There are some hot softball teams in the area right now, and what better time to be sizzling, just when the playoffs heat up.
Headlining this week’s edition of the blog notebook is one of those teams on a tear – Kentridge.
Then I’ll have updates on a few big games over the past week, and wrap up with some playoff info and brackets.
Kentridge charging into the post-season
The last time the Kentridge Chargers reached the 4A state softball tournament, they won it.
That was back in 2002, when they edged Shorecrest, 2-1, in nine innings.
This could be the year they finally get back to the sweet sixteen. And then who knows what just might happen?
The Chargers certainly have the quality pitcher it takes in senior Lizzet Dominguez. She is 11-3 with a 1.85 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 91 innings – and two of those losses came in close games with unbeaten Tahoma. The other was a 1-0, no-support decision against Kentwood, when she allowed just three hits.
“Lizzet is just amazing,” coach Rachel Comstock said. “She’s just a really great kid, and a great softball player. I had a lot of high expectations for her this year, and she’s fulfilled them. She’s had a couple of missteps, but other than that she’s been dominating.”
Dominguez, a four-year veteran who is headed for Western Oregon University, has been pretty dominating at the plate, too. She has a team-best .465 batting average with a .556 on-base percentage and is 13-for-13 in stolen bases.
Kentridge finished second in the SPSL North Division at 13-3 and takes an eight-game winning streak into the league tournament, which runs today (Thursday) and tomorrow at the Kent Service Fields.
The Chargers open against Graham-Kapowsin, the No. 5 seed out of the South Division. A win there would mean a quarterfinal game against either Bethel or Mount Rainier, with Puyallup awaiting in the Friday semifinals. Both division winners, Puyallup and Tahoma, are seeded directly into the semis.
Comstock, a 2006 Kentridge graduate who was an All-SPSL infielder, took over as head coach this season after two years as an assistant to Julie Simonson. With all but two starters back from last year’s team, the Chargers had their sights set on a division title, but came up a little short – although they played Tahoma tough both times (10-7 and 2-1).
That 2-1 loss came in late April, and they responded with two key wins over Mount Rainier, which also has an ace pitcher in Jasmin Fulmore. They avenged that earlier loss to Kentwood, too, 2-0.
“The girls really wanted to beat Tahoma,” Comstock said. “That was one of their main goals. That (2-1) loss just really motivated them. They stepped up against Mount Rainier and did what they had to do. They know they can hang with any team in this league and in the playoffs.”
The Chargers lost their catcher and an outfielder from last year’s group and Comstock wound up moving a few players around to compensate.
Senior Chloe Meier, who started at first base last spring, moved behind the plate – which is her more natural position. Junior Bri Drury moved from short to first base – in part because she had ankle surgery in the fall.
Sophomore Ashton Bledsoe stepped in at short after moving back from Las Vegas, where she lived last year.
“She is just phenomenal, nothing gets by her,” Comstock said, recalling a recent play where she made a diving stop and threw the girl out at first. “She’s just ridiculously good.”
Senior Megan Thorsland and junior Mia Torlai have helped fill the void in right field.
Comstock said another key player has been senior Jessica Torlai (Mia’s sister), who plays second base and leads off. She has not made an error all season and is batting .418 with 24 runs scored, 12 RBI and nine stolen bases.
The Chargers are hitting .365 as a team. Drury carries a .439 average with a team-high 20 RBI. Samantha Noszlopy (.442) and Kaylee Hamilton (.400) are heavy hitters, too, and Bledsoe isn’t far behind at .373 (with nine stolen bases).
Comstock believes this team has state potential.
“This is definitely one of the best teams we’ve had,” she said, noting the girls are excited about the playoffs. “They’re ready for it. They’ve put in the hard work and they just want to prove they can be that team to beat.”
Big game updates, starting with Richland-Kamiakin
I highlighted the big Richland-Kamiakin twinbill in last week’s blog, and was anxious to see how that turned out.
Somehow, it seems fitting that the two teams split. I got a brief email from Kamiakin coach Tim Bisson afterward. Here’s what he said:
“Richland won the first game 11-8 as we had two costly errors and walked 3 batters (right before big hits). Both teams had three home runs in the first game, Richland’s meant 6 runs and ours meant 4. Was an exciting game with 5 lead changes. I felt good about our effort and the fact that we hit Kayla Andrews pretty well (13 hits).
“Kamiakin won the 2nd game 17-4. We were able to jump out to a 4-0 lead after the 1st and then scored another 8 runs in the 2nd on the strength of 3 home runs. I was really happy about how we responded after losing the first game. The girls really came together and played great as a team.”
So, they wound up sharing the MCC championship, and now go their separate ways – Richland to the 4A playoffs and Kamiakin the same in 3A.
You can read a story about the games in the Tri-City Herald here.
I meant to mention this in last week’s blog, but did you see where Emerald Ridge beat Puyallup on May 6, 8-7? Puyallup was nationally ranked by MaxPreps at the time. Coach Tony Batinovich summed up the game this way: “Too many physical and mental mistakes.”
It was a rare tough outing for pitcher Marissa Miller, who allowed six earned runs. She’s allowed only 15 total in 15 league games. It was the Vikings’ only league loss, and only second setback of the entire season.
But ER is another team on a bit of a tear. The Jaguars have won six straight, starting with a 7-3 victory over a very good Beamer squad, to finish 11-5 in the SPSL South and tie for third with Bethel. They’ll be a tough test today for Kentwood.
Snohomish had its perfect record flawed by an 8-7 loss to Lake Stevens last week, as Amie Browder bashed a three-run, walkoff home run. But the Panthers bounced back with a 5-0 win over Arlington yesterday to finish the regular season 19-1.
In another game of note yesterday, Woodinville handed Redmond an 8-7 loss to close out KingCo 4A regular-season play. The KingCo tournament starts Saturday. Redmond had won 9-2 the first time around. And Woodinville was coming off a 5-0 loss to Bothell.
In two other nail-biters, Jackson edged Lynnwood, 4-3, and Shorecrest nipped Mountlake Terrace, 5-4.
Playoff notes and brackets
As always, your best source for most brackets is the WPANetwork here.
The Metro tourney has been in full swing most of the week and the championship game is today at 4 p.m. at Lower Woodland, featuring Holy Names against Bainbridge. Holy Names swept the regular-season series, but had a bit of a struggle in yesterday’s semifinals against West Seattle, winning just 9-7.
You’ll find the updated bracket is here.
The KingCo 3A tourney runs today and tomorrow (bracket here).
The KingCo 4A tourney starts Saturday. The bare-bones bracket is here, and at some point they’ll put in the actual teams. At this moment, they just show Crown-Crest pairings. Here’s how they finished: In the Crown, the order is Newport, Skyline, Issaquah and Ballard. In the Crest, it’s Redmond, Woodinville, Eastlake and Bothell.
Most of the others you can find on the link about. Unfortunately, I do not see a link to the SPSL 4A tournament. So, here are the first-round pairings, all starting at 4 p.m. at the Kent Service Fields — Mount Rainier v. Bethel, Graham-Kapowsin v. Kentridge, Emerald Ridge v. Kentwood, Jefferson v. Beamer. Winners square off at 6 (and the losers also have 6 p.m. games). Seven of the eight teams advance to the West Central District tourney.
Semifinal and championship games are Friday (along with consolation games), and I plan be there for those. Hope you get out to see some games, too!