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Fastpitchers eager to head back to state
Spartans want to make their case as a title contender.
Mention the word Sammamish to anyone and they may think youre talking about the town, the lake or the tribe itself.
Mention the word Sammamish to the Bainbridge fastpitch team and youll get an entirely different reaction.
We talk about it all the time, said Brittany Wisner of their near upset of the Totems last May, only to have it taken away on a bad call. But weve learned from it and were just going to take it and hopefully learn from it this year and do better this year.
To do better than last year is one of the goals of the Spartans, as they went 19-9 and went 1-2 at the state tournament.
They lost four seniors, including three starters in Stephanie Wagner, Meika Monroe and Chelsea Baker, but nine girls return to make up a strong team.
Along with the co-captains senior first baseman/pitcher Karen Robinson and junior catcher/second baseman Wisner junior infielder Cara Thompson, junior pitcher Lindsay Willmann, junior second baseman/outfielder Chelsie Kakela, junior first baseman/outfielder Victoria Wellbrock, junior outfielder Kaitlin Gaspich, sophomore pitcher/infielder Haylee Baker and sophomore outfielder Camille Moore make up a young veteran team that has head coach Liz McCloskey eager to see what they can do with another year of experience under their belt.
Its very exciting, she said of having most of a lineup that posted an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .874 return. Theres very few coaches out there that can say they have four pitchers and that they can say they have four very accurate, lot of ball movement and very quick pitchers.
Having Haylee and Lindsay back again is even better.
The two along with Robinson combined for a 1.70 ERA and held opponents to a .193 batting average last season.
Five new players join the team this season in sophomore pitcher Lauren Reichert, sophomore third baseman/outfielder Delcy Stoddard, freshman infielder Clara Dunn, freshman catcher Caitlin McCormick and freshman third baseman/outfielder Larkin Sheldon.
McCloskey is excited to add them to the roster.
Lauren played JV last year and shes a talented pitcher, she said. Shes got a good handle on the ball and good movement.
Shes an awesome little pitcher, Wisner said. Shes a very talented athlete.
Im excited to have Caitlin on the team as my backup catcher, she continued. Shes a very good ballplayer.
The additions will help as McCloskey tries to figure out who will replace Wagner at third and who will be in the outfield this season.
Weve got a few holes that were looking to fill, she said. Were still working through the kinks, but weve tried a couple different things with Lauren at third and Lindsay and Delcy may play over there.
Were going to move a few things around.
McCloskey is still trying to work on a lineup for the days when Willmann, Baker, Robinson or Reichert pitch.
She plans on moving Kakela from second base to centerfield.
Its kind of nice to have those options to fill those spots.
But Robinson said shes happy if she doesnt throw one pitch this season.
Lindsay, Haylee and Lauren are all better than I am, she said.
The team as a whole, McCloskey feels, can be the best in the Metro League.
Theyll get competition from Holy Names and Bishop Blanchet along with West Seattle and Eastside Catholic.
Wisner said theyre motivated to do well, especially against the Cougars.
Were gunning for Holy Names this year, she said of the private school that has won every matchup since McCloskey took over in 2005. I know were not going to lose to them again this year.
And McCloskey said she doesnt feel theyll lose much this year.
Theyve been working hard since day one, she said of the time theyve worked in the offseason. Theyre pushing one another to be better.
They want to be successful.