Fastpitchers go .500 at state tourney

Chelsie Kakela goes after a ground ball during the opening round game of the 3A fastpitch tournament in Tacoma.  - Brad Camp/Staff Photos
Chelsie Kakela goes after a ground ball during the opening round game of the 3A fastpitch tournament in Tacoma.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photos

Spartans win two games, make it to second day of tournament.

TACOMA - This time around, there were no controversial calls that went against the Bainbridge fastpitch team.

Instead, it was a combination of a late night and an early morning that ultimately did them in.

But the Spartans played .500 ball at the 3A state fastpitch tournament at the SERA Fields in Tacoma last weekend.

They lost to eventual state finalist Timberline 4-2 but rebounded to defeat Kelso 3-2 and Liberty 11-0 in five innings Friday before they were eliminated by Kamiakin 5-1 Saturday.

Against the Blazers, Bainbridge struggled against pitcher Annaleisha Parsley, as she repeated her strong performance from last year’s state tournament opener by striking out 12 batters.

Spartan ace Lindsay Willmann did her part to keep Timberline batters off balance and she even got an assist from centerfielder Chelsie Kakela, who threw out Ashley Raben at home in the second inning.

But the Blazers got all the runs they needed in the next inning, when a base hit and an error put runners on first and second.

Gatalina Schuster then doubled into the gap to score both runs.

Marikka Benson followed with a single, but Willmann came back to strike out the next batter and get Parsley to line out to Caitlin McCormick in right field.

Raben singled back up the middle to put two more runs on the board.

Parsley was sailing along until the fifth inning, when Kaitlin Gaspich put the first pitch she saw into left field for a double.

Lauren Reichert followed with a single to score Gaspich, then Clara Dunn reached on a bunt single as no one covered first base.

But Parsley came back to strike out Haylee Baker to end the threat.

In the sixth, Cara Thompson hit the first pitch she saw into centerfield for a single, then advanced to second when Kakela tried to bunt to advance her.

She popped it up to Parsley who threw to first to double Thompson off but threw it away for an error.

She eventually scored on a base hit by Willmann.

That was all Bainbridge could get, as Parsley struck out five of the next six batters she faced to send the Spartans to the consolation bracket.

“We were not swinging at good pitches,” Willmann said. “I think we were a little nervous.

“Timberline is a very good ball club,” Wisner said. “We played them hard, we gave them everything we had and we did lose, but we didn’t give up after that.”

Against the Hilanders, both Willmann and Kelso pitcher Jenna DeRosier were locked in a pitcher’s duel for three and a half innings before Bainbridge got on board in the fourth as Kelso committed two errors that led to a run.

Reichert made them pay for their mistakes with a base hit to drive in two more runs.

Willmann was sailing along as she struck out seven and got some nice defensive plays from McCormick in right who made a catch near the fence, then later made a great sliding catch to save a run.

“The freshmen did a great job,” head coach Liz McCloskey said of McCormick and Dunn’s play over the two days.

“These kids want to be successful and they have the desire to do it.”

She also gave kudos to Reichert, who drove in several runs and played flawlessly at third.

“She’s never played third base and we turned her into a third baseman,” McCloskey said. “She did a fantastic job for us.”

The Hilanders made it interesting in the seventh when a fielder’s choice and a ball that skipped over the bag at first put runners on second and third.

Willmann got the next batter to pop out, but Sadie Salte hit a ball that went off Karen Robinson’s glove to score both runners.

But Baker was there to quickly grab the ball and throw to Thompson to easily tag out Salte and end the game.

Against the Patriots, Bainbridge finally got on track with its offense.

After putting just one run on the board in the third inning despite having the bases loaded, the Spartans scored four in the fourth as they took advantage of three Patriot errors.

Thompson drove in two with a double that was inches from clearing the fence while Kakela drove in the other two with a double.

Bainbridge batted around in the fifth to end the game via the mercy rule.

Baker drove in two runs with a triple.

Meanwhile, Willmann was on a roll, collecting seven more strikeouts as she kept the Liberty batters from slapping the ball all over the field.

She gave up just one hit.

“We lost to them last year (at districts) so we said we need to beat them and make it to the second day,” she said.

Willmann went all seven innings in the three games she pitched Friday.

“Our defense is stronger when I pitch, so it’s basically go as long as I can,” she said. “Plus we had breaks, so it was fine.

“The first game we didn’t play very well, so it was like ‘we are not losing two games in one day,” Willmann continued.

“She pitched absolutely amazing,” Wisner said.

“I didn’t know she had it in her, because we’ve been playing these three inning games all year, so for her to come out and throw three complete games in one day is pretty good,” she continued.

But against the Braves, the Spartans had a tough time getting anything going.

Sarah O’Brien scored in the second on an error, then Allegra Wilde drove in a run on a groundout in the third.

The Spartans got its lone run in its half of the third when Baker tripled to right field, just missing a home run.

Thompson drove her in with a base hit.

Bainbridge could have added more runs (they outhit Kamiakin 7-4), but they kept chasing after Deni Teel’s rise ball (she struck out seven) or they couldn’t get any breaks.

Most notable was a line shot by McCormick in the sixth inning that second baseman Lyndsey Minnich just snagged with her glove.

The Spartans left eight runners on base for the game.

“That’s not like us at all,” McCloskey said.

Wilde drove in two more runs with a double in the fifth, then got another one in the seventh on an error.

Dunn and Thompson reached on base hits in Bainbridge’s half of the seventh, but Kakela flew out to end the game and the season.

Even though the team’s trip ended without a trophy, they’ll be in good position to earn one next year.

Everyone save for Robinson is returning for another year while a stellar freshman class – including Lindsay’s younger sister Hailey, a pitcher – is coming in to bring more talent to the program.

“We’re definitely going to be back next year,” McCloskey said. “We’re going to do some damage.”

Robinson said she feels they can do it as well.

“I’m the only one that’s leaving and I’m not even in the batting order,” she said.

Bainbridge finishes with a record of 26-5.

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