Northwest Bullets shoot for nationals

July 8, 2014

By Lisa Lo The Northwest Bullets 16-and-under fastpitch team, which includes seven players from Issaquah, Liberty and Skyline high schools, qualified for the Premier Girls Fastpitch national tournament to be held July 19-27 in Huntington Beach, Calif. Pictured in the back row, left to right, are head coach Kris Zacher, assistant coach Ali Hooks, Kendall Kauzlarich (Liberty), Maddy Trout (Mount Si), Megan Marino (Bothell), Lauren Lo (Skyline), Marnie Skinner (Moses Lake), Camille Goo (Skyline), and assistant coach Greg Erwin. Front row, from left to right, are Kelsey Bechtholdt (Granite Falls), Molly Spaniac (Skyline), Justi Johnson (Issaquah), Sydney Schultz (Issaquah), Morgan Bevell (Issaquah), Madelyn Carlson (Enumclaw) and assistant coach Tom Kauzlarich.

By Lisa Lo
The Northwest Bullets 16-and-under fastpitch team, which includes seven players from Issaquah, Liberty and Skyline high schools, qualified for the Premier Girls Fastpitch national tournament to be held July 19-27 in Huntington Beach, Calif. Pictured in the back row, left to right, are head coach Kris Zacher, assistant coach Ali Hooks, Kendall Kauzlarich (Liberty), Maddy Trout (Mount Si), Megan Marino (Bothell), Lauren Lo (Skyline), Marnie Skinner (Moses Lake), Camille Goo (Skyline), and assistant coach Greg Erwin. Front row, from left to right, are Kelsey Bechtholdt (Granite Falls), Molly Spaniac (Skyline), Justi Johnson (Issaquah), Sydney Schultz (Issaquah), Morgan Bevell (Issaquah), Madelyn Carlson (Enumclaw) and assistant coach Tom Kauzlarich.

Patriots’ fastpitch makes quick exit from state tourney

June 3, 2014

The Liberty High School fastpitch team’s postseason magic came to an end May 30 after two consecutive losses in the 3A state tournament at Lacey’s Regional Athletic Complex.

Liberty was dealt the toughest possible opening-round game when it was matched up with Kamiakin, winners of the previous two state championships. The Braves went on to make it three in a row before the weekend ended.

The Patriots fell to Kamiakin, 12-6. Despite the loss, Liberty’s offense was the only Kamiakin tournament opponent to score more than three runs against the champions.

By Greg Farrar Madison Jones (left), Liberty High School sophomore, is plowed into by Riley Gregoire, Bainbridge junior second baseman, running in at top speed with the ball to cover first base, during the third inning of their 3A state tournament fastpitch game May 30 in Lacey.

By Greg Farrar
Madison Jones (left), Liberty High School sophomore, is plowed into by Riley Gregoire, Bainbridge junior second baseman, running in at top speed with the ball to cover first base, during the third inning of their 3A state tournament fastpitch game May 30 in Lacey.

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Power driven — Hot bats put Patriots back in state tournament

May 27, 2014

The Liberty Patriots softball team celebrates after clinching a state tournament berth with their 10-1 win over West Seattle at Lower Woodland Park May 22. By Christina Corrales-Toy

The Liberty Patriots softball team celebrates after clinching a state tournament berth with their 10-1 win over West Seattle at Lower Woodland Park May 22. By Christina Corrales-Toy

The Liberty High School softball team is back where it belongs.

The perennially state-bound squad will return to the state tournament, after missing out on the fun a year ago. The Patriots clinched a 2014 berth with a 3-1 record in the two-day SeaKing District Tournament May 21-22.

“I’m just trying to get back to where the program should and used to be,” second-year coach Zach Bartholomew said. “It’s always kind of been the same story. They’re not always the most talented group, but nobody ever wants to play us because we’ll jump up and beat anybody at anytime.”

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Annika Hildebrand goes deep, leads Spartans to next round

May 27, 2014

Annika Hildebrand (center), Skyline High School sophomore third baseman, leaps in the air onto home plate and into her teammates’ arms after collecting three runs with her first-ever high school homerun in the third inning May 20 against Issaquah. By Greg Farrar

Annika Hildebrand (center), Skyline High School sophomore third baseman, leaps in the air onto home plate and into her teammates’ arms after collecting three runs with her first-ever high school homerun in the third inning May 20 against Issaquah. By Greg Farrar

Annika Hildebrand isn’t known as a power hitter, but she picked a very good time to collect her first home run as a high-school player.

The Skyline High School third baseman clobbered a three-run homer over the center-field fence, and those runs proved to be the difference as the Spartans held off the Issaquah Eagles, 7-6, in a loser-out game at the Class 4A KingCo Conference fastpitch tournament May 20 at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore.

