Four-year starter Katelyn Wilfert led the Rocky Mountain High softball program to an 86-24 record entering Thursday night. But a championship — either at district or state — has always eluded her and the Grizzlies.
The senior dominated at the plate and in the pitcher’s circle in the 5A District Three championship game to lead Rocky Mountain to a 16-6, six-inning victory over Boise, clinching the Grizzlies' first district championship in program history.
“It kind of shows what we can do,” Wilfert said. “We’ve always been a good team, but there’s always been that team like Eagle that might put us out. It really shows what we’re capable of.”
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The district title earns Rocky Mountain (25-2) the top seed at next week’s 5A state tournament, where the Grizzlies will try to follow up with their first state title. Rocky Mountain opens at 9 a.m. May 18 at Pocatello’s Cappel Park against the winner of Saturday’s play-in game between Timberline and Post Falls.
“I’m ready for more,” Wilfert said. “Winning this is great, but winning a state championship would be way better.”
Wilfert spearheaded a potent Rocky Mountain lineup that 10-runned its way to victories in a district semifinal and the title game. She finished 3-for-4 at the plate Thursday with a double, a triple and four RBIs as the Grizzlies roughed up Boise ace pitcher Eden Cook. Cook struck out 15 in nine innings Tuesday to shut out nationally ranked Eagle.
Wilfert also stepped up in the pitcher’s circle when Boise threatened to make a late comeback. The Braves (15-11) scored three runs off starting pitcher Emma Shiflet in the fifth inning to cut the deficit to 10-6. After allowing a hit to the first batter she faced and plunking the next, Wilfert settled in to strike out the final four she faced. That included needing only 10 pitches to strike out the side in the sixth.
“KW is a great part of this team,” junior shortstop Kaylan Walker said. “She will pick us up when we’re down. It’s great to have her.”
Rocky Mountain’s only two losses this season came to Eagle, a 3-0 loss March 16 and a 5-4 defeat April 19. The Mustangs (25-1-1) loom as a potential second-round matchup at state, one Wilfert said the Grizzlies would relish.
“We’re definitely ready to play Eagle again,” she said. “We went through this whole district tournament without having to play them. We’ve been pretty geared up and ready (for them).”
Boise had already clinched its state tournament berth before Thursday. The district runner-up opens state against Highland, the Eastern Idaho champion, at 11 a.m. May 18.