Sports

Local teams shine on diamond

The Bainbridge Little League 10- and 11-year-old All-Stars pose with their banner after defeating Steel Lake 12-11 Thursday night to win their first ever state title. (Seated/kneeling, L-R:) Lauren Sheehan, Erin Jones, Kyra Easley, Leah Nordberg. (Standing, L-R:) Maureen McCormick, Coach Jay Kinney, Caitlin McGuire, Faith Cambpell, Erin Kinney, Tara Wilford, Coach Deidre Raben, Maddie Stevenson, Katie Raben, Emily Schneider. - Courtesy of Jonathan Jones
The Bainbridge Little League 10- and 11-year-old All-Stars pose with their banner after defeating Steel Lake 12-11 Thursday night to win their first ever state title. (Seated/kneeling, L-R:) Lauren Sheehan, Erin Jones, Kyra Easley, Leah Nordberg. (Standing, L-R:) Maureen McCormick, Coach Jay Kinney, Caitlin McGuire, Faith Cambpell, Erin Kinney, Tara Wilford, Coach Deidre Raben, Maddie Stevenson, Katie Raben, Emily Schneider.
— image credit: Courtesy of Jonathan Jones

Select baseball, two fastpitch teams come home with trophies.

The success of Bainbridge baseball and fastpitch has grown over the years with Little League, Babe Ruth and various select teams winning tournaments far and wide.

This summer, it’s only getting better.

The Bainbridge Little League 10- and 11-year-old All-Stars made history with their dramatic 12-11 victory over Steel Lake from Federal Way Thursday in Battle Ground to take home the state title.

It’s the first time a Little League softball team has ever won a state title and the first since the Little League Major All-Stars did it in 2001 that a team has taken home a state title.

After defeating Steel Lake 6-3 on Tuesday thanks to Katie Raben’s stellar performance in the circle (she threw a complete game, giving up three runs on two walks and three hits while striking out 12), the All-Stars were down 2-1 in Thursday’s rematch for the title.

But Maddy Stevenson, Emily Schneider and Erin Kinney all scored to put them ahead 4-2.

Schneider drove in two runs with singles in successive innings to make it 6-2, but Steel Lake tied it in the fourth with four runs, then went ahead by two runs.

In their last at-bat in the sixth, Bainbridge rallied for six runs for a 12-8 lead.

Kinney had a two RBI double while Tara Wilford had a two RBI single.

But Steel Lake came right back to score two runs and load the bases with two outs.

The next batter doubled to center, but Caitlin Maguire saved the day when she threw a strike to Raben at shortstop, then Raben relayed throw home to Schneider to tag out the tying run and start the celebration.

“It was awesome,” head coach Deidre Raben said of the history making win. “The really cool thing was I got to see kids reach some benchmarks and every kid on the team contributed, which is what every coach hopes to see.”

The Island Stars also came home with a trophy by winning the Sandy Koufax state championship, beating the Port Orchard Wolfpack 10-2 in five innings Monday at the Russell Road fields in Kent.

Bainbridge and Port Orchard were the number one and two seeds heading into the tournament, but the Stars showed they were the better team with Tyler Riely dominating on the hill.

He gave up two runs and two hits in four innings while striking out five.

Quinn Eldridge came in for an inning of relief, shutting the Wolfpack down with only nine pitches.

Justin Straight led the way offensively with three hits, two RBI’s, a run scored and a stolen base.

Austin McConnell added two hits, a run and a stolen base and was named the tournament’s best hitter with a .750 batting average and a .750 slugging percentage.

Nick Denney scored Aaron Nordberg and Landon Cray with a double-squeeze bunt in the fourth inning, setting up two more squeeze plays in the fifth inning with bunts by Chance Roebke and Straight to score Caleb Samson and Eric Raustein.

Head coach Jeff Bowman felt the team would be competitive when they came together last September, as they went through the regular season with a 22-1 record and won the league title.

But he also enjoyed working with the kids and the parents through the season.

“They were a great group of kids,” he said, noting that the MVP award for the tournament was given out to the entire team instead of one player. “We had a great group of parents as well, which is always nice when they go hand in hand.”

He also gave credit to his assistant coaches, Colin Bowman and Michael Heald, for their help over the season.

The West Sound Islanders 14U fastpitch team took home their third championship in a row with their 5-0 record at the ASA Combat Series Invite in Redmond last weekend.

The team – consisting of head coach Troy Greenfield, assistant coach Brian Moore and Maddy Zbaraschuk, Delcy Stoddard, Jayden Hoover, Rylleigh Zbaraschuk, Taylor Greenfield, Camille Moore, Caitlin McCormick, Clara Dunn, Larkin Sheldon and Stacy Webb – has now played eleven tournaments and taken home five gold bracket championship trophies and placed second twice.

The Bainbridge Island Babe Ruth 14-year-old team just missed out on a title, taking third at the state tournament in Moses Lake.

Bainbridge was 2-1 in pool play, earning their way to the semifinals where they were shutout by eventual champion Ellensburg by a 3-0 score.

Bryce Fredey and Daniel Wyman had two hits apiece.

“Our goal this year was to win the district and go to state,” head coach Dan Greenwood said. “We exceeded that by making it to the semifinals.

“Next year’s goal, obviously, will be to win state.”

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