YAKIMA – For the Kittitas Secondary School softball team, it wasn’t the ending it imagined and hoped after making it to the WIAA 2B semifinals.

After two wins on Friday, one a thriller that ended with a walk-off single after trailing 6-1 at one point, and the other that saw the Coyote offense go berserk highlighted by senior Payton Hyatt launching two balls into the atmosphere, Kittitas took drubbing losses of 14-0 and 11-1 Saturday at Kiwanis fields in Yakima to end its season.

But Kittitas broke the barrier that’s been hanging over its head in head coach Nate Phillip’s 16 years with the program. It was the Coyotes’ first semifinal appearance, as the Coyotes have never been able to get past the quarterfinal round.

“I think that’s huge that all the girls that have come through this program have continued to progress it and progress it to where we’re one of the top five teams in the state,” Phillips said.

Kittitas did earn a third place finish in 2005, but that was after losing in the opening round. It rallied off five straight wins afterwards.

From 2010-13, Kittitas would lose in the first-round and then its loser bracket game. For four consecutive years the Coyotes didn’t know what a win felt like at the state tournament.

“We went through a stretch for a while where we were struggling, we were coming in dropping two and done,” Phillips said. “Then they kicked that streak and they’ve got us in the quarters now for three straight years. I’m hoping that taste of continued success will continue to build.”

In Kittitas’ last two games on Saturday, they very well faced the states two best teams (Pe Ell/ Willapa Valley and Northwest Christian high schools).

It was Kittitas and Pe Ell/ Willapa Valley in the semifinal, but Kittitas couldn’t get anything started on the offensive end, as Pe Ell/ Willapa Valley’s Kamryn Adkins tossed a complete game and didn’t allow a single hit. Kittitas had one base runner and that was on Hyatt’s walk in the first inning.

Pe Ell/ Willapa Valley scored two runs in the first with Khloe Carpenter issuing her third walk that brought in one. Grace Allphin came in to pitch and surrendered another.

The deficit was pushed to 5 after a 3-run shot in the following inning by Adkins. Pe Ell/ Willapa Valley tacked on seven runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth for a 14-0 win to earn a berth for the state title, but lost to Adna High School 9-7.

“Pe Ell/ Willapa, they can hit the ball,” Phillips said. “They line drived it into some places that just made it hard.”

That defeat put Kittitas in the loser-out bracket and needed a win to play for third and fourth place. But it got a tough matchup with the 2018 state champs — Northwest Christian.

Kittitas got on board first with a solo shot from Hyatt in the first inning — her third home run of the tournament — to lead 1-0. Both teams were scoreless for the next three innings until NW Christian added three to take a 3-1 advantage.

Kittitas loaded the bases with one out in that same inning, but Harley Allemand hit into double play.

There were a few miscues defensively that cost Kittitas and NW Christian grabbed a 11-1 triumph. It took third place by defeating Chewelah High School 8-3.

Kittitas finished the season 22-7 and won the District 5/6 tournament for its bid to state for the 13th year running.

“We put everything out on the field every game,” Hyatt said. “We know what we are able to accomplish and we have never given up on ourselves or our teammates. We go and we fight — every game.”

Kittitas graduates six seniors (Hyatt, Lainey Allemand, Madigan Webster, Jazzy Pryor, Reegan Baker and Piper Williams).

What was different about this team?

“It was just a different kind of drive and a different kind of mindset we had going into this year,” Hyatt said. “We had a lot of seniors in the beginning of the season and knowing that this was our last run, that gave us a lot of determination to finish it out strong, and gave us a lot of determination and motivation to motivate our other teammates, and we all worked as a whole. And just went to accomplish the goals we had in mind.”

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