Sarah Wright gives a big smile after her home run. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Sarah Wright gives a big smile after her home run. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Launch party: Kentwood hits three HR in win over Lake Stevens

Thomasson, Wright, Ursino go large. Wright punches out 17 in win.

Before the rain came and washed away the final game of the Auburn Riverside Fastpitch Invitational, the penultimate game on March 22 was a date between two high caliber teams with state aspirations.

Kentwood High School and Lake Stevens battled each other and the elements in what turned out to be a cracker of a game, with Kentwood winning 4-3. Not only had Kentwood waited a week to play, but with good weather, the Conks got to practice outside. Lots of scrimmages and live at-bats prepped the Conks for the Vikings, and it paid off.

“We finally got outside. All that we worked on was live scrimmaging … We spent 10-12 hours of just hitting this week,” said Head Coach Sydney Eacret.

The Conk offense was fueled by the long ball. A trio of home runs were the difference for Kentwood, the first of which was from Izzy Thomasson, with a runner on base in her first at bat of the game in the second inning.

“More than anything it has been a lot of mental work. Getting in that aggressive mindset… We focused on her hands and seeing the ball. We saw a whole different side of her today,” said Eacret.

Kentwood would hold that 2-0 lead until the fourth inning. Lake Stevens gave Kentwood pitcher and University of Arizona commit Sarah Wright some trouble in that frame.

A leadoff single was just the start of the damage for Lake Stevens, as McKenna Richer launched a game-tying home run into the woods behind Auburn Riverside’s field.

Wright has been arguably the most dominant pitcher in the state the past couple of years. Home runs do not come by very often, yet Wright was able to escape the fourth with just those runs coming across.

Her next at-bat in the sixth, she went large for her first home run of the season — a high fly to center field that gave Kentwood the lead and all the momentum.

Then the ever-dangerous JJ Ursino hit her second home run of the season with a deep drive to right field, giving Kentwood a much-needed insurance run.

Lake Stevens fought back in the bottom of the sixth, scoring one run, which reached on an error, and scored on a ground ball. But Wright was able to limit the damage and slammed the door in the seventh with two strike outs and allowed one base runner in the final frame.

The postgame stat line looked fairly normal for Wright when all was said and done — she allowed three runs, and two were earned. Wright allowed just three hits and struck out 17 batters while walking just one.

In the first three games of the season, Kentwood has battled adversity, needing to come back against Liberty, losing by 10 to Bonney Lake, and then the win over Lake Stevens. At 2-1, the Conks have seen a lot so far.

“The girls have to see what can happen. They’re not invincible to be able to move forward. They came together as a team,” Eacret said.

Kentwood along with Decatur have only played three games so far. All five other teams have played four or more.

The Conks are back in action March 28 on the road at undefeated Tahoma.

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Kentwood pitcher Sarah Wright pitches to Lake Stevens at Auburn Riverside High School. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Kentwood pitcher Sarah Wright pitches to Lake Stevens at Auburn Riverside High School. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Gabby Greenwood prepares in the box at Auburn Riverside against Lake Stevens. Ben Ray / The Reporter

Gabby Greenwood prepares in the box at Auburn Riverside against Lake Stevens. Ben Ray / The Reporter

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