RIVERSIDE - It was a picture-perfect Monday for the Snake River softball team, as the Panthers beat conference-foe Marsh Valley 6-2 to clinch a birth to the state tournament.
Snake River (16-5) would waste no time against the Eagles, as Tatum Cherry would hit a leadoff home-run to get the Panthers on the board.
In the second inning, Snake River’s Kristen Godfrey would push the lead to two, scoring Anna Larsen on a sacrifice bunt.
Snake River’s Abbie Tew, Morgan Gardner, and Emma Warren would all drive in runs for the Broncos later in the game.
Marsh Valley would score both of their runs in the sixth inning.
Pitching for the Panthers on Monday was Anna Larsen, who was nothing short of phenomenal on the mound. Larsen would strike out the first nine batters she faced and finished the game with a whopping 11 strikeouts. Larsen would have a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. She’d allow just one run on the day.
The win over Marsh Valley not only secured a spot for the Panthers in the state tournament, but it also put a bow on what has been a dominant conference season for the Panthers. The Panthers finish the season 6-0 against American Falls and Marsh Valley, including an impressive 4-0 mark against second-place Marsh Valley.
“Especially in conference play, it’s hard sometimes to adjust from one team to another. We had mercy ruled them (Marsh Valley) every other time we had played them, so kudos to them for adjusting their pitching and keep our batters off-balance,” said Snake River Head Coach Kay Martin.
The Panthers must now wait ten days before playing in the state tournament, a decent wait time for a team as hot as Snake River. Coach Martin knows that his team will need to stay locked in over the next week and a half.
“There’s really no preparation you can do without playing. We just have to focus on the fundamentals of this game, and focus on a lot of tee work and ground balls. Being fundamentally strong is what we have to work on.”
And although Snake River may have blown through their respective conference, the Panthers will be put to the test when they travel to the State Tournament. Potentially facing powerhouse teams like Homedale, Gooding, and Timberlake, the Panthers will have to play near-perfect softball for a chance to take home a state title.
“We have to make all the routine plays and a few hard plays every single game,” said Martin when asked what it will take to win the state championship. “And we have to put the ball in play with authority. We can’t be hitting little dinky grounders or blooper fly balls.”
To go along with the five RBI’s on the day was some brilliant base-running by Snake River’s Lizette Reyes. Already on first base for the Panthers, Reyes would steal second and third base on a passed ball. While taking third, Marsh Valley would throw just a tad too high, allowing Reyes to complete the play and steal home. The
sequence pushed the Snake River lead to 5-0.
What’s next for Snake River?
As mentioned, the Panthers will have to wait ten days before their next game and will face the champion from District I. Timberlake enters the District I tournament as the number one seed.
When: Friday, May 17th at 10:00 a.m MT
Where: Coeur d’Alene