Category Archives: Softball

Softball: Three to state, Olympic, Central Kitsap, Bainbridge

The Olympic Trojans are headed back to state for the second time in three years and with their lineup of hitters, they could make history.

The Trojans (17-6) face the Lynden Lions (23-1) in their first game Friday at 10 a.m. at the Class 2A state softball tourney at Carlon Park in Selah. Their second game has them playing either Woodland or Fife. Olympic has yet to win a game at state, and their draw isn’t the easiest but it is state. It’s never easy if you’re one of the last 16 teams still playing

The good news for Olympic is the return of freshman Kaira Cabato. Cabato missed the WCD tournament due to a concussion but has been cleared to play this weekend. Cabato batted .631 in 14 games to lead the Trojans and had a 1.289 slugging and .702 on-base percentage with 26 RBIs. Adia Roberts leads the team with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs. She is batting .603 (1.245 slugging/.587 on-base) while sister Zoe has a .597 average and .758 slugging and .634 on-base and drove in 29 runs.

Over at the 3A tourney, the Central Kitsap and Bainbridge softball teams could see each other one more time before the season ends on Saturday.

It’s been a fun, friendly rivalry the last several seasons as the two non-league teams meet for what’s been a pretty good ballgame each time. It’s usually followed with players, coaches and parents getting together to enjoy some fellowship and food following the game.

Central Kitsap and Bainbridge are both in the bottom half of the bracket, which means if the two teams win twice on Friday CK and Bainbridge will play in Saturday’s semifinal at 9 a.m. at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey. Central Kitsap (17-7) opens against Everett (23-1) at noon on Field 4 while Bainbridge (16-6) takes on Edmonds-Woodway (17-7) on Field 1, also at noon. Win or lose the Spartans face either North Thurston or Kamiakin. That’s not an easy draw. Kamiakin is the state favorite as the Braves are looking to win their fourth straight championship. Second games start at 2 p.m. in the losers bracket.

If CK and Bainbridge go 1-1, then they play in the 6 p.m. loser out games. If they both win that game, guess what? They play each other at 9 a.m. Saturday in a knock-out game.

Right now I’d give the edge to Central Kitsap. Admittedly I’ve seen more of CK than the Spartans this year and the Cougars have a potent lineup — Narrows League 3A MVP Marissa Adams is batting .563, Sam Wallace and Elise Freund, first-teamers are hitting .426 and .458, respectively — a strong defense and great pitching from Hope Lawrence.

Not to be outdone, Bainbridge has all the weapons a team needs to succeed in the final weekend, including one of the best coaches in 3A Liz McCloskey, and assistant Nicole Hebner. OF/SS Riley Gregoire, an Oregon State signee, is the Metro League MVP, batting .527 with 29 RBIs, six home runs and about 15 stolen bases, is a phenomenal defender, has killer speed on the base paths and the softball IQ to make it all work. But the Spartans aren’t a one-woman show. Pitcher Deahna King has been to state three years in a row and has a .404 batting average with 18 RBIs and two home runs. Megan Spray has driven in 22 runs while batting .373.

Bainbridge also has state experience. The Spartans are making their ninth straight appearance, a run that included winning it all in 2009 and finishing runner-up twice. Central is at state for the first time since 2012 when it was still a 4A school. And at this level, you can never overlook how important it is to have veterans who know what it means to play under pressure.

In their earlier meeting on March 26, Central Kitsap beat Bainbridge 11-10 in a thriller.

CK coach Courtney Lacock said the games against Bainbridge are fun because they are two great teams going head to head.

“You get a little more fire out of it because you’ve seen them before,” she said.

Oh, and the tie that binds them all together?

Former CK head coach and now Bainbridge Little League coach and island resident Bruce Welling who lives just a stones throw from the softball field at Bainbridge.

District softball brackets set

And we’re off!

Here’s a look at first round games for the Class 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A WCD tournaments as well as 3A SeaKing.

Speaking of the SeaKing, let’s start there with Bainbridge taking on Ballard in the district semifinal Thursday at Southwest Athletic Complex at 7 p.m. The winner will play West Seattle/Lake Washington winner Friday at 7 p.m. in the title game.

South Kitsap (8-10) takes on Rogers of Puyallup (14-8) at the 4A West Central at 1 p.m. Friday at the Kent Service Club Ballfields.

In the 3A West Central/Southwest, Central Kitsap (15-5) takes on Sumner (6-11) Friday at noon at Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway.

At the 2A West Central at Sprinker, Kingston (8-6) takes on Orting (14-5) at 10 a.m., Bremerton (5-11) faces White River (19-1), also at 10 a.m., and Olympic (14-4) plays Lindbergh (8-11) at noon. Port Angeles plays River Ridge and Sequim (13-5) faces Steilacoom (9-10) at 10 a.m.

