Royals softball falls just short of a consecutive second place finish
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
Going into the NWAC Championships, the Douglas College Royals were riding the biggest win streak of their history. Thirty-two wins in a row—a perfect season. But the only thing on the mind of the team was their crown jewel, the NWAC Championship title.
To get there, the Royals would have to run the gauntlet of the 16 best teams in the NWAC league, of which the Royals were considered the best. Although considered tournament favourites, a straight shot of the title would be tough.
Their first challenger was the 16th-seeded Clark College. Although ranked as the 16th seed, they gave the Royals a run for their money for sure. It took a walk off homerun from Michaela Moore for them to win in the seventh inning, 9–7. Right after, they faced the 8th seeded Centralia College. In a much cleaner fashion, the Royals cleaned house with their opponents, taking the game 8–0 in six innings.
Game three saw them take on the 4th-seeded Clackamas Community College. The Cougars gave the Royals a run for their money, swinging hard against them. But the Royals had great batters too, and pumped the Cougars for four runs at the top of the 7th inning to take the win.
They moved on to the semi-finals where the Walla Walla Warriors awaited them. Defensive specialists, the Warriors put on a show in the pitching circle. The Royals had a performance to match. Ultimately it was one run that settled the game. The Douglas College squad would move into the finals off the back of a 1–0 win.
They met the Wenatchee Valley College Knights there on Monday. Coming up through the losers’ bracket, the 3rd-seeded Wenatchee Valley made a routine of destroying their opponents on the way up to the finals. It was going to be a good game.
The Knights batters came out to play, and they made a habit of swinging big early. They went up to a five-run lead in three innings to start the game. Though the Royals would fight back, it wasn’t enough as the Knights took the first game 8–5. The Royals first loss of the season forced a deciding game two.
In a scenario where the Royals normally dominate, the Canadian team found themselves struggling. Four runs in the first inning saw the Royals enter into a deep hole that they couldn’t really climb out of. The Knights would go on to win 12–6 and take the NWAC Championships.
Although the loss stings, the team can take pride in the number of accomplishments they had this year. A perfect 32–0 regular season, 9 First-Team All-Stars, 3 Second-Team All-Stars, 2 All-Americans, and Coaching Staff of the Year were some of the brightest highlights for the squad. Even without their crown jewel, the Royals can look back on this year with pride. It was definitely one for the history books.