Willmann, Baker power Sparts to State

Sophomore hurler Lindsay Willmann pitched nine innings of shutout ball as Bainbridge defeated Issaquah 2-0 Thursday at the 3A Sea-King tournament at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.  Willmann gave up just two hits. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Sophomore hurler Lindsay Willmann pitched nine innings of shutout ball as Bainbridge defeated Issaquah 2-0 Thursday at the 3A Sea-King tournament at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. Willmann gave up just two hits.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

The two throw back-to-back shutouts, allow only two hits all day.

TUKWILA – Lindsay Willmann wasn’t expected to go long.

Suffering from tendinitis in her pitching wrist, she hadn’t thrown for a week and was under doctor’s orders not to pitch too much.

Instead, the sophomore threw a major-league-length nine innings of shutout ball as the Bainbridge fastpitch team defeated Issaquah 2-0 to make it to the semifinals of the 3A Sea-King District 2 tournament at the Starfire Sports Complex and qualify for the 3A state tournament.

Freshman pitcher Haylee Baker also helped the cause by throwing a no-hitter against Ingraham in the opening round game as the Spartans defeated the Rams 10-0 in six innings.

It will be their first trip to the state tournament since 2002.

Willmann gave up just two hits, walked three and struck out six, and was still in a state of shock afterwards.

“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” she said with a laugh. “It’s just a big blur. I don’t even remember half of it.

“I was just happy my wrist wasn’t in pain.”

Her teammates and head coach Liz McCloskey remember the whole thing and they marveled at Willmann’s performance.

“Lindsay was so amazing,” Stephanie Wagner said. “I have never seen her so ‘on’ today. Even with her injury it just makes it (her performance) even better.”

“Maybe Lindsay should have tendinitis in her wrist more often,” catcher Brittany Wisner said. “That’s the best game I’ve ever seen her play. The best game by far. Tops.

“There was pressure (situations) and she buckled down under probably the biggest pressure (situations) she’s ever faced in her life. She pitched so well.”

“Lindsay just pitched an amazing game,” McCloskey said. “For a kid who had tendinitis in her wrist and hadn’t pitched in a week, she did a hell of a job.

“She refused to come out and I don’t think her dad wanted her to come out. There was no way she was coming out of that game. She was pitching so well.”

Willmann had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning until Kelly Richards doubled to left field.

She had six batters reach base all game, but pitched her way out of trouble every time.

In the second, she walked the leadoff batter in Kenna Olson, but got Kristen Aratani to fly out to center, then got a double play when she struck out Brianna Bray and Wisner threw out Olson trying to steal.

In the third, she walked Lauren Kamitsuka, but struck out Tanika Ladd, got Lindsay Cowgill to pop out to shortstop Cara Thompson (who made a great diving catch) then retired Richards on a flyout to left field.

In the fifth, Richards reached base on an error with two outs, but Willmann got the next batter to line out to right field.

In the sixth, Richards doubled with one out, but Willmann used all of two pitches to get Molly Nelson to pop out in foul territory to Karen Robinson at first, then got Kylei Rosselot to ground out.

In the seventh, she walked Olson, but then retired the next two batters via flyout, then after Olson stole second, she struck out Kamitsuka.

Then in the eighth, Richards got on board with an infield single with two outs, but Willmann got Molly Nelson to line out to Kakela.

Wagner said Willmann’s performance through her injury and their sharp play on defense showed how much they wanted this game.

“You can see how badly we wanted to win,” she said. “Everyone’s really in it to win it this year. We had such tight ‘D’(efense) today. I know our team can play well. When we’re on, we’re basically unstoppable.”

Bray was dominant for the Eagles as well, allowing just two hits, but Bainbridge broke through when they needed it.

In their half of the ninth, with the international tiebreaker in effect (a runner is placed on second base to start the inning), Wisner grounded out to advance Haylee Baker to third.

Kakela then singled over a drawn in infield to score the game’s first run.

Cara Thompson singled, then Willmann hit a ground ball to short, who threw home to get Kakela.

She appeared to slide past the catcher’s tag, but was called out.

Wagner then stepped in and singled back up the middle to score Thompson for the second run.

“It was nice to know that we had one run, but I wanted to get that safety run,” she said. “I just went up there and tried to put the ball in play and see if anything would happen.

“I hit a lucky spot and it took a nice hop. It was a good feeling to get that run in.”

Willmann did the rest in the ninth, getting Rosselot to ground out to her, then got Molly Morey to pop out to Thompson and McKenzie Stuby to fly out to Wagner to start the celebration that left everyone stunned – even McCloskey.

“I’m sitting on the bucket with one out and (on) the fly ball to Cara I was thinking ‘Holy crap. This is really going to happen,’” she said. “But these kids deserve it. They worked hard all year. We’ve had our ups and downs but they definitely deserve this win and they deserve to go to state.”

Bainbridge played Bishop Blanchet yesterday.

If they won, they’ll face either Liberty or Sammamish for the district title.

The 3A state tournament is next Friday and Saturday at the South End Recreation Area in Tacoma.

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