Sports

Lose one, win one: Spartans fall to Mount Si, beat Holy Names in fastpitch

The Spartans’ Emma Lindsay makes the tag on a Mount Si runner during Bainbridge’s game against the Wildcats in the Sea-King tournament.  - Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review
The Spartans’ Emma Lindsay makes the tag on a Mount Si runner during Bainbridge’s game against the Wildcats in the Sea-King tournament.
— image credit: Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review

An avalanche of early runs from Mount Si flattened the Spartans in the first round of the semifinals of the Sea-King District 2 Fastpitch Tournament as the Wildcats went on to win 16-9.

But Bainbridge bounced right back in the second game to stun Holy Names — the Spartans’ regular season nemesis — with a 9-3 victory in girls softball at Lower Woodland Park late last week.

Bainbridge entered the Sea-King tourney with a spot already secured in the 2014 WIAA 3A State Softball Championships, which begin Friday at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.

Even so, Spartan Coach Liz McCloskey told her team that it was better to end the tournament at the top, then leave with poor seeding for the state tournament.

The Wildcats, however, didn’t get the memo on Bainbridge’s big plans for the Sea-King tournament. And the Spartans had their work cut out for them against the scrappy team from Snoqualmie, as the Wildcats had edged the Spartans 6-1 in a non-conference matchup on May 7.

True to form, Mount Si unloaded on Bainbridge early, with three runs in the first inning and another four in the second to cruise to a 7-0 lead.

Bainbridge found its scoring rhythm in the top of the third, and with four runs, cut the Mount Si advantage to 7-4.

The Wildcats continued to roll, though, and put another four runs on the board to move ahead 11-4.

Errors on the Spartans’ side — there were six total in the contest — helped the Wildcats plate runs.

The two teams played even across the final innings, with each side posting another five runs, to seal the scoring at 16-9.

Mount Si was led by the impressive offense of Britney Stevens, who banged two doubles on 3-of-3 batting and finished with four RBIs.

Teammates Celine Fowler, Nikki Carroll and Paige Wetherbee combined for six RBIs.

“That was a tough game for us,” Spartan Coach McCloskey said of the Mount Si matchup.

“We made mental mistakes, we made physical mistakes; we were not on top of our game,” she said. “That was disappointing to see.”

Against Holy Names — a team that’s beaten the Spartans convincingly three times earlier this season — Bainbridge trailed 2-1 after the first inning but took control in the second with a three-run inning and never eased up.

The Spartans padded their 4-2 lead with five more runs in the sixth inning to secure the win.

The team’s gut-check response after the loss to the Wildcats was impressive, especially considering it came against Holy Names.

“It’s hard to come back after a loss, especially if you don’t play your best,” McCloskey said.

“I reminded them we’re all in the same boat,” McCloskey said, recalling her words to the Spartans about how a top-three finish is infinitely better for seeding at state than a bottom-of-the-bracket outcome.

The Spartans came through in a big way for the team’s 16th win of the season.

Natalya Niehaus went 2-for-4 and tagged Holy Names with a triple. She had an RBI and scored two runs for the Spartans.

Emma Lindsay went 3-for-4 and had two RBIs, while Kate Kinney went 2-for-3 with one run scored.

Megan Spray also connected on a double for BHS. She went 1-for-3 at the plate and finished with two RBIs. Alison Reichert went 2-for-3, with two RBIs and two runs.

The Spartans (16-6) enter the state 3A tourney as a third seed, and will play Ferndale (21-2) at 9 a.m. Friday.

McCloskey noted that Ferndale is the only 3A team in its league, but it’s not a squad to be overlooked. The Golden Eagles are making their first appearance at state since 1992.

“They are a very talented group of kids; they have a great pitcher. It’s definitely going to be a challenge,” she said.

“We always take our challenges head-on,” McCloskey quickly added.

Still, the Spartans will have to survive Friday’s games to get a chance to play for a state trophy on Saturday.

“We have to take advantage when we do get runners, of advancing them and scoring runs,” McCloskey said.

“Our offense is going to have to be huge. Our offense is going to have to be big this weekend, absolutely,” she said.

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