Sports

Bainbridge majors softball can’t get past teams at state

(Top) Leah Nordberg attempts to bunt during a game at the Little League state tournament in Walla Walla last weekend.  (Left) Caitlin Maguire tags out a runner at third base. Bainbridge went 1-2 at the tournament.  - Courtesy of Jonathan Jones
(Top) Leah Nordberg attempts to bunt during a game at the Little League state tournament in Walla Walla last weekend. (Left) Caitlin Maguire tags out a runner at third base. Bainbridge went 1-2 at the tournament.
— image credit: Courtesy of Jonathan Jones

t Team goes 1-2 under the hot sun in Walla Walla.

The Bainbridge Island Little League 11-12-year-old softball All-Stars traveled five hours across the state to the home of the Washington state Little League softball tournament hosted by Walla Walla Little League last weekend. Bainbridge participated in the tournament with nine other teams from across the state.

They earned their spot in this tournament by winning the district championship in Poulsbo earlier in the week, with a sweep of their opponents.

Bainbridge and its first opponent in Sedro Woolley traveled the farthest to play in this tournament. Both teams had to acclimate to temperatures that topped 96 degrees by the 10 a.m. game time and a grass infield which differed from the accustomed “skinned” or clay infield.

The game was very tight and low scoring from the start with Sedro Woolley putting the first run on the board in the first inning. Bainbridge scored in the third inning with second baseman Julie Feikes crossing the plate off of a Leah Nordberg fielder’s choice hit.

Caitlin Maguire pitched five strong innings, only walking one batter for the entire game and striking out three in a row to close out the third inning. In the fourth inning, Sedro Woolley had several hits but was unable to score due to the one-two punch of great stops by Erin Jones at second base with throws to Catie Muir at first. The third out came from a tag at home by Maguire with a passed ball toss from catcher Kyra Easley. The score stayed tied until the fifth inning, when Bainbridge looked more like the strong hitting and aggressive base running team that they showed in district games.

With a two-out rally, the batters in the top three spots – Kayla Estes, Easley and Nordberg – all had hits and the top two scored, putting Bainbridge ahead by two runs until Sedro Woolley added one more in the fifth. As the visiting team, Bainbridge was unable to add to its lead, despite continued great hits by Maguire and first baseman Hannah Lipka, who each had two hits for the game.

In a tight play at home with a throw by Feikes to Easley, Sedro Woolley tied the game then scored the winning run with another hit back up to second base.

Falling to the loser’s bracket and with another loss meaning packing up their bags and heading home, the Bainbridge All-Stars fought hard and returned to their championship form against Battle Ground on Sunday.

Estes pitched a no-hitter, going six amazing innings while striking out nine and walking just three.

The stellar combination of Maguire (at shortstop) and Easley threw out two opposing runners attempting to steal second base. Lipka almost picked off a runner at first with a quick throw from Easley.

In the second game, Bainbridge was much more aggressive and fleet of foot on the base paths as it strung together steal after steal in the second inning, including Nordberg and Feikes each stealing twice to reach home. The inning started off with speedy right fielder Quinn Erickson outrunning the throw to first.

Bainbridge batted around to Erickson once again, as she hit a two RBI single. When the dust settled on the second inning, Bainbridge had scored six runs.

Defense and strong pitching prevailed for both teams until Bainbridge added a run in the fourth inning. That’s all Bainbridge needed to finish off Battle Ground 8-0 and remain cool despite the late afternoon sun that was reported to reach over 100 degrees on the field.

On Monday, evening Bainbridge faced Sammamish. It was a tight contest with Bainbridge unable to string together enough hits to score and Sammamish adding one run each in the first, third and fourth. Sammamish could have scored more but center fielder Deahna King made two awesome catches on balls hit hard to right center field to shut them down with four batters in the third inning.

Her outfield partner, right fielder Roxanne Edenholm, scooped up a ball in short right field and threw out a Sammamish runner coming in home to end the fourth inning. Bainbridge had a two-out rally in the top of the sixth with a booming hit by center fielder Anna Obergottsberger that scored two runs. But it wasn’t enough, as Bainbridge lost 9-2.

Bainbridge Island’s team was lead by the leadership and experience of Estes participating on her unprecedented fifth Little League All-Star team and Lauren Sheehan on her fourth tour and in every year she was eligible.

Sheehan, Maguire, Nordberg, Easley and Erin Jones were all part of the 2007 state 10-11 softball championship team that made several big contributions to this year’s team. Obergottsberger and Erickson also played well in their first year on an All-Star team.

“Although the team would have loved to continue their march to the state championship, their success, their sportsmanship in defeat and the depth of the friendships formed characterized this all-star experience,” manager Jennifer Easley said.

–With information supplied by BILL’s Jennifer Easley

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