Ridgefield used small ball to get big results in an 11-4 win over Central Whidbey in the first round of the state 13/14 Little League softball tournament at Shoreline's Meridian Park Saturday, July 12.
Central Whidbey drops into the consolation bracket and faces the District 9 (east King County) representative in a loser-out game at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 13. District 9 lost 11-2 to District 1 (Lake Stevens/Granite Falls).
The loss was the first of the season for Central Whidbey, which entered the game with a 17-0 record.
Ridgefield never drove the ball past the infield in the game, recording seven infield hits, most coming from bunts. Central Whidbey was also out of sync on defense, bobbling grounders and dropping thrown balls, which helped Ridgefield's cause.
Central Whidbey pitchers Katrina McGranahan and Bella Northup combined to strikeout 11 but walked six and hit a batter.
Ridgefield wasted little time, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Two walks, a hit and several errors and wild pitches gave Ridgefield the lead.
Ridgefield stretched the gap to 7-0 in the third, tacking on four more runs from three walks and and two infield hits.
Meanwhile, the Central Whidbey offense struggled early against hard-throwing Sarah Jenkins. Jenkins enticed Central Whidbey to chase high fastballs out of the strike zone and fanned the first five hitters. She finished with 15 K's.
Central Whidbey's Robin Cedillo and Hope Lodell collected the team's first hits in the third inning and pushed across a run.
Central Whidbey added three more runs in the fourth when the first three hitters all singled. McGranahan and Sarah Wright, both first-pitch swinging, lined base hist and Emily Licence beat out a grounder to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed McGranahan to score. A ground out and a throw to first when the catcher didn't catch strike three resulted in the other runs.
McGranahan tripled in the sixth and scored on a wild pitch.
McGranahan and Lodell each finished with two hits.
Coach Kevin McGranahan said his team “took it on the chin” but battled back after the tough start. He said the team would regroup and give District 9 a fight on Sunday.