SPOKANE – The best fastpitch softball teams usually rely heavily on dominant pitching, but the Jefferson Raiders are doing their best to change that way of thinking.
“Our thing is all about outscoring teams,” Jefferson coach Chad Fahnlander said after the Raiders opened the State 4A tournament with a pair of high-scoring wins Friday at the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex.
The Raiders (26-4), the only area team that remained undefeated after the first day of the two-day, double-elimination tourney, beat Central Valley of Spokane Valley 7-4 and Monroe 10-8.
“We don’t have that big strikeout pitcher … but we have a great offense,” Fahnlander said.
The Raiders proved as much by scoring five runs in the fifth inning against Central Valley and five more against Monroe in the first inning. Bailey Rundle had key hits in both outbursts.
Fahnlander said Jefferson is 2-0 at state for the first time since 2002, when the Raiders lost their other two games.
Jefferson’s semifinal opponent this morning is defending champion Walla Walla (25-1), ranked 49th in the nation by ESPNHS.com. The Blue Devils outscored their two Friday foes 30-0, as 2011 All-American Alyson Ambler gave up one hit in the two games and threw a perfect game against Bothell while going 5-for-5 at the plate.
Rogers of Puyallup and Tahoma remain alive after winning late games to finish the day 2-1. Emerald Ridge went 1-2. Kentlake and South Kitsap were 0-2.
Bellarmine Prep finished 19-6 after going 0-2 in the Lions’ first-ever state fastpitch appearance.
Bellarmine coach Craig Coovert said the Lions enjoyed “a very special season,” but he was disappointed in their play at state.
“We played tight, especially in the first game,” he said. “We made a lot of errors that were not indicative of who we are.”