Notes from Prairie softball at 3A state tournament

Despite two big wins, the Prairie softball did suffer a couple of setbacks on Friday at the Class 3A state tournament In Lacey.

Leadoff hitter Nicole O’Haver suffered injuries in both games Friday and her status for Saturday is in doubt.

In Prairie’s win over Mountlake Terrace, O’Haver rolled her ankle trying to beat out an infield hit.

But she came back to play in Prairie’s second game against Juanita.

In the fourth inning, O’Haver attempted to bunt Nicole Cresap to second. But O’Haver bunted the ball into the air and it was caught by Juanita catcher Abbie Oswald.

Oswald then turned and fired the ball to first in an effort to double off Cresap returning to the bag. However, the ball struck O’Haver, who was halfway to first and starting to turn to return to the dugout. O’Haver was struck in the helmet by the ball. Stunned by the play, she stumbled a bit as Prairie coaches came to her aid. She returned to the dugout on her own power, but we replaced by Samantha Workman in center field.

“Nicole was having a rough day,” Prairie coach Dawn Rowe said. “All I can say is that she’s trying to push through it.”

Senior Taylor Bussey hopes O’Haver will be all right for Saturday, but added that the Falcons won’t let the setback bother them .

“We’ve had injuries all year, but we don’t let them stop us,” Bussey said.

DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS: While the Falcons made a lot of noise with their bats, their glove work was equally important in securing a berth on the Class 3A state semifinals in Lacey.

“I think we played solid defense, keeping runs to a minimum,” Bussey said.

Freshman pitcher Irene McGuire didn’t record a strikeout in Prairie’s 5-3 semifinal win over Juanita of Kirkland. That meant all 21 outs were recorded in the field.

Two plays in particular stood out.

In the third inning with two outs, two runners on and one run already in, Juanita’s Cami Pettengill hit a fly ball to left center. O’Haver drifted over and called off left fielder Cresap. But just after doing so, the sun, which has remained hidden behind the clouds most of the day, decided to pop out, causing O’Haver to lose sight of the ball. But Cresap alertly stuck out her glove at the last moment and made the catch, saving two runs.

“That could have been a disaster right there,” Rowe said.

The other key defensive play came in the seventh inning by Holly Kersanty at first base.

Dani Faist led off by hitting a big chopper back up the middle that McGuire deflected with her glove to Jamie Phares at second base.

In her rush to throw out the swift Faist, Phares’ throw was off the mark. Faist broke for second on the overthrow, but Kersanty chased down the ball quickly and threw a strike to Bussey at second base to tag out Faist.

Two outs later, Prairie had a spot in the semifinals.

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