District softball is played in one, tough neighborhood.
Auburn Mountainview understands this.
After rolling into the semifinals last Saturday, the Lions came up short to powerhouse Puyallup and troublesome Tahoma to finish fourth in the West Central District tournament at the Kent Service Club Community Ballfields.
Puyallup held off the Lions for a 5-3 semifinal win, then defeated rival Rogers 13-6 for the district title and top seed to state. The Vikings (23-1) stretched their winning streak to 21 games.
The Lions lost to Tahoma 11-1 in five innings in a game that decided the district’s third and fourth seeds to the 4A state playoffs in Spokane this week.
“They played their hearts out (last Friday) … and also finishing top four in the tournament still puts us at a (number) one seed going into the state tournament,” said Lions coach Alicia Thompson. “I’m really proud of how we played against Puyallup. We gave them a game, almost upset them.”
Despite the back-to-back losses, the Lions (19-6) say they are confident and in relatively good shape as they prepare for state. Auburn Mountainview opens state play with a Friday noon encounter against Richland (22-1) at the Dwight-Merkel Sports Complex.
“Honestly, Puyalllup was probably our best game of the season,” said Lions junior center fielder Adrianna Lomeli-Smith. “We did a good job of holding them (down). … We always had trouble against Tahoma, but we’re still going to state. Bottom line, we’re going somewhere. The whole team is proud of that.”
Against Puyallup, Lily Hope doubled in a run and Megan Perius knocked in another as the Lions pulled to within 4-3 in the fifth inning.
The Vikings added a run in the seventh, then held off the Lions, who brought the tying run to the plate, only to see the rally end.
Emily Bartholomew homered in the fourth inning for the Lions.
Lomeli-Smith homered and drove in five runs as Auburn Mountainview defeated Auburn Riverside 13-2 in a five-inning district quarterfinal playoff last Friday.
“It always feels good to hit one of those,” Lomeli-Smith said of sending an outside curveball over the fence.
Hope went 4-for-4 and homered for the Lions. Alashae Bell drove in a pair of runs. Emma Podliska had three hits, including a double, and drove in a run.
Caitlyn Rhoades allowed nine hits, striking out six and walking one, to get the win.
Autumn Lee took the loss. She also went 3 for 3 and homered for the Ravens. Rebecca Spear went 2-for-3 and doubled.
The Lions built a 12-1 lead after three innings. Lomeli-Smith, Hope, Bell, Podliska, Perius and Bartholomew each had RBIs in a seven-run, first-inning explosion.
In its opener last Friday, Auburn Mountainview topped Bellarmine Prep 8-3.
Hope, Perius and Rhoades homered. Perius and Podliska each drove in two runs.
Rhoades, who pitched three innings, and Purla Duran, who tossed four innings of relief, combined on a five-hitter.
Last weekend, Auburn Riverside (17-10) fought back in consolation play, surviving two elimination games to defeat Enumclaw 5-2 to grab the district’s seventh and final state berth. The Ravens open the state tournament against Eastlake (19-3) at noon Friday.
Riley Mehl doubled and drove in two runs for the Ravens against Enumclaw. Jordyn Judge doubled and drove in another. Brooke Dye and Rebecca Spear each had an RBI.
Earlier last Saturday, the Ravens routed Curtis 11-1, then lost to Kentwood 11-1, setting up the elimination game against Enumclaw.
In its first game last Friday, Auburn Riverside downed Auburn 8-5.
Karly Tiedeman went 3-for-4, homered, doubled and drove in three runs for the Ravens. Dye and Christian Lee doubled.
Autumn Lee went the distance, yielding just five hits, striking out six and walking four in a 123-pitch performance.
For the Trojans, Carly Ross went 2-for-4, homered and drove in four runs. Lynneti Aumua doubled.
Auburn (16-8) later met elimination following a 4-1 loss to Bellarmine Prep. Abbigail Newman batted in the Trojans’ run.