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Olympic clinches improbable state bid
Dusty Anchors couldn’t believe his eyes.
The Olympic High School fastpitch coach, and his team, are still talking about their last win, the biggest for the program in a quarter-century, maybe ever.
Trailing 9-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning against Sumner High School last Saturday at the Class 2A West Central District tournament, the Trojans were one out away from having their season ended.
Sumner never recorded the final out. Olympic scored eight straight runs to win 10-9, clinching their first state tournament appearance since 1987, when its slowpitch team, then 4A, earned a spot.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Anchors, who cried with his players after the win. “I didn’t know what to do when it happened, I was just in shock.”
“I had my whole family ask me how we did it, and I still don’t know,” outfielder Linzee Orteza said Monday. “We just didn’t give up, we kept going.”
Anchors, in his third season at the school, said Monday that the team is riding momentum from the victory. Now, it’s time to move on, he said.
The coach hopes their winning streak continues Friday when they play Anacortes High School in the first round at Carlon Park in Selah. Game time is set for 10 a.m.
“We’re going out of town, on a field trip for the first time, so there’s excitement building,” Anchors said. “But we have to pull back a little bit now and make sure we don’t do anything wrong to jeopardize our chances.”
After going 6-14 last season, the Trojans enter this weekend’s state tournament with a 12-11 record.
The Olympic head coach doesn’t mind reflecting on their historic win, but Anchors also added that the players have yet to grasp the significance of the state berth.
“I really don’t think the players comprehend the bigger picture here yet,” he said. “This means a lot to the school to go to state, and they know they can do it now after seeing that.”
Orteza said that she wasn’t thinking about state when helping the Trojans orchestrate an eight-run inning en route to a win at districts.
The senior is playing in her final season with the school, and believes the win can carry Olympic past the first round at state.
“We know what we’re capable of and we’re playing better than our record,” she added.
Anacortes enters the state tournament with a 20-3 record. The Seahawks finished third in the Northwest Conference standings, having won four of their last five games.
Orteza said the Seahawks’ record doesn’t matter as the post season starts.
Olympic enters the tournament after winning seven of its last nine games, including a 15-4 victory against Lindbergh High School (Renton) hours before the win versus Sumner.
“We’re kicking it up and getting better now,” she added. “Their record won’t make too much of a difference on the game after what we’ve achieved.”
Senior second baseman Kira Varadey also admitted she wasn’t thinking about state during the comeback victory. She’s taking the lessons from Saturday’s win and applying them for Friday.
“It took a total team effort to pull it off, not just the top or bottom of the lineup,” Varadey said. “We just took one thing at a time, and now we need to do the same at state.”
Anacortes lost two of its three games to teams with similar records to the Trojans. Anchors is using that fact, along with the win against Sumner, to motivate his players before this weekend.
“We know Anacortes can be beat,” he added. “We just have to play well, but also have fun. You have to let the kids have fun, too.”
The first two rounds of the 2A state softball tournament will take place Friday, and a champion will be crowned Saturday.