WARDEN- The weather in Warden Thursday night was bordering on stormy with consistent rainfall and strong gusts, but that didn’t stop the Warden Cougar and Zillah Leopard softball teams from battling in the first round of districts.
Zillah is a traditionally strong program, but were going through a down season after graduating a lot of talent. Regardless, the Leopards still came in well coached and was nearly the No. 3 seed in the SCAC West.
The Cougars were determined to make it to the next round, and no rain or wind or a well-coached team was going to stop them. Warden quickly ran up the score, scoring multiple runs in every innings. The game was cut short after four innings when Jocelyn Chagoya launched the ball out of the park for a walk-off two-run home run, securing the 15-0 win for the Cougars.
"It's a great feeling knowing I just hit a walk off home run to end the game," Chagoya said. "It's my first time doing that in my whole career in high school."
Viri Gutierrez pitched a one-hitter despite the rain and even that hit came when the wind moved a fly ball in midair.
"I've played fast-pitch (softball) my whole life, growing up, since I was nine years old. Tournaments have always been in Oregon and stuff, so you know, I'm used to pitching in the rain," Gutierrez said. "I'm really glad I have a defense that I can trust. I know that I'm going up there with confidence and if they hit the ball I know I have a defense behind me to hold me up."
The Cougars will next play in the SCAC Semifinals on Saturday. They’ll take on the winner between Cle Elum-Roslyn and Connell, who play Friday. Should the Cougars win in the semifinals, they’ll punch their ticket to state. If they lose, then they’ll have to beat the winner of the Naches Valley v Granger game to go to state.