In the bottom of the third inning, Skyline (15-7) took a 4-3 lead on Natalie King’s RBI single. Hildebrand then stepped to the plate and drilled a pitch from Issaquah’s Kylie Bevell, making it 7-3 in the blink of an eye.

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Skyline grad earns all-region softball honors

May 20, 2014

Anya Kamber, a Sammamish resident and 2011 graduate of Skyline High School, was part of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s All-New England teams announced May 10.

Kamber, who plays for Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., was a first-team All-New England selection. She will be eligible to be selected for NCAA Division III All-America honors.

Kamber, a junior, was the only Brandeis player to appear in every game during the 2014 season, and led the squad in hits, doubles and RBIs. She was second on the team with a .420 batting average.

The Judges finish with a 21-18 record in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, winning their last six games to reach the postseason for the eighth straight year.

Kamber’s parents are Peter and Tracey Kamber, of Sammamish.

 

Sydney Schultz powers Issaquah to win over Ballard

May 6, 2014

By Greg Farrar Winter Ridgeway, Issaquah High School junior, pitches April 30 during a tough third inning against Ballard. Ridgeway hit an RBI and pitched a complete game in the 5-3 win.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Winter Ridgeway, Issaquah High School junior, pitches April 30 during a tough third inning against Ballard. Ridgeway hit an RBI and pitched a complete game in the 5-3 win.

Issaquah High School sophomore Sydney Schultz’s first-inning homerun trot ended with a rather emphatic stomp on home plate.

Just a half-inning earlier, the Eagles watched as umpires erased a Ballard home run, after the hitter failed to touch home plate on her way back to the dugout.

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Wolves pitch 2-0 shutout of Spartans

April 22, 2014

There wasn’t much offense to support Skyline’s Caroline Bowman or Eastlake’s Mikel Charles in last week’s Class 4A KingCo Conference fastpitch game.

Charles, though, got enough of it to outduel Bowman, and the Wolves knocked off the Spartans, 2-0, April 15 at Skyline High School.

By Neil Pierson Skyline freshman pitcher Caroline Bowman was sharp against Eastlake on April 15, striking out eight batters.

By Neil Pierson
Skyline freshman pitcher Caroline Bowman was sharp against Eastlake on April 15, striking out eight batters.

Charles was rarely threatened in leading the Wolves to their fourth KingCo win in five outings. The junior allowed one walk and three hits, all singles, while striking out six in a complete-game effort.

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Six freshmen to start for Skyline fastpitch squad

March 18, 2014

There are definite disadvantages in having freshmen fill six of nine starting roles, but Skyline High School fastpitch coach Ken Brooks also believes there’s a bright side.

“No one knows anything about us,” Brooks said. “All they know is we’ve got a bunch of freshmen, and so we’re excited. Every year we get out here, it’s just a new group, and we only lose two seniors this year. Next year, we lose no seniors.”

The Spartans have struggled to recruit players for a few seasons — 14 turned out this spring, 12 the year before. But the team isn’t making excuses, and knows it can win if the chemistry is right and individuals meet expectations.

By Neil Pierson Riley Davidson, one of two seniors on the Skyline High School fastpitch team, figures to be an on-field leader and run producer for the Spartans.

By Neil Pierson
Riley Davidson, one of two seniors on the Skyline High School fastpitch team, figures to be an on-field leader and run producer for the Spartans.

And Brooks isn’t cutting the team any slack because of its youthfulness.

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Patriots’ coach to rely on youth

March 11, 2014

It’s always easier to do something the second time around, just ask Liberty High School softball coach Zach Bartholomew.

Bartholomew is heading into his second year leading the Patriots, and with a year under his belt, both he and the girls have a better idea of who they are and what they need to do as a team to bring the Liberty program back to previous levels of success.

By Greg Farrar Sydney Hopper, Liberty High School pitcher, strikes out eight and allows just three hits in a 2013 complete-game win.

By Greg Farrar
Sydney Hopper, Liberty High School pitcher, strikes out eight and allows just three hits in a 2013 complete-game win.

“It’s always great coming into something that you’re a little bit used to,” he said. “I’m not brand new to the program, the players are not brand new to me, so it helps me out a lot.”

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Young Issaquah softball team finds strength in pitching

March 11, 2014

Eagles welcome Skyline transfers

With just two seniors on its 2014 squad, youth is the Issaquah High School softball team’s overriding theme.

By Greg Farrar Kylie Bevell, Issaquah High School starting pitcher, throws to batters in a 2013 game against Eastlake.

By Greg Farrar
Kylie Bevell, Issaquah High School starting pitcher, throws to batters in a 2013 game against Eastlake.

That’s why, more than ever, second-year coach Ron Hatlen is preaching mental toughness and resiliency.

“We’re really going to work on the mental side for these guys,” he said. “I mean, they’ve all played for so long. It’s a matter of trying to turn their brain off when they’re out there.”

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