Spartans beat Raiders in thriller

Coming into Thursday’s game against Nathan Hale, Stephanie Wagner had yet to record a hit in a Bainbridge uniform.

After the dust at Wilson Pacific field settled, Wagner had not only a hit, but possibly the best hit of the year.

The freshman, down two strikes and facing the third Spartan out in the top of the sixth inning, punched a high pop fly to right field that dropped just behind Hale’s Karol Neavor and rolled.

And rolled. And rolled some more. Meanwhile, Ashley Anderson had scored from first base and Wagner was rounding third – legging out an inside-the-park home run on her inaugural hit of the season to put the Spartans up 6-4.

“I was kind of nervous (at bat),” Wagner said. “I’m not that great a hitter.”

Though Wagner broke the game open in the sixth, it took a dogged effort to get the Spartans to that point.

From the first inning on, Bainbridge put the bat onto the ball with ease – but it was always directly at a Nathan Hale player. Jamie Callaham singled in her first at-bat and Carrie Parsons drew a walk from pitcher Emily Radolla, but both runners were stranded as Hale players easily snatched up infield line drives.

Nathan Hale scored one run in the first after Raquel Crosier singled to center, advanced to second on a sacrifice, and Stephanie Packard sent her home with a shot to left field.

Only four Bainbridge batters made it to the plate in the second, and three in the third, but the Spartans fared better in the fourth inning as Parsons crushed a ball to left field for a double.

A passed ball advanced Parsons to third and lefty Anderson hit a rocket to Hale’s Megan Van Aelstyn, who bobbled the ball. Parsons scored on the gaff, and Anderson decided to try for a double but was thrown out at second.

The Raiders countered with a triple by Packard, who scored on Kesa Mueller’s single – and Mueller crossed the plate after a bad throw to first on Elodia Fernandez’s bunt.

Bainbridge went down 1-2-3 in the fifth inning, and the Raiders were beginning to look like they were going to put the game out of the Spartans’ reach. Koller hit Brittany Goble in the hip, and Goble made her way to third on a pair of sacrifices. Packard got an RBI on a single to short left, just over third baseman Amanda Szarzynski’s head.

Something finally clicked in the sixth, and Logan Mohr led off with a ripping line drive that deflected high into the air off of Crosier’s glove for a single.

Hale’s Radolla, not wanting a repeat of Parsons’ earlier air mail sent to left field, pitched low and inside. One was low enough to miss catcher Kelly Thorman entirely, and Mohr cruised to second. Parsons had to settle for a walk, and Anderson turned a beautiful bunt into a triple and two RBIs as the throw to first was too high to handle.

Another wild pitch scored Anderson to tie the game at 4-4 with no outs.

Things were certainly looking up for the Spartans, but Alexis Hujar’s shot to deep centerfield was snagged by Sonia Ivancic, and Szarzynski hit to shortstop Brittany Goble.

Chelsea Baker got on base with a two-out single, bringing Wagner to the plate for her home-run heroics and a 6-4 Spartan lead.

Hale finally shut down the inning by throwing out Koller at first, but the damage had already been done.

A rejuvenated Bainbridge team positively shone on defense in the bottom of the sixth, with Amber Bond’s running catch in centerfield and a spectacular double play – Radolla pulled a drive to Szarzynski, who threw to Callaham at second. Callaham fired a bullet to first-baseman Anderson, who was stretched like a rubber band from the bag.

Mohr doubled and was scored by Parsons’ hit up the middle to add an insurance run to the Bainbridge total, but it wasn’t necessary, as Nathan Hale was again clobbered by the Spartan defense.

Coach Steve Nelson, while confounded by the early innings of the game, was relieved at the outcome.

“We hit the ball right at them for five innings and couldn’t get our timing down. But we finally made the adjustment,” Nelson said. “I think they were torturing me on purpose.”

Spartans 5, Eagles 3

The Spartans traveled to Klahowya on Tuesday to take on the Eagles in a non-league game. Bainbridge survived a late Klahowya rally to earn a 5-3 win in eight innings.

Sara Robinson keyed the Spartan victory, both in the circle and at the plate. The senior hurled a complete game to run her record to

4-2. She also contributed a single, double, and two RBIs to the Spartan offense.

Bainbridge opened the scoring in the second inning with a Szarzynski one out single. She then advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches. With two outs, Robinson rapped a sharp single to center to bring Szarzynski home for the first run.

The Spartans added a pair of runs in the third inning – Mohr led off with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Parsons reached first on an infield error with Mohr holding at third. Hujar executed a perfect squeeze bunt to drive in Mohr. The throw to first ended up down the right field line, allowing Parsons to score from first, while Hujar ended up at second, then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Klahowya escaped further damage when Szarzynski grounded into a double play, with Hujar thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

Robinson held Klahowya to just two hits through five innings. The Eagles finally began their rally in the sixth, when three consecutive singles loaded the bases. A line drive up the middle was snared by Robinson, who then doubled up the runner on first. Another Eagle single brought home the first two Klahowya runs.

The home team tied the game in the bottom of the seventh, helped significantly by two uncharacteristic throwing errors by Mohr.

Playing the International Tie Breaker in the 8th inning, the Spartans scored twice. Anderson started the inning on second base, and a Hujar sacrifice bunt moved her to third. Szarzynski brought Anderson home with a well-executed squeeze play. With two outs, Bond reached first on catcher interference, stole second, and scored on Robinson’s double.

Robinson shut down the Eagles in their half of the eighth inning, striking out the first two batters, then inducing a grounder to first base to end the game at 5-3.

Kirk Robinson contributed to this report

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