Softball | Bainbridge pitching staff starts off strong

Sophomore Hailey Willmann struck out nine on her way to pitching a perfect game Tuesday.  - Brad Camp/For the Review
Sophomore Hailey Willmann struck out nine on her way to pitching a perfect game Tuesday.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Review

Only six games into the regular season, the Spartans have already thrown shut outs in four of their last five contests – three of which were no-hitters.

“I wasn’t expecting that to happen,” head coach Liz McCloskey said of the Spartans’ 11-1 win over Eastside Catholic Wednesday. “In a situation where we faced Cleveland, Rainier Beach, Franklin, yes – that tends to happen more often than not. When we play teams like Eastside Catholic, where we see a much better level of pitching, you wouldn’t expect it.”

The Spartans started slow Wednesday. Lauren Reichert batted in the first run and Taylor Greenfield’s two-RBI double got Bainbridge’s offense moving for the 3-1 lead at the end of the third.

Reichert batted in her second run in the bottom of the fourth, and Greenfield added her third RBI.

Hailey Willmann’s RBI double added another run started a six-run rally in the bottom of the fifth, and the Spartans closed out the five-inning victory, 11-1.

Greenfield went three-for-three against Eastside Catholic, with four RBIs and two runs.

Caitlin McCormick was three-for-three with a double and two RBIs.

Reichert earned her second win of the season, striking out seven batters and allowing only three hits.

“She’s done well and she’s proven herself a lot,” McCloskey said. “She’s working a lot in the offseason and has provided a step up for the team’s (pitching) trio.”

Reichert pitched in the team’s three toughest games so far, McCloskey said: North Mason, Central Kitsap and Eastside Catholic.

“She’s given up minimal hits and – unfortunately – unearned runs, but ultimately she has improved a lot from last year,” McCloskey said.

Sophomore pitcher Hailey Willmann is 2-0 on the season with wins over Rainier Beach and Franklin, and Haylee Baker (1-0) threw a no-hitter at Cleveland Monday.

“Defensively we’re in a good place with Haylee at shortstop,” McCloskey said. “Hailey Willmann is definitely a consistent player for me whether she’s on the field or on the mound. She’s been working a lot in the off-season to improve her hitting and her pitching.”

The Spartans will take on Eastside Catholic on the road at 3:30 p.m. today.

Bainbridge expects to see the same pitcher, Ronnie Ayers, if faced Wednesday.

“I just have a group of girls who can really hit the ball so that helps,” McCloskey said. “I think they were really excited to see a much better pitcher than they’ve seen in the last couple days.”

The team will likely see its toughest tests when it takes on West Seattle in April and Holy Names in May before the league tournament.

The Spartans lost in the Metro League championship game the last two years to Holy Names.

“We’re hoping to break that spell this year,” McCloskey said. “We always step into the season looking at it a game at a time. We don’t really start talking about the Metro tournament until we’re a week or two away from it. We take note of the teams we’re potentially going to see, and our goal is to win the Metro title outright.”

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