Jackson beats Monroe 6-3 to win state title in Spokane.
SPOKANE — It was billed as the Class 4A state softball title game — but for followers of WesCo 4A Conference rivals Jackson and Monroe, it felt more like a sequel to the district championship.
The scenario seemed especially familiar in the sixth inning with Jackson up 4-3.
After Monroe senior Mckenzie Schulz connected on a towering drive to right field, Macy Tarbox of Jackson drifted back and got a glove on the ball only to tumble into the fence. As the ball rolled free, Schulz scampered around the bases. Tarbox recovered and threw a strike to shortstop Jessica Asantor who relayed to third, narrowly beating a sliding Schulz.
“I was just trying to get the ball in,” said Tarbox, who made a similar play in the sixth inning of the district title game to nab a Monroe runner at the plate and preserve a 1-0 lead.
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Just as they had at districts, the Timberwolves leveraged the clutch out on Saturday to emerge with a victory — this one even more substantial. The 6-3 triumph represented the school’s first state fastpitch championship.
“It’s just awesome,” senior shortstop Kristina Day said. “At the beginning of the season, we set a goal to win state. It helped to talk about it. We knew it was our goal and we shouldn’t be scared of it.”
A four-run fourth inning proved to be the difference for the Timberwolves, who wrapped up the season with only one loss (24-1). Senior Sam Mutolo knocked in the first run of the game with a double, followed by Asantor with an RBI bunt single.
A looping single by Tarbox just beyond the shortstop brought in two more runs.
Monroe battled back in its half of the fourth as Schulz put the Bearcats on the board with a single up the middle. An RBI bunt by Kaylee Lucas made it 4-2. Jackson turned a double play on a grounder by Cassidy Conrad, but a run scored to reduce the margin to one.
“Monroe is a really good team,” Jackson junior ace Iyanla Pennington said. “They always seem to rally back.”
Jackson tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the seventh before Pennington retired three straight Monroe batters to secure the win.
• Central Valley of Spokane beat Camas 5-2 in the third/fourth-place game.