Same top team and familiar foe, but the ending was almost unimaginable.
The Bainbridge High fastpitch softball team played Holy Names for the Metro League Championship on Friday at Lower Woodland Park in Seattle.
The Spartans were cruising after a five-inning, 15-2 shellacking of Bishoop Blanchet in the tournament semifinals, but Bainbridge knew this game wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.
Though the Spartans had finished the regular season tops in their league with a record of 15–0, Holy Names finished in second with a 12–3 record.
Back in late April, the Spartans faced Holy Names in back-to-back games, defeating the Cougars with ease 12-0 and 16-6. The six runs in the second match-up, however were the most runs the Spartans had given up all season.
In the championship game, the Spartans’ ace Katie Raben and Holy Names’ ace Kaitlin Cappetto had a pitcher’s duel going until Raben gave up three runs in the top of the fifth. The sixth inning was scoreless and both sides.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Spartans were in a very unfamiliar spot, trailing for the first time this season going into the final inning.
BHS was down 4-2 and the Spartans had just one more chance to win the Metro League Championship.
“We actually weren’t nervous,” said head coach Liz McCloskey with a smile.
“We had actually just talked about this in practice, about how we reacted to being down, and a lot of the help came from out captains who were motivating,” she said.
Not only did team captains Taylor Greenfield, Cali Moore and Hailey Willmann motivate the Spartans, but they were big with their bats in the seventh, as well.
Greenfield led off the seventh with a double, Raben singled and Greenfield scored on the play and Raben moved to second on the throw home.
Moore then flew out, but on the fly-out Raben tagged up and went to third.
With Raben on third, freshman Kate Kinney came up in a huge spot and singled to score Raben and even the score at 4-4, which sent the game to extra innings.
The Spartans nervous? Not really.
“We never doubted ourselves,” McCloskey said.
Raben pitched the eighth and didn’t allow Holy Names to score, and the Spartans came up in the bottom of the eighth with the top of the order coming to the plate.
“That is exactly where we wanted to be in that situation,” McCloskey said.
Lead-off batter Alison Reichert flew out to start the inning, then Willmann took one for the team when she was hit by a pitch.
The three hitter, Erin Kinney, singled and advanced Willmann to second.
Greenfield then grounded out third.
With two outs and runners at first and second, Raben came up and was in that situation ballplayers dream since childhood: two outs, bottom of the final inning, two on base and a full count.
With the count full, Raben singled to left, and because the count was full, Kinney got a good jump from second and beat the throw to the plate.
The Spartans won the game in dramatic walk-off fashion, and kept their perfect season alive.
The Metro League Tournament was mainly about seeding for districts, but because the Spartans came out on top they earned a bye, and will play at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Lower Woodland against the winner of the Ingraham and Mount Si matchup.