SILVERDALE — Klahowya fastpitch has not reached the state tournament since 2004, and the players are ready to change that.
The Eagles cruised past Seattle Christian, 7-1, in a pigtail game Tuesday at Klahowya, setting them up for a 2 p.m. matchup with Bellevue Christian on Friday in the district tournament at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.
Also looming on the horizon is a Coupeville team that has beaten Klahowya three times this year. The players are itching for one more shot at their league rivals.
“They want it bad,” head coach Jodie Gagnon said. “When the team wants it as bad as the coaches, it’s a good situation.”
But as the second seed from the Olympic League, Klahowya first had to dispatch the Warriors, and they did so with surprising economy. The game lasted just one hour and 19 minutes.
Four early runs were more than enough for ace Amber Bumbalough, who gave up only two hits and one unearned run while striking out eight.
Junior Paityn Becar led off the second inning with a single. A pair of errors and a passed ball by Seattle Christian helped bring home the first two runs before Maile Lueck stepped up and hit a hard single to score the third.
Becar, who went 2 for 4 in the game, singled with the bases loaded to drive in two runs in the fifth. Kayla Hendricks picked up an RBI on a groundout in the sixth after Emma Hough led off with a long triple to right-center.
Bumbalough, the team’s top hitter, wasn’t given the chance to swing the bat — she was intentionally walked in all four plate appearances and came around to score once on Becar’s single.
The road to state will likely go through Bellevue Christian and Coupeville, the winners of the Nisqually and 1A Olympic Leagues respectively. If Klahowya wins Friday afternoon, it will face the winner of the Vashon Island-Coupeville game at 6 p.m. that same day. The winner of that game automatically moves on to state, while the loser will have to play an elimination game to get the second seed out of the district.
“I think we have an advantage with Amber playing two games in the same night to potentially take it,” Gagnon said. “She might be a little more conditioned to pitch twice in a day than some others.”
Klahowya 7, Seattle Christian 1
SC 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 2 2
KL 1 3 0 2 0 1 x — 7 6 0
WP: Bumbalough LP: Wieland
Seattle Christian — Wieland 6 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 8 BB, 4 IBB, 8 K.
Klahowya — Bumbalough 7 IP, 2 H, R, 0 ER, 8 K.
Seattle Christian — Clark 1-3, R, 2B; Hall 1-3.
Klahowya — Lueck 2-4, R, BB, RBI; Hough 1-4, R, 3B; Becar 2-4, R, 2 RBI; Bumbalough 0-0, 4 IBB; Hendricks 0-1, BB, RBI.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.