Spartans ousted in lopsided defeat

May 21, 2013

By Justin Lester

When just 12 girls turned out for tryouts, a rebuilding year became a likelihood for the Skyline High School softball team. However, the Spartans hoped their subpar season wouldn’t conclude in as disappointing fashion as it did.

Skyline’s 2013 campaign came to an end May 14 with an 11-3 loss to Newport in a loser-out game of the KingCo 4A Tournament at Inglemoor High School. Opponents outscored the Spartans by a combined margin of 19 in Skyline’s two playoff games, making for a frustrating finish to the season for head coach Ken Brooks.

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Winter Ridgeway delivers a pitch during a game earlier in the season.

“We’re not happy at all,” Brooks said. “We’re a better team than we showed this year.”

Sophomore Winter Ridgeway was on the mound for the Spartans, who wrapped up the year with an 8-13 record. Ridgeway pitched all seven innings against the Knights. The right-hander had a tough time with the powerful Newport lineup, yielding 16 hits and walking 11 batters.

Center fielder Charlotte Zhao went 2-for-4 in her final game as a Spartan, including a double in the bottom of the third that landed just in front of the fence in right center. Fellow senior captain Megan Burris had her own pair of knocks and recorded an RBI in the final inning.

The Skyline bats were blanketed by Knights’ starter Kat Wood until the bottom of the seventh, when four straight hits led to a trio of runs on the board for the Spartans. Burris, second baseman Emily Baril and catcher Tia Hedman each scored in the inning.

Skyline continued to battle until the final out of its season despite Newport’s sizeable edge. However, the Spartans’ efforts were too little, too late.

A dozen hits by Skyline made for an adequate performance at the plate. But, only the Knights were able to cash in on their chances, and Wood got the best of the Spartans for the second time this year.

“We left a lot out on the field and didn’t take advantage of it,” Brooks said. “That’s the way this game goes, and that’s the frustrating part of it.”

After being defeated 12-1 at the hands of Inglemoor in the tournament’s opener, the Spartans were a bit unlucky having to face Newport, which fell just once to a conference foe during the regular season to earn the No. 1 seed out of the Crown Division. The Knights were beaten by fourth-seeded Bothell in the first round of the double-elimination playoffs. This upset meant Skyline had to overcome Newport in order to keep its season alive, which proved to be a tall task.

The Spartans appeared to be on the right track after blowout victories over Eastside Catholic and Auburn Riverside to commence the year, but an array of powerhouses in KingCo gave Skyline trouble throughout the regular season. The playoffs were no different.

Although her career closed on a negative note, Zhao made her mark as a senior. She was honored as all-state after leading the Spartans with a .412 batting average and 21 runs scored. Zhao is now out of the picture, yet Brooks is optimistic about the future of Skyline softball.

It’s easy to see why.

Ridgeway will return with two seasons under her belt as Skyline’s go-to pitcher. Third baseman Annika Hildebrand was impressive as a freshman, hitting .395 and pacing the Spartans in RBIs with 14. Junior Riley Davidson set an all-time school record with five triples this year.

 

Justin Lester is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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