Bainbridge defies the odd, grabs softball title

The old cliché tells you to throw out the record books when it comes to the postseason because those wins and losses no longer matter.

Sometimes that’s true, sometimes isn’t. But Bainbridge made the standings look silly during the one-day Olympic League tournament at Central Kitsap.

The Spartans finished the season with a 6-8 record, and were a combined 0-6 against the other three teams in their bracket — North Kitsap, Sequim and Port Angeles. But none of that mattered Saturday as Bainbridge outslugged the undefeated Roughriders in game one, and then rode some top-notch pitching and defense to a league championship in a 4-1 victory over North Kitsap.

“Watching where they started this season versus where they ended up is absolutely incredible,” coach Hayley Baker said. “I’ve never been more proud as a coach as I am of these girls.”

On her team’s recent games with the top teams in the Olympic League, Baker said her relatively inexperienced team was intimidated by the rosters stocked full of select and travel ballplayers.

“I think we were playing scared,” Baker said. “And when you play scared, errors happen, they compile, and that was gone today.”

Indeed it was. Against Port Angeles, the Spartans trailed 7-3 after three innings, but scored five in the top of the fourth to take the lead. Grace Colburn picked up an RBI an infield single, followed by Laura Carrillo’s bases-loaded walk, which picked up another run. Then Isabella Wallen singled to center to knock in two more, and Leah Baker added an RBI-single.

The seesaw battle continued as Port Angeles picked up five runs in the bottom of the fifth, but Bainbridge responded with another five-spot in the top of the seventh.

Hayden Jobes led off with a walk, and Ruby Raymundo doubled down the line in left to bring her home. Colburn followed with an RBI single, and Carrillo’s long double to center moved Colburn to third before a throwing error allowed her to score. Caroline Michaels grounded out to second to bring Carrillo home and tie the game.

Wallen kept the two-out rally going with a triple, and Baker knocked her in with a single to take the lead.

Miranda Grogger worked around a leadoff hit in the bottom of the seventh, getting a pop up to end the game.

Bainbridge racked up 19 hits and played error-free ball against a Port Angeles team that had a 14-0 record and were the favorites to win the tournament. Colburn, Wallen and Baker all recorded four hits, and Raymundo had three.

“They underestimated us, and we made it hurt,” Baker said.

The championship game was the polar opposite as Grogger locked horns with North Kitsap ace Makayla Stockman in a tight, low-scoring game.

Grogger scattered seven hits over seven innings and did not issue a walk. She also struck out four.

The middle of the order again did much of the damage for the Spartans. Colburn’s RBI-double opened the scoring, bringing home Raymundo, who had led off with a double.

Raymundo stole home in the fourth inning to extend the lead to 2-0, and after Stockman doubled to cut the lead in half, Bainbridge extended the lead as Colburn scored on a wild pitch. Baker scored on another wild pitch in the seventh to tack on an insurance run.

North Kitsap made things interesting in their final at bat. Samantha Burgh picked up a two-out single, and Rachel Martin came on to pinch-hit and smashed a double to centerfield to put runners on second and third. Kendra Hawkins then hit a long fly ball to center that was a few feet short of tying the game as Wallen tracked it down in just in front of the fence.

“The pressure was taken off,” Baker said. “At the beginning of the day, we said, ‘Hey, we’re the four seed, we have nothing to lose. Leave it all out on the field.’”

The Spartans gather around as they receive the plaque commemorating their league championship. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

The Spartans gather around as they receive the plaque commemorating their league championship. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)