Sports Roundup -- Spartans routed by Crusaders/Fastpitchers can’t hold onto lead/Kickers can’t put Crusaders away/Poloists trounce Eastside, 11-1/Tennis teams e

Spartans routed by Crusaders

Much like their namesakes did a thousand years ago, the Eastside Catholic Crusaders pushed back the Spartan hardballers as they played for the top spot in the Metro League Mountain Division.

EC scored 10 runs in the first two innings en route to a 13-1 victory in five innings. The Spartans’ loss, coupled with Seattle Prep’s two victories this week, pushed Bainbridge down to third place in the division.

“They’re a good ballclub,” Spartan coach Jayson Gore said of Eastside Catholic. “They’ve got a real good shot to win State.”

Starter Jordan Schager lasted only 1-1/3 inning, giving up all 10 runs, five of them unearned, on nine hits.

The trouble started in the first inning, as EC’s Cole Akins bunted for a single, Nick Latanrio singled and Billy Marcoe walked. Pat Lloid hit a hard grounder to Zach Peach that could have been a double play, but the ball took a huge bounce over the shortstop’s head, scoring Akins and Latanrio.

It went downhill from there, as the Crusaders batted around and took advantage of three Spartan errors to put Bainbridge in a 7-0 hole before they even got to bat.

In the second, Schager gave up a single to Marcoe, then got Lloid to strike out. He struck out Seth Salinas, but the ball went off catcher Josh Truan’s glove, allowing him to reach base. Garrett Miller then doubled, scoring Marcoe and Salinas.

Bainbridge got runners on base, but never really threatened starter David Roberts until the fifth, when they scored on an RBI single by David Lantz. They worked the bases loaded with one out, but C.J. Hall struck out and Robbie Stevenson popped out to the shortstop to end the game.

Gore knew Eastside Catholic would be a big test, but the poor first inning didn’t help any.

“It set a bad tone,” he said. “It gave them all the momentum and took it away from us. We lost our confidence before we even got to hit.”

But he was pleased with their approach at the plate and how they put the ball in play; the Spartans as a team just struck out three times all game.

They still have a chance to win the division.

“I told them the silver lining is we are still playing for first place,” he said. “These guys are (mad) they got 10-runned, but a loss is a loss. With that, take that in mind and use it to play better next time.”

After yesterday’s game against Eastside Catholic, the Spartans travel to White Center Park to play Seattle Prep on Monday, then play the Panthers on Wednesday at BHS in the last home game of the year. Start time is at 4 p.m.

– John Becerra, Jr.

Fastpitchers can’t hold onto lead

After their post-game meeting, the Bainbridge Island fastpitch team gathered by the dugout gate and gave Stephanie Wagner’s father a cake and sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

But there was no celebration for the way they played on Wednesday. Up 4-1 against Eastside Catholic going into the seventh, the Spartans gave up eight runs in a 9-4 loss.

What happened?

“They figured out Karen (Robinson, the Spartans’ pitcher),” shortstop Amanda Szarzynski said.

Coach Liz McCloskey agreed.

“In the seventh inning, something clicked with them where they caught on to Karen and they sat back and waited for the right time,” McCloskey said. “They had some nice base hits.”

After the Crusaders went up 1-0 on Brittany Brown’s homer in the third, the Spartans came back in the fourth. Szarzynski reached base on an error, then Tabitha Mabrey singled and Wagner doubled, bringing both of them home. In the fifth, Wagner struck again with a two-RBI single.

Robinson walked only one and struck out two, and got help from her defense – the Sparts turned their first double play of the year in the fifth – but the wheels came off in the seventh.

The first eight batters reached base for Eastside Catholic before an out was made, and all eight scored. Robinson gave up six straight hits, including a two-RBI single by Alex Angier and an RBI double by Jacqui Wong.

Bainbridge tried to rally in their half of the inning. Robinson hit a one-out single, but Szarzynski hit into a fielder’s choice, forcing Robinson at second. Mabrey grounded out to end the game.

The loss comes at a bad time for the Spartans. With just three games to go, the team is still two games behind Seattle Prep for the last playoff spot.

“I think we’re disappointed we didn’t win, but we know for next time that we do have the capability to win,” Wagner said.

Said first baseman Marci Morford, “You just have to be happy with the way you played, and we played great. They just hit the ball when they needed to.”

After yesterday’s game against Eastside Catholic, Bainbridge will play Seattle Prep on Monday at Viewridge, then face the Panthers in their last home game of the year at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

– John Becerra, Jr.

Kickers can’t put Crusaders away

The contest was contentious and controversial.

Facing division leaders Eastside Catholic Tuesday, the Bainbridge varsity soccer team more than held its own in an even and entertaining match before a healthy Memorial Stadium crowd.

The Spartans went into the lead then twice, but both times saw the Crusaders take advantage of dead ball situations to earn a 2-2 tie.

“I thought our guys played well,” coach Anh Tran said. “Well enough to win.”

John Grue played a role in both Bainbridge goals, launching a cross for a Zach Mallove shot that Eastside goalkeeper Scott Barnum parried away. Jesse Burk-Rafel pounced onto the rebound to open the early Spartan lead, 1-0 in the 15th minute.

Six minutes later Bainbridge keeper Alex Bolt came sharply off his line to make a play on Alex Moskos, clipping him after the ball was away. Blanchet’s Corey Sinser put away the penalty kick for a 1-1 tie.

