Allison Rhodes struck out 17 a two-hitter in the semifinals, and tossed a four-hitter in the title game as Juanita won the Sea-King 3A District championship.
Lexy Faist wants to make the most of her final shot.
The Juanita High School senior dreamed of winning a state softball championship the past two seasons, but the Rebels fell short.
She gets her last chance next week at the Class 3A tournament in Lacey. Second-ranked Juanita took another step in the right direction Thursday with a 3-1 victory over No. 1 Holy Names in the Sea-King 3A District championship game at Lower Woodland Park.
“I want it a lot more this year,” Faist said of the elusive state crown, “because we’ve gotten pretty close the past two years, closer and closer. I feel that this is our year to go the farthest we’ve ever gone and possibly win the whole thing. That’s our goal. It’s a really special team.”
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The Rebels (21-2), who have lost only to ranked 4A teams Woodinville and Eastlake, realize winning the district championship doesn’t assure them of anything. They were district champs in 2009 (and failed to place at state) and 2010 (tied for third at state).
But Juanita has the kind of pitching, hitting and defense that could take them all the way this year.
Junior ace Allison Rhodes was especially impressive in a 3-0 semifinal victory over No. 7 Bainbridge, striking out 17 in a two-hitter. In the title game, she allowed Holy Names just four hits — two by shortstop Madie Baker — and fanned nine.
“She’s our workhorse,” coach Kristian Dahl said of Rhodes. “Every time we need her, she steps up and throws harder or hits her spots even better.”
Juanita took a 1-0 lead in the second on a sacrifice fly by Lindsay Ulbrickson, but Holy Names pulled even on a slap single by Baker. Cougars pitcher Sylvie Thomas held the Rebels without another run until the seventh.
Sophomore Dani Faist looped a one-out single, went to second on a hit by sister Lexy and scored on Keana Miller’s shot to left field. Rachel O’Neill followed with another RBI single to make it 3-1. Rhodes then set Holy Names down in order, striking out the final two batters.
Holy Names (23-3) suffered its first loss to a 3A team. They’ve lost to a pair of 4A teams, No. 2 Walla Walla and Rogers of Puyallup. Coach Jerry Millsap credited Rhodes for keeping his normally potent bats in check. The Cougars smacked 12 hits in the 12-2 semifinal victory over Mount Si.
Bainbridge (19-6) bounced back for a 13-4 win over Mount Si (14-10) in the game for third and fourth. The Spartans scored eight in the sixth, getting a three-run home run from Caitlin McCormick.
Bellevue (19-6) beat Bishop Blanchet 12-2 for the fifth and final state berth.
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