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Hopes high as JV squads move up
"Actors have their understudies. The major leagues have the minors. And Bainbridge High School's varsity teams have their JVs.In each case, the headliners grab the attention. The second-billed work just as long and hard with little or no public recognition, and wait for what they hope will be their turn in the limelight.The clubs - lacrosse and water polo - have post-season JV tournaments, and both Bainbridge girls clubs won the state championship. In the team sports, the JVs don't enjoy post-season play.On the one hand, playing for the JVs can be a bummer. The kids want to be on varsity, not here, Bainbridge JV baseball coach Mike Benz said earlier in the season.But JV play has its advantages for the participants. Roles are more fluid than on the varsity, and a player without great ability will still get an opportunity. We're trying to give all the kids a chance to play and develop, JV soccer coach Bruce Claiborne said. If a kid is working hard, he's going to get some playing time. We don't want to count kids out too early.Here is a look at how Bainbridge's JV teams fared this spring:BaseballThe Spartan JV baseball season perfectly echoed the varsity year - only three losses, with two coming to neighboring North Kitsap.And there was nothing subtle about their game. It was hitting, hitting, and more hitting.I was always a defensive guy when I coached in the youth programs, said JV coach Mike Benz, a long-time Little League and Babe Ruth League coach. But I could see early on that hitting was going to be our strength.We would go on these incredible streaks, he said. I think we had 11 hits in a row twice this year. And you never knew when these guys were going to flare off - sometimes it would happen with two outs.They needed the hitting. Early in the year, pitching was a strength. But after Matt Luria and Ross McKinstry were called up to the varsity, it was kind of a committee deal, Benz said.The pitching workhorse was Steve Tawresey, who Benz said has a great arm, but control problems. Benz learned that the best solution was more work - the more he threw, the better his control got. Offensive standouts included Ted Picha, a middle infielder who hit over .500; Ryan Gibbons, who Benz called Mr. RBI; and Jay Clark, who started the year as a relief pitcher but who Benz said was our hottest hitter at the end of the year.Among those players likely to challenge for a varsity slot next year are Marc Rasmussen, a do-everything guy who made only one error all season at third base, and the catching duo of P.J. Holsman and Jeff Tracy.Benz said the year's best single play may have come from centerfielder Dustin Lounsbury, who raced to the fence to haul in what looked like a grand slam homer against Central Kitsap.That was one of the most amazing catches I've ever seen, he said.Others who made major contributions were Scott Leslie and Mike Botefuhr - both of whom split the season between the varsity and JV - as well as Clayton Haller, John Tracy, Joss Gramstad, and Zack Whedbee.I learned a lot about young men and how mature they are this year, Benz said. These guys ran their own drills, and I didn't have any discipline problems whatsoever. I've never had more fun. FastpitchCoach Kendra Field's team got off to a blazing start. Then, as happens with JV teams, the star got promoted to varsity. And while the team slowed down a little, it still finished with a break-even 9-9 record.Like the fastpitch varsity, the JV program rose from the ashes. In 1999, the team won only three games.But the Spartans jumped off to a 4-0 start, including two huge wins at North Mason, in which Bainbridge scored 17 runs in each half of a doubleheader, and a 24-1 pasting of Olympic.Things got tougher after losses to North Kitsap and Bremerton - and after sophomore Chelsea Magraw and her incredible .737 batting average went to the varsity. Wins over Sequim, Olympia and at North Kitsap kept the Spartans' heads above water, and they finished with a 3-0 shutout of Bremerton and a forfeit from Sequim.We started real strong, then had a tough spot in the middle, coach Kendra Field said. That was tough after blowing out the first three teams.The team's top hitters were freshmen Erin Hannon, .348, and Julia McComas, .324, followed by sophs Sarah Camiel, .314, Lizzie Greene, .297 and Sarina Corpuz, .276. Sophomore Allie Vail hit .250, but walked so often that she had an on-base percentage of .510. Vail and Greene shared the pitching chores, and both won four games.We had those same pitchers last year, Field said. This year, they came out throwing real hard and developed other pitches. That really helped us.Other front-line players were freshman Katie Bateman, who had a .471 on-base percentage; sophomore Krisi Kosina, with a .423 OBP; freshman Alyson Jay, who scored 11 runs; and sophomore Missy Beck, who struggled at the plate but played error-free ball in the field.Junior Kristin Braun and sophomores Kelli Menalia, Sarah Briggs and Yuri Sackett also saw action. Yoko McCann split the season between the JV and varsity.It's nice to see the program move up, Field said. We had a great attitude from the players this year, and a much more positive attitude from the coaching staff.GolfThe JV golfers had a perfect season, which has varsity coach Doug Cook excited about the prospects for next year.They had some good players, Cook said of the team that Mike Welch coached.And we'll need some help. Tyler Horne and Ian Faddis are graduating, and Ryan Mahoney is what I call a graduating sophomore - his family is moving to California.The top JV player was sophomore Jarrett Jorgenson, who consistently shot in the low 40s for the nine-hole JV matches, and who had a 37 against Sequim. Freshmen Liam Maher and Jeremy Turner were close behind.Two other freshmen, Nick Dubitzky and James Toepel, split the season between the varsity and the JV.There were no girl JV players. This was the first year we had enough girls to fill the varsity team, Cook said. Boys' lacrosseAt first glance, it doesn't look good. The boys lacrosse JV team won only three games while losing seven. And the varsity loses 12 seniors. Does that mean the lacrosse