Grue capitalized with a skillful play, chesting a long rebound from outside the Crusader 18-yard box, and volleying in a looping shot that beat Barnum to the back of the net in the 27th minute and put the Spartans ahead 2-1 for the half – and almost for the win.

Squelching the powerful Eastside attack was a tall order. Bainbridge kept up the pressure, limiting Blanchet shot opportunities to six while putting 13 on the Crusaders’ goal. The Spartans earned an 8-2 advantage in corner kicks, as well.

Bolt made several outstanding saves to keep Bainbridge ahead. Once Nic Bruya managed to get behind Spartan defender Zach Conner, coming off an injury that kept him out of the previous match. But Bolt cut down his angle well, punching away a point-blank shot from only eight yards for perhaps the best play of the match.

Both teams rode the referee throughout the match, resulting in the first-half ejection of the EC goalkeeper for mouthing off. But the referee giveth, and the referee taketh away.

In the waning moments, the action grew frantic, as both teams stretched to make their goals. Moskos appeared to have tied the game, nodding in a far- post cross from deep in the right corner. But the referee, consulting with his assistant on the far touchline, waved off the score, signaling offsides to the relief of the hometown crowd.

When in the final minutes he ruled a Burk-Rafel slide tackle a foul, he gave EC a direct free kick from outside the box. With the wall set left, goalkeeper Bolt shaded right to cover the naked post, which is where Andy Hampson bent his free kick blast. The ball curved from right to left, bending inside the post and skimming the inside of the side-netting for the tying score.

Hampson celebrated the score with a full field run while Bainbridge slumped. The referee gave a minute of added time, but Bainbridge didn’t manage a score.

Against Bishop Blanchet on Thursday, the damage was done in the first half, figuratively and literally.

After a top drawer goal in the 15th minute by Ellis McGloufin, Blanchet scored on a corner kick and penalty kick, making five of the last six goals scored against Bainbridge coming on dead-ball restarts.

“Set plays are very hard to defend for us,” Tran said. “You put it in the danger zone and it’s fifty-fifty, more or less. They’ve been getting theirs in more than us.”

Down 3-0 at the half, the Spartans held off the hosts. Though they dominated possession, Bainbridge couldn’t put in a goal to get back in it.

The Braves made their three first frame goals stand up for the win.

Junior varsity goalkeeper Aaron Mumm played the whole way for Bolt, who was out with pain in his wrists. Burk-Rafel was injured in the first 40 minutes as well, but both starters are expected to play next week.

“Aaron actually played really well,” Tran said, and the difference was Blanchet’s Ellis McGloufin, a national player.

“Anytime you get a guy who is top 18 out of the 50 states, there’s no surprise he makes the difference.”

Bainbridge held their own, taking nine shots in the match to 10 by Blanchet, mostly in the first half.

“We had our chances,” Tran said. “Several sailed high for Amine, and Jesse missed one, too. Any of those going in would change the complexion of the match.”

As far as postseason hopes, the tie and loss didn’t help but didn’t hurt either. Bainbridge has one more chance to make it into the district playoffs.

“It all comes down to Tuesday’s match with Seattle Prep here,” Tran said. “We beat them, we go to the playoffs. Simple as that”

Tuesday will be for more than to avenge their fluky 1-0 loss to the Panthers last month. Consider it a Bainbridge ‘play-in’ game.

Kick-off at Memorial Stadium is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. May 10. Two days later the Spartans close out the season with a 4 p.m. return match against Eastside Catholic at Tukwila’s Starfire Center.

– T.F. Smeeth

Poloists trounce Eastside, 11-1

The Bainbridge Island Water Polo Club continued its winning ways April 30, defeating a visiting Eastside 11-1 to complete a brief homestand.

The Spartans handled the Crusaders a day after taking apart Bellevue 7-4; in both games they exhibited clinical execution befitting a 2004 championship side set on returning to the title game Memorial Day weekend.

The White team, the junior varsity squad, won at Eastside, 6-5.

– T.F. Smeeth

Tennis teams earn bronze with loss

The Bainbridge tennis team closed out its Metro season with a 7-4 loss to undefeated league champ Seattle Prep, finishing third with a 6-4 league record, 8-4 overall.

The girls singles won three straight, with Whitney Cheng, Molly Donohue and Lauren Trageser tuning up for the Viking Invitational today. Anna Judson joined Gaelen Kelly to take the mixed doubles and the other Spartan team point.

Joining Judson and the top three Spartans at the eight team tournament beginning at 9 a.m. are Jamie Slonaker, Taylor Raquer and Natalie Willits.

Taking third place in the tough A-division of the Metro League, the Spartans equal their best team finish over four years in the new alignment. Missing the team tournament, Anderson anticipates a full slate of Spartans will be selected Tuesday for the league’s individual tournament to begin next weekend.

Yesterday, Judson headed a lineup in playoffs that would determine participation in the league All-Comers tournament, as well.

Coach Mike Anderson reflected on the team season, recognizing improvement within a schedule that had Bainbridge facing the toughest two teams first and last.

“Basically we beat the people we were supposed to beat,” he said. “We didn’t quite have enough depth to unseat the powers, Seattle Prep and Lakeside. We played them better the second time around, score wise and with close matches.”

Against Lakeside, the Spartans were tied 4-4 with three matches going.

“Unfortunately we lost those matches,” Anderson said. “Even at Seattle Prep midway through, we were in it.

Now it’s taking that level where they are now and applying on an individual and team basis to push themselves to get further.”

– T.F. Smeeth

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