And in the 1A West Central, also at Sprinker, Klahowya (11-7) is in a loser-out game against Cascade Christian at 6 p.m.

 

Softball playoffs coming into focus

And so it begins.

West Sound softball teams will be putting it all on the line this week as they either vie for a playoff spot or will wrap up seeds into the postseason.

A couple key games happen Tuesday in the Olympic League.

In 2A, Port Angeles, Sequim and Olympic are the top three seeds but the final two spots are still up for grabs. Kingston (4-5), Bremerton (4-6) and North Mason (3-8) are still alive with Kingston taking on North Mason in Belfair. A win by the Buccaneers would eliminate North Mason. Bremerton plays Olympic and still has a shot at the fourth seed, as Kingston has two games left against PA and Sequim.

In 1A, the league title will come down to Klahowya and Chimacum. Both teams are 6-2. That game is in Chimacum. Coupeville has wrapped up the third seed.

The South Kitsap Wolves play a loser-out game against Timberline in the Narrows League 4A tourney Wednesday at the RAC in Lacey. A win would put them into a seeding game Thursday.

Central Kitsap has already locked up a playoff berth and will either be the No. 1 or 2 seed to district in Narrows 3A.

Bainbridge opened the Metro League 3A tournament with a 12-0 win over Roosevelt. The Spartans will play Tuesday against Ballard at 5 p.m. at SWAC for a shot to play in the championship game. The win guaranteed them a berth to the SeaKing District.

 

Reclassification cycle changing to four years instead of two

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Representative Assembly passed nine amendments, including a significant change to the current two-year reclassification cycle.

The classification cycle amendment (Rule 4.1.0) is changing from every two years to every four years according to a press release from the WIAA on Friday. A school can appeal its classification after two years. A school can appeal due to significant decrease in enrollment, declining enrollment, an opening of a new school or unforeseen circumstances.

The current cycle is completing its first year this spring. The next reclassification cycle would be for the 2016-17 school year. That’s when the four-year cycle would begin.

The other three amendments that passed that deal strictly with high school sports were Rule 17.5.8D which now allows an athlete who is invited to participate in a national championship event the opportunity to be coached by their high school coach.

Rule 18.23.3 allows a high school student, who is not represented by a high school, to compete against a college team and maintain their amateur status. Rule 65.3.3 also gives 1B schools the choice for varsity volleyball matches to chose the number of games they play, best two-of-three, three-of-five and five-of five.

For a list of all amendments, you can click here. You can also find a podcast of the RA meeting here.

 

Behind every mistake is a reason to flush it

There’s something to be said about erasing mistakes. Especially in softball.

That happened more times than North Mason would care to admit, but the Bulldogs have a way to release some frustration without taking it out on each other.

Enter the plunger.

No, that’s not a nickname for a closer or a power-hitting pinch-hitter, although I’m sure NM coach Rachael Joye would gladly accept both. No, it really is a plunger. As in what you need to unclog a plugged-up toilet.

Thankfully the plunger was never used for its intended purpose. The plunger is painted Bulldog blue and the players keep it in the dugout every game. When a mistake, whether it’s a mental error or physical error that costs a run or more gray hairs for the coaching staff and parents, the plunger is there.

Players will plunge away in the dugout in a symbolic act of “flushing” the mistake and moving on to the next play or inning.

“We have this (plunger) thing and if we make a mistake we flush it,” freshman Corlissa Newman said. “No, it hasn’t been used. We made sure.”

Junior catcher Hannah Peek said the idea behind the plunger works.

“When we get mad we flush it,” she said. “After every mistake, you get all that (aggression) out and you’re ready for the next play.”

Metro League changes benefit Bainbridge softball, others

The changes that will take place this softball season in the Metro League has been a long time coming.

The Mountain, Valley and Sound Divisions are now weighted, based on teams’ finishes in the Metro tournament and predictions of their success the next two years. The Mountain is the top division, Valley is intermediate and Sound is the lowest. Mountain teams include Bainbridge, Ballard, Holy Names, Seattle Prep and West Seattle. Valley teams are Blanchet, Chief Sealth, Eastside Catholic, Garfield, Nathan Hale and Roosevelt. The Sound teams are Cleveland, Franklin, Ingraham, Lakeside and Rainier Beach.

Mountain teams will play a 14-game schedule, facing everyone in their division twice and Valley teams once. Mountain teams will not play the Sound division. Gone are the days of Bainbridge softball putting a 15-0 wallop on Beach or a 19-1 pummeling on Nathan Hale. Those games benefit no one and I’m glad to see that go away as I’m sure both teams are as well.

Valley teams will play 15 league games (they play everyone once) and Sound teams will play each other twice and Valley teams once for a 14-game league schedule.

