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Elma wins first state softball championship

Members of the Elma High School softball team celebrate winning the schools first ever state championship in softball. The Eagles beat Mt. Baker 6-1 to win the title.Buy Photo
Members of the Elma High School softball team celebrate winning the schools first ever state championship in softball. The Eagles beat Mt. Baker 6-1 to win the title.
Elma senior Sydney Smythe hugs Brooke Goldsmith, left, and her sister Karli Smythe after the Eagles won the state championship.Buy Photo
Elma senior Sydney Smythe hugs Brooke Goldsmith, left, and her sister Karli Smythe after the Eagles won the state championship.
The Elma High School softball team is showered with confetti by parents and supporters after winning the state championship on Saturday.Buy Photo
The Elma High School softball team is showered with confetti by parents and supporters after winning the state championship on Saturday.
Elma senior Brooke Goldsmith slides into third base for one of her four triples she hit in the state tournament.Buy Photo
Elma senior Brooke Goldsmith slides into third base for one of her four triples she hit in the state tournament.
Elma's Ashley Cooper prepares to scoop up a ground ball against Connell on Saturday.Buy Photo
Elma's Ashley Cooper prepares to scoop up a ground ball against Connell on Saturday.
Brendan Carl | The Vidette Elma senior Brooke Goldsmith slides into third for one of the four triples she hit in the state tournament.Buy Photo
Brendan Carl | The Vidette Elma senior Brooke Goldsmith slides into third for one of the four triples she hit in the state tournament.
Elma third baseman Shayla Shumate applies the tag on a Connell base runner on Saturday.Buy Photo
Elma third baseman Shayla Shumate applies the tag on a Connell base runner on Saturday.
Mac Miller, left, and Sydney Smythe celebrate Elma's 6-1 win over Mt. Baker.Buy Photo
Mac Miller, left, and Sydney Smythe celebrate Elma's 6-1 win over Mt. Baker.
Mac Miller is introduced before the state championship game against Mt. Baker.Buy Photo
Mac Miller is introduced before the state championship game against Mt. Baker.
Izzy Cristelli rounds third as her teammates wait to maul her after she hit a home run against Mt. Baker on Saturday.Buy Photo
Izzy Cristelli rounds third as her teammates wait to maul her after she hit a home run against Mt. Baker on Saturday.
Brendan Carl | The Vidette Izzy Cristelli, right, rounds third as teammates wait to maul her after her home run against Mt. Baker on Saturday.Buy Photo
Brendan Carl | The Vidette Izzy Cristelli, right, rounds third as teammates wait to maul her after her home run against Mt. Baker on Saturday.
Brendan Carl | The Vidette Stacia Burbidge gets a hug from teammate Shayla Shumate, No. 18, moments after Elma won the state championship Saturday.Buy Photo
Brendan Carl | The Vidette Stacia Burbidge gets a hug from teammate Shayla Shumate, No. 18, moments after Elma won the state championship Saturday.

It is a big trophy, but it felt light for the Elma Eagles softball team Saturday as they hoisted the Class 1A state championship trophy for the first time in school history.

The Eagles defeated Mt. Baker, 6-1, in the championship game, completing a four-game run to the title.

“We showed up today,” coach Janene Todd said. “This tournament was different for us. We had a different mindset. Nobody thought we were going to be here.”

Elma started the year losing four of its first five games. But as the season progressed, the Eagles continued to improve and Elma found a new level in the postseason. The Eagles started the state tournament with an 8-0 win over Zillah in the first round and demolished Seattle Christian, 14-0, in five innings to earn a spot in the semifinals for the first time since 2005.

“I think everyone just peaked at the right time for state,” senior Brooke Goldsmith said. “We all brought our A game for state, and that is what we needed to do.”

The Eagles faced their toughest test of the tournament in the semifinal game against Connell. Elma fell behind, 4-1, in the fourth inning, and going into the bottom of the seventh inning, Elma trailed, 5-2. With a shot at the state championship on the line, the Eagles responded with an offensive spurt when they needed it most. Goldsmith led off the inning with a triple and senior Sydney Smythe drove her in with a double. Then up came junior Izzy Cristelli.

“I went up to Izzy and said, ‘Izzy, you are the mathematician. Right now, odds are you are getting a hit.’ And she said, ‘Yes, I am,’” Todd said.

Cristelli wouldn’t just get a hit, but a home run to tie the game at 5 and send the contest into an extra inning. Goldsmith shut down Connell in the top of the eighth inning and followed her performance in the circle up by driving in the winning run. Freshman Karli Smythe earned a walk to lead off the inning, and Goldsmith followed with her third triple of the game to send Elma to the championship.

The championship would be a much easier contest than the Connell game as the Eagles grabbed the lead in the first inning on a single by Sydney Smythe to drive in Goldsmith. Elma would never trail as Goldsmith shut down Mt. Baker, not allowing a walk and striking out 11 Mountaineers.

“We have a lot of seniors and it is our coaches’ last year, so we have a lot of motivation to win and we put our hearts on the field every single game and didn’t let down,” Sydney Smythe said. “It is too unreal. At the beginning of the season, I said we are going all the way. We definitely went through a lot of bumps and bruises and finally got to hold up the No. 1.”

While Goldsmith had an MVP weekend as the winning pitcher in all four games and 11 hits over the four games, six for extra bases and two home runs, one of which was inside the park, all of the Eagles seemed to have some of their best games of the season, contributing on offense and defense. Overall, it was a total team effort that helped Elma win the title.

“It just clicked,” third baseman Shayla Shumate said. “We felt the fire and felt that urge that we needed it. (The trophy is) not very heavy, but it sure feels good.”

For more coverage, see Page B-10