Liberty baseball team makes state’s final four and other notes

May 26, 2015

NEW — 3:40 p.m. May 26, 2015

Something special is brewing on the Liberty baseball diamond.

The Patriots are in the state’s final four, after a weekend in which they eliminated Tumwater and then North Kitsap at Centralia’s Wheeler Field May 23.

Nate Steffens threw a complete game shutout, while Torey Anderson collected three hits to propel the Patriots to a 3-0 win over Tumwater. The Thunderbirds came into the contest with a 16-6 record and consistently found themselves in the top 10 of state rankings.

Liberty continued to stun spectators with a 4-3 come-from-behind win over North Kitsap. Read more

Issaquah rallies to beat Eastlake, 7-4, in girls fastpitch

May 20, 2015

Some teams might have pushed the panic button after blowing a four-run lead, but the Issaquah High School fastpitch team just shrugged and kept smiling.

After host Eastlake put up a four-run fifth inning to tie the score, the Eagles responded with three runs in the top of sixth and held on for a 7-4 victory in the regular-season finale of Class 4A KingCo Conference play May 14.

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Hot-hitting Issaquah tops Skyline in fastpitch rivalry

April 21, 2015

Winter Ridgeway said it’s not unusual for Issaquah High School’s offense to start slowly, but given time, the Eagles can be very productive hitters.

Trailing by two runs after three innings, Issaquah put together three big innings at the plate and overwhelmed rival Skyline, 12-4, in a Class 4A KingCo Conference fastpitch game on April 15 in Sammamish.

The Eagles (7-2 overall, 4-2 KingCo) grabbed the lead with four runs in the fourth inning, added two more in the fifth, and slammed the door on Skyline’s hopes with a six-run sixth.

By Greg Farrar Issaquah High School’s Tia Hedman swats a two-run single to score teammates Morgan Bevell and Justi Johnson during the fifth inning against Skyline on April 15. The Eagles won, 12-4, as Hedman, a senior designated hitter, drove in four runs.

By Greg Farrar
Issaquah High School’s Tia Hedman swats a two-run single to score teammates Morgan Bevell and Justi Johnson during the fifth inning against Skyline on April 15. The Eagles won, 12-4, as Hedman, a senior designated hitter, drove in four runs.

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Liberty’s Sydney Hopper excels on and off field

April 14, 2015

Sydney Hopper has enjoyed heroic moments in softball.

By Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times Sydney Hopper, Liberty High School senior pitcher, throws against Lake Washington batters during their April 7 fastpitch game.

By Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times
Sydney Hopper, Liberty High School senior pitcher, throws against Lake Washington batters during their April 7 fastpitch game.

Winning hits at the plate, game-saving strikeouts in the pitching circle.

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Patriots softball team off to quick start

April 14, 2015

As the Liberty High School softball team nears its halfway point, the Patriots are nearly perfect.

Two narrow losses to defending 2A state champion Lake Washington are the only things that kept Liberty from a 9-0 start. Despite near perfection, first-year head coach Jon Kinsley said the team is pleased, but not satisfied.

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Spartans’ offensive woes continue in 3-1 loss

April 7, 2015

The Skyline High School fastpitch team has started the season with four losses in five games, and the results can largely be chalked up to one thing — the Spartans aren’t doing enough on offense.

Skyline dropped a 3-1 decision to visiting Eastlake April 1 in Class 4A KingCo Conference play. The Spartans’ record fell to 1-4 overall, 0-3 in conference, as their offensive drought continued.

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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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