Raben dominates in action against Hale, Chief Sealth

Spartans pitcher Katie Raben gets set to throw another strike in the 6-4 win over the Seahawks.  - Brian Kelly / Bainbridge Island Review
Spartans pitcher Katie Raben gets set to throw another strike in the 6-4 win over the Seahawks.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / Bainbridge Island Review

The Spartans fastpitch softball team started off the season with staggering numbers in their first seven games.

BHS started off 7–0 and outscored their opponents by an eye-popping 104-4.

And no, that is not a misprint — in seven games the Spartans had outscored the unfortunate opponents by 100 runs.

The Spartans seven-game dominance was capped off by pitcher Katie Raben’s second no-hitter of the season on Monday, as the Spartans blanked Nathan Hale 14-0 in a five inning, mercy-rule game.

“Yeah, it’s cool (to throw a no-hitter),” said Raben. “But I don’t really pay attention to it, our defense doesn’t really make mistakes, we have a solid infield and outfield, everyone lays out for me so it is a defensive no-hitter as much as a pitcher no-hitter.”

On Wednesday, the Spartans faced a tough Chief Sealth team, and in the muddy field with the rain falling the Spartans would finally get a challenge.

“Oh, where do I start, it was just a good game,” said a smiling head coach Liz McCloskey afterward.

The Spartans took and early 3-0 lead but in the top of the third inning, Chief Sealth’s pitcher Chloe Behar helped out her own cause as she blasted the Raben offering for an opposite-field two-run homer over the right field fence to cut the Bainbridge lead to one.

“(Behar) is a good player,” said Raben.

In the fifth inning the rain may have helped the Spartans get some insurance runs when Raben hit a towering fly ball to left, which popped out of the left fielder’s glove.

Kate Kinney then hit in a sac-fly and the Spartans had a 5-2 lead.

“The weather was a problem for everyone,” said Raben. “You saw Hailey (Willmann) dive for a ball and she just stuck.”

Thanks to an 11 pitch at-bat by Erin Kinney, which ended in base-on-balls in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Spartans added another run and had a four-run lead heading into the top of seventh.

Because of the rain, the scheduled baseball game was postponed and the Chief Sealth baseball team was on hand to cheer on the softball. From a fan’s perspective, it seemed like it was almost an away game for the Spartans.

“It was good for us. It was a high-energy game with high atmosphere,” McCloskey said. “We had to deal with the crowd noise and the different weather, but that is no excuse to be rusty.”

The loud cheers from the Chief Sealth baseball team seemed to get the Seahawks batters going with two outs as Chief Sealth’s leadoff hitter Malia Dewey lined an RBI double down the left field line.

Behar then again came up big, driving in Dewey with a line drive to left-center field.

Now with two outs and just a two-run lead, the usually consistent Raben plunked the next batter, who then stole second.

With the tying run at second base, Raben showed no signs of nerves as she came right after the next hitter and blew three straight pitches by her and the Spartans came away with a narrow 6-4 victory.

“I loved it,” Raben said.

“We know that it is not always going to be a walk in the park, and that every hit matters,” she said. “I am looking forward to the next time we play them.”

The Spartans next game is a make-up one against Central Kitsap on Monday, followed by what is sure to be an exciting away game against Holy Names — also undefeated in Metro League play.

“It was nice to come off well after spring break,” said McCloskey said. “(Chief Sealth) brought the pressure, and this was a good warm-up for Holy Names, we know that if we do not if we are not always giving 100 percent, somewhere along the way someone will catch us.”

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