The Bainbridge High fastpitch softball team’s season came to an end just short of the state tournament, but the Spartans’ loss to Juanita showed that there is no quit in this team.
The Rebels staved off a determined Bainbridge rally to win, 8-6, in eight innings in Bainbridge’s loser-out finale in the SeaKing District 3A Tournament.
Entering the bottom of the seventh trailing 6-2, Bainbridge produced a two-out, four-run comeback to tie the score at 6-all and put the winning run just 60 feet away.
But it was not to be as Juanita was able to get the final out of the inning and send the game to the 8th.
The Rebels staged their own two-out rally in the eighth to take a two-run lead. Bainbridge put a runner on in the bottom of the eighth but could not create any more magic.
The Spartan season ended with a 15-8 record and a sixth-place finish in the district tournament after fifth-place finishes in the Metro League tournament and regular season. For the first time since 2006 Bainbridge did not qualify for the state tournament.
Juanita opened the scoring in the second with a pair of home runs putting the Rebels up 3-0.
Bainbridge pitcher Malia Peato then found her groove and retired 13 straight Juanita batters while Bainbridge tried to chip away at the Rebel lead.
The Spartans got a run back in the bottom of the second when Natalie Gillatt singled and advanced to second on an Ellen Owen sacrifice bunt. Gillatt then scored on a two-out single by Caroline Michaels.
Bainbridge added a run in the third. Abby Sullivan walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, was moved up to third on a ground out, then scored on infield out by Hayden Jobes.
With two outs, singles by Peato and Anna Koslosky, followed by another walk issued to Gillatt, loaded the bases. Owen then laid down a bunt that almost caught Juanita by surprise. A well-executed defensive play by the Rebels barely forced out Sullivan at the plate, however.
Juanita extended the lead to 4-2 in the sixth on a single, a stolen base, and another single.
In the seventh inning a single, a failed attempt to get the lead runner on a fielder’s choice, a hit batter and an infield error gave Juanita a 6-2 lead.
But the Spartans didn’t quit. A single by Peato, a double by Gillatt, and Michaels getting hit by a pitch loaded the bases with two outs.
Lillian McDonald then singled to right to score two runs. A wild pitch on a swinging strike three allowed Sullivan to reach first to load the bases again.
Grace Colburn worked the count full before singling in Michaels and McDonald to tie the score at six.
Sullivan, representing the winning run, advanced to third on Colburn’s single. Jobes grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the Spartan threat and send the game to the eighth.
Peato went the distance in the circle and took the loss, bringing her record to 11-8. She gave up 10 hits over the eight innings while striking out five and walking only one.
Peato’s remarkable season and career ended with a Spartan single season record batting average of .577, striking out only once all season. Peato hit .483 for her career (never below .400), second only to Riley Gregoire’s .496 average (2102-15).
Colburn finished 1-for-4 at the plate, with two RBIs. Peato went 3-for-5, while Gillatt was 1-for-3, with a double and two runs.
Michaels was 1-for-3 at the plate with an RBI, and McDonald finished 1-for-2, with two RBIs and a run.
In earlier action, the Spartans played a familiar tune: “Stayin’ Alive.”
When the BHS fastpitch team headed to West Seattle for the second round of the SeaKing tournament, they knew a win against Lake Washington would return the Spartans to the state tournament and a loss would send the Spartans into the elimination bracket and a second game on the same day.
And so it came to pass, Bainbridge came up short against Lake Washington, 2-0, in the winner-to-state game.
Injuries kept a couple of starters out of the Spartan lineup and forced additional changes to the batting lineup and field assignments. It is not likely that a healthy squad would have made a difference against Lake Washington, the KingCo 3A champion, as the Kangeroos pitcher shut down the Spartan offense completely, giving up only one hit, while striking out 10 and not allowing a runner to reach second base.
Lake Washington took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning capitalizing on a walk, a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to second, a passed ball allowing the runner to move to third and a two out RBI single. LW added an insurance run in the fifth on a single and an RBI triple.
Malia Peato kept the Spartans in the game from the circle, giving up just the two runs on seven hits, while working out of a couple of potential LW rallies by twice stranding runners on third with less than two outs.
Peato also recorded the Spartans only hit with a two out infield hit in the sixth inning.
In the game prior to the LW matchup, the Spartans outlasted Bishop Blanchet 9-7.
Bainbridge jumped out to a 7-2 lead through four innings, then held off a Blanchet rally in the pouring rain to end the Braves season and keep the Spartans’ season alive.
The Spartans sent nine batters to the plate in the top of the first, scoring three runs on one hit and leaving the bases loaded.
A hit batter, three walks and a Blanchet error contributed to the big inning.
With one out Jobes was hit by a pitch. Peato walked. After a second out, Sullivan walked to load the bases. Owen then laid down a bunt that the pitcher failed to handle to bring in the first run.
Michaels then followed with a two-run single up the middle for a 3-0 lead.
Blanchet responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
After a leadoff double, a two-out walk and a wild pitch put runners on second and third, a hard hit two-out single that ricocheted off Michaels at first made the score 3-2 in favor of the Spartans.
Bainbridge came back with another run in the second. Colburn led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, then to third on infield ground out, then scored on a two out RBI single by Kozlosky.
The Spartans added three in the fourth as the result of a pair of Blanchet errors to push the lead to five, 7-2.
Blanchet benefitted from a pair of Bainbridge errors in the fifth, highlighted by an errant throw that turned a two-run single into a three-run inning for Blanchet to draw within two at 7-5.
Bainbridge added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh on back-to-back solo home runs by Peato and Kozlosky.
Then the rain began. And Blanchet rallied. Peato struck out the side, but between the strike outs, a triple, a hit batter, two walks and a fielding error resulted in two runs and the bases loaded with Blanchet players when the last swing and a miss was coaxed by Peato.