After playing their best game of the season so far, members of the Woodland High School softball team are confident that better days are on the horizon.
“Just playing every game with no regrets. Making it to state like we did last year. That’s our goal,” said junior outfielder Payten Foster. “Play game by game, win every one and we got it.”
The defending 2A state champions beat Ridgefield 5-0 Friday at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreational Complex to gain a 2-game advantage over the Spudders for first place in the Greater St. Helens League standings.
Kelly Sweyer and Foster each hit 2-run home runs for the Beavers. Olivia Grey pitched a 1-hitter with 12 strikeouts. Foster drove in three runs during the game and made a diving catch in right field in the bottom of the seventh inning to keep a Spudder off the basepaths.
“We came out here fired up because last year the second game with Ridgefield was the big one and we didn’t win. This year, we just had to get it,” Sweyer said.
“Everyone contributed in their own way. We all did great things,” she added. “We all play for each other and that’s why we’re able to do things like that.”
Ridgefield got the first two outs in the top of the first inning, but then Chloe Eddy drilled a pitch into the outfield to keep the frame alive for Woodland. Sweyer followed with a 2-run home run to give the Beavers a 2-0 advantage.
“Right connection and the right time. Good things happen,” Sweyer said. “I know any girl on this team can hit a home run. I was the lucky winner. One of the two.”
Grey cruised through the first three innings. She struck out the first five Spudders she faced and then gained her sixth punch out in the bottom of the third.
After Sweyer walked with one out in the fourth, Foster cleared the centerfield fence for a 2-run home run in almost the same spot Sweyer did three innings earlier.
“I had two strikes on me, so I was just going for it,” Foster recalled. “That’s what I was aiming for. It was a nice feeling.”
Grey earned four more strikeouts in the fourth and fifth innings. Lily Mittman was the first batter for Ridgefield to reach first base in the game in the bottom of the fifth. She stole second and third base, but the Beavers got the third out to keep the shutout intact.
Sweyer reached base for the third time on a throwing error with two outs in the top of the sixth. Foster then brought Sweyer home with an RBI double to give Woodland a 5-0 lead.
Sarah Jenkins got the only hit in the game for Ridgefield with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Grey struck out the next Spudder to get out of the inning. She also punched out the last batter of the game for an even dozen.
“Not every pitch is going to be a strike but I’m going to try and get as many strikes as I can,” Grey said.
After punching out 69 batters at the state tournament last season, Grey has picked up right where she left off this spring. She has racked up 181 strikeouts in 76 innings pitched.
“There’s nothing better than being a Beaver,” Grey said. “I’m so happy to represent this school and I’m really happy just to be with these girls.”