Sparts run out of arms

"In a game that was all about pitching and hitting - they hit, we didn't, one fan said - the Spartans' hopes for a state title were dashed in an 11-1 quarterfinal loss to Mount Vernon Saturday.Bainbridge was hard-pressed to find pitchers against the top-ranked Bulldogs. The hard-working tandem of Thomas Henshaw and Chris Shaffer had earned well-deserved rests after wins that captured the district title and the first round of the state tournament Thursday evening.But University of Washington-bound lefty Jamie Hawkins was experiencing shoulder tendonitis. Hawkins, who had been out of the pitching rotation since May 8, pitched to only the first three Bulldog batters, giving up a double, a single, and a two-RBI single before he left the mound for right field.Coach Mike Reese turned to his rookie pitchers for the big game, rather than junior Matt Luria, his next experienced pitcher. Sophomore Ross McKinstry, - who had thrown 100 pitches in six innings during the season - took the mound, giving up seven hits and seven runs over three innings. Sophomore Pat Crowthers, who had pitched only one varsity inning to date, was given the ball in the fourth, giving up a hit and no runs. In the bottom of the fifth, with the score 9-1, senior Carl French was brought in. French who had just three pitching appearances during the season, looked good early, retiring the first two batters he faced. But a single and two-run homer by Bulldog catcher Sean Linak (4-4 with two home runs) put the Bulldogs 10 runs up and ended the game in the fifth.Offensively the Spartans had only three hits, two by Cole Childers and one by designated hitter Dustin Atkinson. A single run in the first inning, after a leadoff walk by Tyler Burkland, was all the Spartans could muster against the Bulldogs' number-two pitcher, Colin Kelley. The Spartans dugout was unusually quiet. We feel good that we captured the district title, co-captain Henshaw said. We made it to competition with the top eight teams in the state, and we went one game further than last year's team. We just ran out of pitchers.The team finished the season with a 17-4 mark, ranked fifth in the state."

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