She swings a powerful bat from the left side of the plate. Her right arm effectively delivers as many as seven different pitches from the circle.
Kiana Adams also brings a double-dose of determination to the ballpark every game.
All of which was on display Monday afternoon.
Auburn’s junior ace was at her best, tossing a complete-game, six-hitter and blasting a pair of wind-swirled home runs – the second of which was a devastating grand slam – in the visiting Trojans’ 6-1 win against Auburn Riverside.
“It means everything,” Adams said. “I love the Riverside team. I have friends over there. They’re rivals, so it’s always nice to get a win, but to have a team to back (me) up is even greater.”
Auburn, with a win against Decatur this week, can outright capture the North Puget Sound League Olympic softball title. The teams open the series at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Federal Way, with Game 2 at Auburn at 7 p.m. Thursday to complete the regular season.
The Trojans (11-1 in league, 15-1 overall) put away Thomas Jefferson (3-9, 5-9) 13-0 in five innings on the road Tuesday to clinch at least a share of the league crown. Adams threw a two-hit shutout, fanning six batters. Jillian Tinsley homered, doubled and drove in four runs. Charity Sevaaetasi ripped a pair of doubles and drove in three runs. Hailey Browne and Abbigail Newman each had two RBI.
Enumclaw (4-7, 6-8) scored six runs in the seventh inning to stun Federal Way (10-3, 14-3) at home Tuesday night.
Secure in third, Auburn Riverside (9-4, 13-5) defeated Auburn Mountainview (5-8, 5-11) on Tuesday night, 16-5, behind Melina Ness’ five-RBI performance. Madison Muxen and Becca Spear each drove in two runs for the Ravens. Adrianna Lomeli-Smith homered and drove in three runs for the Lions.
The Ravens routed Federal Way 11-1 in five innings last Friday, leaving the door open for the Trojans to snag the Olympic title.
“It’s not really a big surprise,” Auburn coach Brenna Nesper said of the Ravens’ win over the Eagles. “It’s anyone’s game. It’s who shows up to the field. We teach our kids to come out and battle to every pitch, every inning, small increments at a time.”
That was evident Monday.
Trailing 1-0, Auburn got even when Adams led off the fourth inning with a solo shot to deep, straightaway center.
An inning later, Adams’ grand slam shot sailed well past and just left of the 185-foot center-field wall.
“She’s a really tough kid,” said Ravens coach Bryce Strand. “She’s always been able to hit well. This year she’s really giving us problems. She had a great game today.”
The Ravens had their scoring chances but couldn’t come up with the timely hit. They left five on base.
“We did a good job almost every inning of putting pressure on (Adams), but it seemed when she needed to get that one pitch she got it,” Strand said. “We had our share (of opportunities) against her, but she really (buckled) down when she needed to. It was a great performance by her.”
To become a force, Adams was persuaded early on to bat left.
“My brother (Adam) taught me,” she added. “He said lefties are most valuable (at the plate.)”
From the circle, Adams has confounded batters with a variety of pitches – fastballs, risers, sinkers, curves and what has become a money pitch, the screwball.
Beyond her athletic ability is her desire to play hard and be a part of a winning team.
“She’ll battle for herself but she plays for the name on the front. She plays for her school and her teammates, and that really keeps us driven as well because we really want to play for each other,” said Nesper, who has built her best team in her fourth year as Auburn’s head coach. “It’s about having fun and being there for each other, being a family.”
Against the Ravens, Adams went 3-for-4, with her five RBI. Backed by a solid defense, she allowed six hits and one run over seven innings, striking out six. Jillian Tinsley added an RBI single in the seventh inning.