MONROE — Snohomish had already earned its first ticket to the 4A state softball tournament in more than a decade, but senior shortstop Jennie Winston still felt she had something to prove.
Winston homered in the second inning to start a four-run rally to lead the Panthers to a 9-5 victory over Lake Stevens and the District 1 championship on Thursday.
Snohomish avenged its only loss of the season and will enter the state tournament with a 22-1 record. Lake Stevens will go as the No. 2 seed at 18-5.
“I just wanted this game more than anything,” Winston said. “We lost to Lake Stevens last time, and I just wanted to show them what we’re made of.”
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Snohomish enters the state tournament on a roll, outscoring the opposition 32-8 in three district-tournament wins.
“I think we have the potential to go very far,” Winston said. “If we keep playing the way we have been playing, we can go all the way.”
Snohomish fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, but built a 7-1 lead through four innings. Lake Stevens cut it to 7-5 on a grand slam by Rayne Sylvester in the fifth.
Snohomish senior Trysten Melhart, a UW recruit, quickly got the Panthers back on track with a two-out single that scored Rachel Crippen, who had doubled, to make it 8-5. Alyssa Simmons padded the lead further with a home run in the sixth inning.
Snohomish coach Lou Kennedy, who is in his 10th season at the school and will be making his first trip to the state tournament, gave credit to his five seniors.
“I call them the fab five for a reason,” Kennedy said.
All five contributed. In addition to Melhart and Winston, Vanessa Jackson scored two runs and drove in another, Lily Paschal drove in a run and Bailey Seek went the distance with six strikeouts to pick up the win and also doubled and scored a run.
In other games, Monroe beat defending state champion Arlington 5-4 and then defeated Lynnwood 6-4 and will play Newport for the district’s third berth to state Saturday at 2 p.m. in Monroe.