Eagles extend season by blanking Eastlake

May 26, 2009

By Christopher Huber

Issaquah knocked out of tourney with 6-5 loss to Kangs

Issaquah's Amanda Marques makes contact in the top of the sixth inning.

Issaquah's Amanda Marques makes contact in the top of the sixth inning.

As she stepped up to the plate in the top of the seventh inning, Issaquah High School senior Molly Nelson felt the pressure to make something happen. The Lady Eagles were up 1-0 with two outs and two on, but they all knew they needed to seal the deal against the Eastlake Wolves. 

It was a loser-out game and the 16-6 Eagles did not want this to be their last game of 2009. 

But Nelson couldn’t see anything with the sun setting directly behind pitcher Nicole Guptil. So, Nelson called timeout, borrowed coach Jim Magnuson’s sunglasses and on Guptil’s first pitch, stroked a two-run single to shallow right field. The hit was enough to put the game out of reach for the Eastlake.

Issaquah ended Eastlake’s season with a 3-0 victory at Hartman Park in Redmond May 21. 

“That was a team effort. I’m really proud of our team,” Nelson said after the game. “We focus on every game and take one game at a time.” 

Eastlake had one more chance for a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. Despite an Eastlake single, Issaquah junior pitcher Mikenzie Voves forced two quick outs and struck out the final batter. “We had our chances,” said Eastlake coach Al Leaverenz. “We had quite a few opportunities, they had one opportunity and they made it happen in their opportunity.” 

Both teams started out hot in the field. Guptil and Voves worked each batter in the count and forced easy outs. Each team executed well on defense for the majority of the contest.

Voves finished the game with 12 strikeouts and allowed just three hits and no walks. 

“After the fourth, she really clamped down and shut them down,” Magnuson said. 

It was all knotted up until the sixth, when, with the bases loaded, Issaquah’s Chelsea Pert drove in Nelson from third on an Eastlake error. That gave the Lady Eagles the momentum they needed.

“We finally came together as a team,” said Issaquah’s Kelly Richards, who went 2-for-4 with two doubles. “We didn’t want this to be our last game. We weren’t ready to end it now.”

Eastlake struggled to get anything going in the sixth. Despite walking three and giving up six hits, Guptil struck out five batters in her final game of the season. 

Eastlake beat Skyline 7-2 earlier in the week to advance to the second-round consolation game with Issaquah. Guptil allowed 10 hits and struck out six. 

The defending 4A state champs finished the 2009 season 9-12 overall. 

Issaquah opened the tournament with an 11-1 rout of Roosevelt May 19. Richards had three hits and three RBIs to lead the Eagles. 

Issaquah then lost to Lake Washington 3-2, but stayed alive with victories against Eastlake and Inglemoor (2-0). However, Lake Washington ended Issaquah’s season May 22, when the Kangaroos won 6-5 in a loser-out game.

The Lady Eagles finished the season 13-3 in conference play and 18-7 overall.

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