Teams in the Valley and Sound that have the highest division record will move up another division, but will need to meet some criteria first;

  • Head-to-head league record with the last-place team from the higher division
  • Head-to-head in Metro tournament with the last-place team from the higher division
  • Overall finish in Metro tournament with the last-place team from the higher division

The changes toward weighted divisions also meant changes to the league schedule. Here’s how that shapes up;

  • Teams will no longer play the same team back-to-back (Wednesday and Friday)
  • Teams will face division competition once in the beginning of the season and once at the end
  • Mountain and Sound will have room in their schedules to play 6 non-league games while Valley will have 5 non-league games
  • Spring Break league games will be scheduled during their respective breaks. This allows the league to start play later in the season and continue without breaks. The breaks are March 30-April 3 (Bainbridge); April 6-10 (private schools) and April 13-17 (Seattle Public Schools)
  • Games will be played on Mondays and Tuesdays, leaving Wednesday as a rainout day

And lastly, the all-important playoffs.

The Metro will play a 12-team league tournament. Top four teams in Mountain will have the No. 1-4 seeds, Valley has 5-6th seeds depending on their head-to-head record with the No. 5 Mountain team. The 7-11 seeds will be awarded to the Valley teams based on division standings while the 12th seed will be the top team from the Sound. The Metro has nine berths to the SeaKing District tournament and six berths from district to state in 2015 and five berths in 2016.

 

South Kitsap hires alum to coach softball

Here’s the release from the district:

The South Kitsap School District Athletics Department would like to congratulate and welcome Mindi Outhwaite as the new head coach for Fastpitch.

Mindi Outhwaite played for the South Kitsap varsity fastpitch team from 1996-1998. Following high school, she received scholarships from Limestone College in South Carolina and Seattle University. She played as starting pitcher for both schools and completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at Seattle University. She served as coach for a 16U Sidewinder team and at Mount Rainer High School.

“I have since been busy with my nursing career and enjoying time with my husband and our three boys. I am very thankful for this opportunity to come back and coach at my alma mater. I’m looking forward to a great season with the 2015 South Kitsap Fastpitch team,” stated Outhwaite. “I believe the success of our team will be based on preparation, teamwork and fun!”

Fastpitch is a spring sport open to all 9th – 12th grade girls, sign-ups are in progress and try-outs will begin on March 2, 2015. If you have any questions, please contact the Athletics Office at 360-874-5731.

Spartans rally around check-in board

Bainbridge center fielder Kate Kinney places her "mental check-in" keychain on the Spartans' board before their elimination game against Liberty of Issaquah at the Class 3A state softball tournament at the RAC in Lacey. The board is a signal to the coaches and players that each one is ready for their game and mentally checked in. (Annette Griffus | Kitsap Sun)
Bainbridge center fielder Kate Kinney places her “mental check-in” keychain on the Spartans’ board before their elimination game against Liberty of Issaquah at the Class 3A state softball tournament at the RAC in Lacey. The board is a signal to the coaches and players that each one is ready for their game and mentally checked in.
(Annette Griffus | Kitsap Sun)

Superstitions might not be the norm in softball like it has traditionally been in baseball, but that doesn’t mean coaches don’t seek out whatever edge they can to give their teams a little extra oompf.

Bainbridge assistant coach Katie Leigh, an Olympic College and Bainbridge grad, drew on some of her college days to give the Spartans that edge.

Leigh created a “mental check-in board.” The board says Spartans Fastpitch and has hooks for all players and coaches. Everyone has a keychain, also created by Leigh, and when they are ready, or “mentally ready to play” then they put their keychain on their name on the board.

Leigh said when she was playing at OC, her coach had little toilets instead of keychains “so if you made a mistake you could flush it.”

“I couldn’t find the toilets, so I improvised and made them little keychains with their numbers on it,” she said. “Once their keychain is up on the board they’re mentally focused and it’s something they can continually look at through the game and see that not only are they checked in, but everyone else is checked in too.”

The check-in board began with the Metro League tournament and head coach Liz McCloskey thinks it’s something that will become a tradition for the program.

 

State softball: Bainbridge seasons ends on first day

The Bainbridge Spartans lost their opener to Ferndale 12-5, then pulled it altogether to beat Liberty 5-0 in an elimination game on Friday at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey at the Class 3A state softball tournament.

The Spartans spotted Ferndale 8-0 by the third inning, added three runs in the fifth and two in the seventh but it wasn’t enough. Against Liberty, Bainbridge pulled ahead with a four-run third inning thanks to a 3-run triple by Riley Gregoire. Alison Reichert pitched a complete game, scattering four hits in the win.

Bainbridge (17-6) will face another elimination game at 6 p.m. against the loser of the 4 p.m. Enumclaw-University game.

UPDATE: Bainbridge lost to University 3-1 in its second elimination game of the day. That ends the Spartans season at 17-7. It’s the second straight year Bainbridge has lost to the Titans of Spokane. Last year, University beat Bainbridge in the opening round, then again in a loser-out game.