Orcas softball: Lady Vikes trounce La Conner for league championship, guaranteed spot at State

Freshman Bella Nigretto breaks for first in a previous game. Nigretto hit a grand slam against La Conner on May 17.

On May 17 the lady Vikings traveled to La Conner for their final regular season game. The day would determine the 2011 league champions and affect the lineup for district and state championships.

The Vikings brought their A-game.

With the 10-8, come-from-behind win, the team was crowned league champions and guaranteed a berth at the state championships on May 26.

“I am very excited for districts, and… I can’t wait for state,” said senior player Lindsay Anderson. “No matter how we do at state, we always have such a fun time, and face great teams, and it’s definitely an experience we’ll all always remember. At this point, we’re having a lot of fun and we can’t wait for whatever the other teams can throw at us!”

Emily Bodenhamer rung in the first at-bat of the game with a hard-swinging triple to the fence and flew home on a double nailed by Lindsay Anderson.

After a stolen base, Anderson came home on passed ball.

Bodenhamer and Anderson struck again in the third inning: Bodenhamer led off with a single, stole second and third and sailed home on a double by Anderson.

“With surgical precision, great base running and timely hitting with runners in scoring position, they did it again in the third inning,” said head coach Scott Harris.

The Vikings rolled into the fourth inning sitting pretty with a 3-0 lead, when the Braves “put some pressure on,” said Harris, coming out of nowhere to score six runs.

Suddenly the girls found themselves behind by three at the top of the fifth.

They faced the fight with renewed determination.

Kathryn Tidwell hit a single, followed by Anderson and Bronn on walks. Bruland hit a single to bring Tidwell home, keeping the bases loaded.

With two outs, freshman Bella Nigretto hit a grand slam, sending Anderson, Bronn, Bruland and herself home to bring the score to 8-6.

“Bella’s shot was one for the ages, sending the crowd into a frenzy,” said Harris. “It was timely and real needed – we had just gone through a really tough inning… It’s a huge park. It was a big, big hit and it went a long ways.”

Viking fans kept cheering as Alicia Susol let fly a single, followed by Adria Garcia with a double shot to the fence that brought in Smart (pinch running for Susol) for a sixth run: Vikings ahead 9-6.

Tight Orcas defense kept La Conner scoreless during their next at-bat.

In the sixth inning the Vikings struck again: Bodenhamer led off with a single and stole second before Bruland slammed off a single to bring her on home.

The Braves answered back with two runs, and it was 10-8 going into the seventh inning, still too close to call. But defense carried the day: both teams failed to score and Orcas emerged ahead.

“We battled through and we won,” said Harris.

District playoffs this Saturday

District playoffs on Saturday, May 21 will begin with a match between La Conner and Seattle Lutheran.

“I think La Conner will win,” said Harris. “We and La Conner both played them this year and we both beat them very handily.”

Orcas will battle the winner of that game for the district championship title.

As for who could reign victorious in game two, the chips could land on either side.

“They are a team that always comes to play, and they play us well,” said Harris. “At any point in time they could win, so we’ve got to play well.”

If Orcas wins that game they will go to state as the number one seed from the district.