Payback: Eastlake fastpitch dominates Inglemoor, 18-4

May 7, 2014

By Neil Pierson

Back on April 7, the Inglemoor Vikings whipped the Eastlake Wolves 10-0 in a Class 4A KingCo Conference fastpitch game.

When the teams met again April 30, though, it was Eastlake’s turn to inflict pain.

The Wolves had a 12-run avalanche in the third inning, and all nine starters recorded hits en route to an 18-4 victory over Crest Division rival Inglemoor at Eastlake High School.

Even the players weren’t able to explain the exact reasons for the offensive explosion. Eastlake set season-highs with 18 runs and 19 hits.

“We don’t usually hit that well,” said senior shortstop Elizabeth Tracy, who had two hits, scored twice and drove in three runs. “This year, we’ve been a lot more aggressive at the plate, and we’ve been getting a lot more hits, but (19) is … what we’re going to have to go for from now on.”

It was a key victory for the Wolves in the KingCo standings. They improved to 8-6 overall, 7-3 in conference, and remained 1.5 games back of Crest Division-leading Redmond.

The Wolves were scheduled to host Redmond May 6, results that came after press time, and the win over Inglemoor kept them a half-game ahead of third-place Woodinville, which beat Eastlake 12-4 on April 29.

On the heels of its April 7 loss at Inglemoor, it appeared Eastlake was going to have another tough day against the Vikings last week.

Inglemoor (8-6, 5-5) scored two first-inning runs off Wolves pitcher Mikel Charles, then added an unearned run in the second inning to lead 3-0.

In the third, though, Eastlake’s bats caught fire. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases, and Corina Jones dropped a bloop hit into shallow right field for the Wolves’ first run.

The momentum had shifted, and Eastlake didn’t let go of it. Tracy slammed a bases-clearing double, giving the Wolves an 8-3 lead before the Vikings had recorded an out. Inglemoor switched pitchers twice to try and stop the rally, but had no answers.

Eastlake’s Maddie Simpson delivered a pair of two-run singles during the third inning, and added her fifth and sixth RBIs with a single in the Wolves’ six-run fourth.

Simpson had to deal with a leg injury earlier this season, and has been a healthy scratch in recent games, too. But she enthusiastically cheered her teammates from the bench, which helped get her back in the lineup, she said.

She rewarded coach Rob Zahn’s faith with a big performance.

“The team that came out today is definitely the real Eastlake,” Simpson said. “I think we’re just here to win this season.”

Charles, a junior, settled down after a slow start in the pitching circle. She allowed seven hits in five innings, hitting one batter and striking out three.

The Wolves weren’t intimated after falling behind, Tracy said, a break in character from what has usually happened this season.

“Typically, we kind of panic when we go down early,” she said, “but today we just did a good job at not letting it get to us, and just going up and answering it instead of just rolling over and letting it kill us.”

The Wolves finish up the KingCo slate May 8 at Roosevelt and host Bothell May 14. Both games are 4 p.m. starts.

Solidifying a top seed could help Eastlake at the six-team conference tournament, in which the top-two squads earn automatic berths to the 4A state tourney. The third-place team has to face the Wesco Conference’s No. 3 seed in a winner-to-state game.

Simpson said she’d like to see the team set the tempo in more games.

“We start off a little sluggish, and then we end up killing it at the end of the game,” she said. “There’s only been a few games where we started off really strong.”

“It seems to me that we’re peaking at the right time,” Tracy added. “We’ve been going up. We had a little slowness, and now we’re picking up speed.”

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