needed to do.
Heystek said she was proud of the mental toughness the Lyncs showed in the back-and-forth game.
“High school girls and being mentally tough is one of the hardest things ever,” Heystek said. “These girls, I’m so proud of them for stepping up, having each other’s backs and shaking the last play and going on with the next one. We’ve been working with that all season. They came out today and I just think really wanted it and here we are.”
With the win, the Lyncs earned a state berth and advance to the district title game on Saturday against Coupeville. Mount Baker also plays Saturday in a loser-out game against Nooksack Valley.
Game one for Mount Baker:
SEDRO-WOOLLEY – Mount Baker mercy-ruled South Whidbey for the second time this season -- this one with higher stakes.
The Mountaineers 15-runned the Falcons in four innings for a 17-2 victory in the 1A Northwest District 1 opener on Thursday at Janicki Fields.The win pushed the Mounties into the quarterfinals with Lynden Christian.
Junior Tyler Miles led the offensive onslaught going 3 for 4 with three runs and a double. Freshman Ashlynn Cloninger went 2 for 3 with two runs scored.
“We had some good hits but their pitcher struggled,” Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said. “We knew we were a little bit better team than they are. We played them in the beginning of the year and that’s important.”
Freshman pitcher Kaitlyn Rosenberg threw four scoreless innings for the win with a lively fastball and two-seam.
“We had confidence when we came into the game and it carried through the rest of the game,” Rosenberg said.
Lepper lifted the pressure from the team pre-game by telling them it’s just like every other game they’ve played this year.
“For me it didn’t feel like there was any pressure because we knew that if we played well we’d do good,” Rosenberg said.
Mount Baker 10-runned South Whidbey 11-0 back on March 25. The Mounties used that previous knowledge to draw 10 walks, and Lepper said those free bases made it easy for them.
"We’ve been up and down hitting, but the thing is we’ve made play when we’ve had to – which is always a big thing,” Lepper said. “There have been times we haven’t looked very good at the plate, and other times we have, it just depends if the girls do their job and today they did.”