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Spartans fall game short in quest for repeat title
Tears were shed when defending champion Bainbridge Island’s quest for another 3A softball title was abruptly ended one victory short. But not for long.
Senior stars Haylee Baker and Lauren Reichert won’t get a chance at redemption, but with a dozen underclassmen expected to return next year their long faces were quickly replaced by smiles.
For the record, an exceptional Sedro Woolley team swept through the one-day event with four shutout victories, including a 10-0, six-inning win over the weary Spartans in a game that ended a grueling four-game event played over a 12-hour period because of Friday’s inclement weather.
“When we got back on the bus we were pretty disappointed,” coach Liz McCloskey said, “But we’re a group that enjoys ourselves, and it wasn’t long before we were talking about what we achieved this year and last year and all that. They’re pretty proud of themselves, and they should be.”
And what about next year? No doubt there would have been talk of a “three-peat” if BHS could have pulled off a win Saturday.
McCloskey admits that few people outside of this year’s team believed the Spartans would return to the championship game after losing five senior starters from the 2009 team. Baker and Reichert were this year’s unchallenged leaders as they took turns either pitching or playing shortstop, but by the end of the season the other starters were playing like veterans, too.
“This team looked up to our two seniors and you could see them maturing as the season went along,” McCloskey said. “The players who went through last (2009) season really helped out the ones who were going through the playoffs for the first time. They gave them some perspective and talked about the feeling you get playing these kinds of games. You could see the confidence building as we went along.”
The Spartans, who started two juniors, four sophomores and a freshman during much of the season, appeared primed to defend their title after winning their first three tournament games by a combined scored of 30-7. Pitchers Baker and Reichert were effective if not dominant, and the Spartans were smacking line drives all over the field. And their defense came up with big plays whenever the opponents threatened to score.
They appeared unbeatable until the last inning of their 7-5 win over Everett, which scored three runs on four hits and a couple of misplays by the defense. For the first time all day the Spartans looked vulnerable. Thirty minutes later they were playing for the state championship.
“Yeah, we were tired going into that last game,” McCloskey said. “It’s hard playing a tournament all in one day, especially with all the excitement and enthusiasm, and the level of play. It was starting to show.”
Sedro Woolley faced the same challenge, but the Cubs had the luxury of alternating senior pitchers Maddie Lynch-Crumrine and Bailey Breuer, both of whom have the talent to play Division I college ball. It was obvious from the first inning that Sedro Woolley was the best team on the field that night.
“That was an absolutely fantastic team,” McCloskey said. “They had great hitters top to bottom, and the defense and pitching to keep the other team down. I mean, they didn’t give up a run the whole tournament.”
The Spartans weren’t overwhelmed by Lynch -Crumrine, but they didn’t have their normal bat speed and their defense finally weakened in the sixth inning when the Cubs scored five runs to end the game.
“With an extra day in the tournament,” McCloskey said, “we may have been a completely different team in the finals. We made a few errors we normally wouldn’t, and we couldn’t force the issue with our bats. But nothing against them... that’s a very good team.”
The Spartans dominated with the bat in the first three games, led by sophomore Hailey Willmann’s seven hits, which included three doubles, five runs and three RBIs. Taylor Greenfield, another sophomore, added six hits and six RBIs, while junior center fielder Clara Dunn had four hits, three RBIs and played flawless defense throughout the tournament.
Sedro Woolley 10, Bainbridge 0 (6 innings)
BI 000 000 - 0 5 4 S-W 111 015 - 10 9 0
Reichert and McCormick; Lynch-Crumrine and Lamphiear.WP-Lynch-Crumrine; LP-Reichert (8-6).
Bainbridge 7, Everett 5
Everett 002 000 3 - 5 11 3 BI 011 131 x - 7 9 2
Facey, Levin (3), Facey (5) and Hudson; Baker, Reichert (3) and McCormick. WP-Reichert (8-5); LP-Facey.
Bainbridge 10, Mt. Spokane 0 (5 innings)
Mt. Spokane 000 00 - 0 1 0
BI 040 42 - 10 14 1
Zalud, Bauman (3) and Kilburn; Baker and McCormick. WP - Baker 11-1; LP Zakund.
Bainbridge 12, Capital 2
BI 060 111 4 - 13 18 1 Capital 100 001 0 - 2 8 3
Baker and McCormick; Dosland and Perales. WP-Baker 10-1; LP-Dosland.