Klahowya qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2004

Klahowya qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2004

Klahowya defeats Coupeville to reach state tournament

The Eagles lost to the Wolves in all three previous matchups this season

LACEY — For the first time since 2004, the Klahowya softball team is state-bound.

If you weren’t there to watch the excitement, you might have been able to hear it at the end. A ground ball ricocheted off the turf and back to the pitching circle and into the glove of Amber Bumbalough. She fired to first base to throw out not only the runner but years of frustration.

Bumbalough spun around and let out a scream seconds before the on-field celebration ensued.

Making state was one of the final goals for Bumbalough, an accomplished high school player who will head to the challenging world of Division-I softball in the fall. Since it is the final season at Klahowya for both her and head coach Jodie Gagnon, who is leaving her coaching job after this season, the two talked before the season about getting one more shot at experiencing the state tournament together.

“Her and I talked about it before the season,” Gagnon said. “This was our goal together. I’m stepping down after this year and so I wanted this for her. I wanted this for the whole group.”

And what a sweet feeling it must have been to qualify while handing rival Coupeville a 7-4 loss in an elimination game. The Wolves beat the Eagles all three times they played this year, but Klahowya is the one headed to Columbia Playfield in Richland on Friday, May 25, where they open play against Castle Rock at noon.

Senior Emma Hough broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning with a two-run double down the third base line. The Eagles scored three times that inning to take a 5-2 lead.

“I can’t believe I hit it,” she said. “I just changed my hitting strategy so to know how [well] it works for me is really great — and I’ll be using it for the rest of the season.”

However, with the Wolves scoring an average of eight runs per game this season, Klahowya knew it couldn’t rest on its laurels.

“What was going through my mind was, ‘We need to keep building,’ ” Bumbalough said after seeing her teammate’s tie-breaking double.

And keep building they did.

Klahowya added three more runs to extend its lead. Coupeville did manage two more runs over the final two innings, but it wasn’t enough and the Eagles walked away with the No. 2 seed from the district tournament.

“It feels amazing … to prove Kitsap County wrong,” Hough said. “Some people didn’t believe in us.”

The day did not start out so well for the Eagles. They lost their first game to eventual district champion Bellevue Christian, 11-2. Bumbalough’s two-run homer provided the only offense they could muster.

But Klahowya rebounded and reached the second-place game after thrashing Vashon Island, 11-1. Junior Kayla Hendricks hit a pair of triples in that contest.

— Jacob Moore is a reporter for Kitsap Daily News. Contact him at Jmoore@soundpublishing.com or follow him on Twitter @JMooreKDN.

More in Sports

JR Ritchie threw five shutout innings for Bainbridge and also had two singles and a walk in four plate appearances against North Kitsap on Wednesday. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Bainbridge fires on all cylinders in 10-0 win over N. Kitsap

JR Ritchie did a little bit of everything for Bainbridge in Wednesday’s… Continue reading

Sarah Hoyt delivers an RBI in the sixth inning of a 14-12 win over Gig Harbor. (Mark Krulish |Kitsap News Group)
South Kitsap outslugs Gig Harbor, 14-12, to improve to 5-0

South Kitsap’s bats have been hot all season long. Entering Monday’s game… Continue reading

Kendall Becker of North Kitsap is safe at home ahead of the tag against Port Angeles. Pierre LaBossiere/For the North Kitsap Herald
PA comes from behind to beat NK in softball

North Kitsap led or the game was tied most of the contest,… Continue reading

North Kitsap’s Alyssa Cullen (front) takes the baton from Genesi Funston in the 4x200 relay. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
NK’s Cullen wins 4 events at meet with Bainbridge, CK

Alyssa Cullen may have lost out on her junior year track season,… Continue reading

Jaxson Gore (22) makes the throw to complete the double play against Central Kitsap. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Not pretty but NK beats CK 12-6

Friday’s matchup between two 4-0 teams wasn’t as clean as you’d might… Continue reading

Mark Krulish
Emotions run the gamut at end of ‘fall’ season

A few weeks ago I wrote about expecting the unexpected in this… Continue reading

Bainbridge's Damoni Mckenna-Greenawalt and North Kitsap's Angel Chavez sprint for a loose ball. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Bainbridge boys shut out North Kitsap in soccer

Bainbridge broke open a fast-paced, physical match with North Kitsap in the… Continue reading

<em>Coach Ron Allen and the Piranha’s kick things off with some practice laps.</em>		Ken Park/North Kitsap Herald
Piranha’s return to Poulsbo pool

They swam outdoors, even went to Fife to train

Lillian Pruden puts a shot past the Kingston blockers during North Kitsap’s final volleyball match of the season. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
NK spikes Kingston in battle of top teams

North Kitsap and Kingston finished first in their respective Olympic League divisions,… Continue reading

Chandler Lindstrom catches a 63-yard touchdown for Central Kitsap against Sequim. (Michael Dashiell/Sequim Gazette)
Week 5 Olympic League Football Roundup

Bainbridge 28, South Kitsap 14 PJ Miller’s 2-yard touchdown run in the… Continue reading

Bainbridge running back Jack Mielke spins his way into the end zone in the Spartans’ 28-14 win over South Kitsap on Friday night. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Bainbridge ends football season with romp over SK

Bainbridge legend Tom Paski and assistant coach John Fox once promised to… Continue reading

North Kitsap running back Kelly Wanzek bursts through the line during Thursday night’s win over Olympic. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
North Kitsap caps perfect season with victory over Olympic

Normally, an undefeated season ends with with a victory at the Tacoma… Continue reading