The Ridgefield softball team ended its run for a state title in second place following an 8-1 loss against North Kitsap in the final game of the 2A state championship tournament on Saturday, May 27, in Selah.
The team’s second-place finish was the second best finish in the school’s program history.
“There’s still a lot for these girls to be proud of,” Spudders head coach Kelsey Anchors said.
On May 27, the team was down 7-1 after its first inning of the semifinals matchup against Aberdeen, but Ridgefield managed to get back to the top after a come-from-behind 13-7 win, punching their ticket to the state title game against North Kitsap later that day.
North Kitsap scored two in the second inning, one in the third and in the last two innings to beat Ridgefield, 8-1, in the final game of the season.
“We had four goals on the season. One goal was (a) league championship goal, number two was district,” Anchors said. “We wanted to get that academic state championship, which we got, and then ultimately, the fourth one was to win state, and you know, yes we fell short, but again, … reminding the girls that coming in second and being second in the state is still a huge accomplishment to be proud of and to hold our heads high up for.”
Anchors said she never counted her team out even as North Kitsap’s lead kept growing in the championship game.
“I think the energy of our girls throughout that game just stayed very positive. I never counted us out until the last out of the game,” Anchors said.
Maddie Smith, the 2A Greater St. Helens League’s offensive MVP, lived up to that title during the state tournament as she racked up 11 hits in the four games for Ridgefield.
While the Spudders finished in second place with a run difference of seven in the championship game, they ended the tournament with a run differential of 25 in their favor, showing the team’s dominant run during the state tournament.
Smith, Makayla Ferguson, Madison Walker and Maizy Whitlow are the four seniors from the team who will graduate this year. Their contributions to Ridgefield’s season and its state title run will live on in history.
“Their first year was the COVID year where we really didn’t have a season. They’ve made this program, you know, brought it back to life from after COVID,” Anchors said. “It’s hard for a program to get back on track once you’ve sat out for a year and I think they’ve left their impact and their print on the Ridgefield Spudder softball program for the rest of their lives.”
Anchors added the support the team received from students and staff at the high school, as well as the community of Ridgefield, is greatly appreciated. Anchors noted she saw a little league coach and a couple of players who traveled to Selah to cheer the girls on during their final games on Saturday.
Ridgefield will look to build on its momentum next season. Anchors said the returning players will be able to use their experience to return to the state championship and she hopes the team achieves all four of their goals in 2024.
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