POULSBO — The North Kitsap Little League All Stars nearly completed a tremendous comeback against Redmond, but fell just short, bringing an end to their season with a 7-5 loss and a third place finish in the state tournament.
Looking to bounce back after a 7-3 loss to Mill Creek on Friday, North Kitsap scored in the first inning against Redmond on a bullet RBI-single by Jayla Moon. But some miscues and wild pitches helped Redmond score seven runs over the first two innings.
The team worked hard to get back into the game, scoring three runs in the fourth inning and loading the bases in the fifth, but the last big hit never came.
“The girls fought hard and gave it everything they had,” said manager Jordan Armistead. “That’s all we can ask. Redmond is a great team and it could have gone either way, for sure.”
In the fourth, Ella Bottalico reached on an error to start the inning and took second on a wild pitch. Rachel Cole followed with a single to put runners on first and third and then Cerenity Fake blasted a two-RBI triple into the left-center field gap. Kendall Becker added an RBI on an infield hit to cut the lead to 7-5.
In their next turn at bat, North Kitsap loaded the bases with Ava Armistead drawing a leadoff walk and singles by Rachael Cole and Allison Dvorak sprinkled in among a fielder’s choice and a popout, but unfortunately all three were left standing on base by Redmond pitcher Amanda Huang.
Of course, the comeback would not have been possible without Cole’s stellar late-inning performance in the circle. Cole pitched the final three innings, struck out seven and did not allow a single hit.
“Our biggest asset is the way we scratch and claw and stay in games and never give up,” Armistead said. “They fought hard to the end.”
North Kitsap was hoping for another shot at Mill Creek, which ultimately defeated Redmond, 5-0, in the state championship game on Sunday. Mill Creek had bested North Kitsap the night before, 7-3.
With fireballer Yanina Sherwood in the circle for Mill Creek, the North Kitsap girls had to get creative to score some runs.
Fake was able to get all the way around to score in the first inning after drawing a leadoff walk despite another ball not getting put into play. In the third, Izzy Chiquiti led off with a single and, after a strikeout, Maddy Syverson also picked up a hit to put two runners on. Moon then hit a ground ball and Chiquiti caught the attention of a Mill Creek fielder. She drew the throw to third and then sprinted for home. Syverson then came all the way around to score on the overthrow and North Kitsap had pulled within one run.
The game remained close all the way to the bottom of the fifth inning when Mill Creek was able to tack on three insurance runs.
“It was incredible season,” Armistead said. “They’re a great group of girls and you haven’t heard the last of them.”