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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.
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.
Here are the all-league teams for Narrows League and Olympic League softball and Olympic League boys soccer:
MVP—Makayla Bentz, Sequim
Coach of the year—Randy Steinman, Port Angeles
Sportsmanship—North Mason, Port Angeles
First team—P: Sarah Steinman, Port Angeles. Emma Keller, North Kitsap. C: Tori Kuch, Port Angeles. 1B: Alexas Besand, Sequim. 2B: Gabbi Garcia, Kingston. 3B: Ashlee Reid, Port Angeles. SS: Kinsey Reed, Bremerton. OF: Carman Smith, Kingston. Madison Wood, Klahowya. Carly Gouge, Port Angeles. Util.: Olivia Kirsch, Sequim.
Second team—P: Taylor Mannino, Bremerton. Allison Hilse, Kingston. C: Mckenzie Bentz, Sequim. OF: Samantha Gorham, Olympic. Shelby Lott, Sequim. Melissa Lewis, Sequim. 2B: Haley Gray, Port Angeles. SS: Mary Lu Clift, Sequim. 3B: Mackenzie Willeford, Bremerton. Util.: Genevieve Polizzi, Port Townsend.
Honorable mention—Olympic: Zoe Roberts, Adia Roberts. North Kitsap: Bree Henshaw, Kristian Reid. North Mason: Makensea Peek, Rylie Mullins. Port Townsend: Baili Shaw, Maili Henderson. Kingston: Madeline Glad, Kaley Bartel. Sequim: Halie Wilson, Tia Bourm. Port Angeles: Nizhoni Wheeler, Alicia Howell. Bremerton: Samantha Reed, Maddy Fergason. Klahowya: Samantha Moore, Amanda Shultz.
You can find all of them here.
In particular interest might be Bainbridge softball as it’s only Kitsap softball team standing. You can see that bracket here. The Spartans open with Ferndale at the Regional Athletic Center in Lacey at 9 a.m.
Softball players and coaches wanted to play but the ever present Puget Sound rain had other ideas.
All district tournaments, the Class 4A West Central/Southwest Bi-District, and the 2A West Central District, were rained out Friday at their respective venues.
The tournaments have been moved back to a Saturday-Sunday schedule. All game times remain the same for the 4A tournament at Kent Service Ballfields and the 2A tournament at Sprinker Rec Center.
4A South Kitsap is scheduled to play Kentridge at 1 p.m. in Kent. In 2A, Kingston plays Lindbergh at 10 a.m in a loser-out game and Bremerton plays Steilacoom, also at 10 a.m. in a loser-out game.
North Mason athletic director and 2A district tournament manager Mark Swofford said he and the West Central District were talking about the possibility of rain causing a delay or postponement to the tournament. Swofford said there are many factors as to why teams do play on Sunday. That not always used to be the case.
“Part of the reason is you have teams from southwest Washington getting a hotel room, then you bring them back for a Monday morning … you just extend their stay,” he said.
The weather forecast is calling for the Puget Sound region on Saturday is calling for 30 percent chance of rain and a high of 64 degrees.
Klahowya softball coach Dan Ericson is stepping down after three seasons coaching the Eagles.
Ericson, who is the school’s varsity football coach and JV boys basketball coach, took the coaching job in 2012 when a former coach resigned two weeks before the start of the season.
“We only had 10, 11 players that first season and we made it through,” Ericson said. “This year we had 24 girls and we’ve had a JV team the past two years.”
The Olympic softball team will host the Central Kitsap Cougars in a Strike Out Teen Homelessness softball game Friday at The Fairgrounds.
The junior varsity game starts at 5 p.m. and the varsity at 7 p.m.
Donations will go toward the Stand Up for Kids program, which helps homeless and potential at-risk teens. Margaret Rodriguez is the executive director.
A donation of food, such as soup, crackers, granola, snack bars, juice boxes or other items that kids can eat on the go are preferred.
For information contact Rodriguez at 360-204-0365 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bremerton’s softball team is enjoying the view from near the top of the Olympic League standings.
The Knights are 4-0 in league and sit a game behind Port Angeles and Sequim, who are both 5-0 as of Thursday. Last year, Bremerton finished 5-12 on the season and can surpass that mark quickly if they maintain their current pace.
Bremerton will be tested next week with four games in three days (the Knights play a doubleheader against PA later in the week). Coach Mike Chase has talked to his team about competing everyday.
“We look at the paper and tell the girls, right now you want to be a playoff team, (our) record says were a playoff team … we’re not there yet,” he said. “You’ve only got five wins. Every game is going to be a challenge. We’re looking, thinking differently but we have to know that we have to improve.”
Mackenzie Willeford, the Knights power-hitting cleanup batter, Kinsey Reed at shortstop and Samantha Keil behind the plate already gave Bremerton a good core. The Knights picked up some pieces this year when Dariah Smith and sister Maniah Brown and pitcher Taylor Mannino were added.
“She’s carrying the load,” Chase said of Mannino, who has taken over duties from Shelby Mohlman who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. “She’s good. She’s got great softball savvy and really knows how to play the game.”
Central Kitsap’s all-league catcher Tristine Vandeman gave a verbal commitment this week to Southwest Minnesota State University.
The Division II school is located in Marshall, home of The Schwan Food Company, and plays in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Mustangs’ softball team is currently 14-0 conference (30-6 overall).
Vandeman said she wants to major in communications and that was a major factor in choosing SMSU.
“They have a great communications program and they also have a terrific TV studio for broadcasting, radio broadcasting and newspaper,” Vandeman said.
Vandeman visited the campus during spring break.
“I’m pretty relieved,” she said, “finally committed and to be part of a team and be OK and go off to college and start (my) future.”
Vandeman said having extended family living close by was also a factor in her decision. She hopes to sign her letter of intent by next week.