machine that has produced seven straight state titles is running on empty?Not necessarily. In fact, things are running right on schedule.The Spartan B team is simply playing a different game than its opponents.The16 high school lacrosse clubs in the state are divided into two divisions, A and B. Bainbridge is the only school to field two clubs. So in the B division games, Bainbridge is sending its JVs against the other school's biggest and best players.Our kids are all real young - freshmen and sophomores, coach Kiilani Yette said. We're playing juniors and seniors. Our kids have great stick skills, but they're not as physically developed.The team's offensive leader was sophomore Jacob Hayashi, who scored 25 of the squad's 54 goals. Against Maple Valley, Hayashi registered six of the eight Spartan scores.Cory Schaffer and Matt Steffen were the starting attackers along with Hayashi. Ross Maloney, Cam Karsten and Andy Kelly were the midfielders, and Brian Cook, Andy Crane and Dan Blakey were the starting defenders.Charlie Delius stood in and became our goalie midway through the season, and was outstanding, Yette said.Yette thinks the existence of a B team makes a strong contribution to the Bainbridge lacrosse dynasty.By the time these kids are juniors and seniors, they will have been playing against juniors and seniors for two years already, Yettes said. A feeder program like this is one of the reasons we have been so successful. Girls' lacrosse The girls lacrosse JV team surprised everyone, probably including themselves, by rallying from a slow start to capture the state JV championship.We struggled early this year, coach Laura Newlon said, pointing to opening-season losses to Mercer Island and Holy Names. But the team rallied, and ran off 10 wins against a lone defeat.And the Spartans atoned for their losses in postseason play. After beating Seattle Prep in the quarterfinals, they beat Holy Names in a 12-11 semifinal thriller, then dominated Mercer Island 14-7 in the championship game.The Holy Names game was our most challenging, Newlon said. That was the first time we went into a game knowing we were the underdog. The girls played their hearts out, and we won a close, exciting game.Newlon named Christen Faltermeier the most valuable defender; Eliza Davison the most valuable midfielder; and Caitlin Holliday the most valuable attacker. All are sophomores.Nadine Nagamatsu, the team's lone senior, who had not played lacrosse for several years, was selected as the most inspirational player. She had a very positive attitude the entire season, and brought maturity and leadership, Newlon said.Amy Harrington and Sandra Corpuz divided goalkeeping duties. Corpuz, Davison and Ashley Deline were the co-captains.Despite the team's excellence, many of the players may be back on the JV again next year. The varsity, undefeated state champions, lose only three players.There will be an awful lot of competition next year for the varsity positions, Newlon said. Boys' soccerThe JV soccer team posted a 10-5-1 record, highlighted by a pair of wins over powerful Port Angeles and a last-second goal to tie arch-rival North Kitsap.It was a positive season. We got our share of things accomplished, coach Bruce Claiborne said.Sophomore Kris Ley led the squad in both scoring and assists. Claiborne called the midfielder one of our more versatile players, adding, I expect him to hit the varsity next year.Others with a good chance to move up include the goalies, sophomore Blaine Ness and freshman Robbie Spencer. Both varsity goalies this year were seniors.The juniors on the team were forward David Sweningson, a player new to the program who improved as the season wore on, and midfielder/defender Ollie Ludlow.Sophomore contributors included Daniel Sackett, who Claiborne called a key player and stopper; sweeper Reed Knapp, the last line of defense, who really developed during the year; and the versatile Lawrence Ream, a consistent scorer who understands the game really well, and who played every position except goalie.The freshmen included Tristan Traywick, a good playmaker who took corner kicks; Drew Keller, a playmaking forward who Claiborne called a key offensive player; Emmett Adams, a midfielder who was strong on defense and one of the top scorers on offense; and Mike Gore, who helped on the scoring.TennisJV tennis coach Irva Cooper had an embarrassment of riches this season - 18 players.It's unbelievable how many kids turned out, she said.And, consistent with the JV philosophy of developing talent, she tried to give everyone equal time. Everybody played singles, and everybody played doubles, Cooper said.Which might suggest a spotty, up-and-down season. But that's not what happened. In fact, the JVs won 15 matches while losing only one. The sole loss came to Port Angeles, which was the only school to beat the Spartan varsity.Maggie Fick and Jen Bradshaw tried out for varsity sub-districts, and Brandon Weiss played with the varsity on a couple of occasions. They could move up next year, as could Amanda Johncock, Trenton Gibbons and Chloe Schlichter, who tried out for varsity this year. Other JV players were Amanda Allender, P.J. Bradshaw, Garth Manheim, Danny Steyer, Blake Bodnar, Elle Clark, Suzanne Fossum, Tyler Johnston, Alex Riede, Alex Watson, Jake Kanev and Gordon DuPont.I'm really proud of those players, Cooper said. There was a lot of enthusiasm, and I look forward to next year. Girls' water poloThe JV water polo club took the ultimate prize - the state championship.They went 13-2 on the season, which they capped with a 5-4 come-from-behind win over Mercer Island for the title.We had a great combination of youth and maturity, coach Steve Killpack said.The team had four seniors - Megan Mihara, Mara Surel, Erica Pederson and Amy Titterington - all of whom were new to water polo. They brought a lot of maturity and emotional stability, Killpack said.In year-end awards, Michelle Purdom was named the top offensive player, Natalie Berry the top defender, Pederson the most improved and Sara Dean the most inspirational. This was an extremely enthusiastic group of young players, Killpack said. With the departure of 11 seniors from the varsity, they're ready to step up."