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Ready for state: Mount Si fastpitch team clinches district title with steady focus, good defense
The Mount Si girls fastpitch team brought home the SeaKing District title, beating all comers in the tournament last Wednesday and Thursday, May 21 and 22, at Seattle’s Lower Woodland Park.
The number-one seed going into the tournament, the team punched a ticket to state in the first outing, blanking the Eastside Catholic Crusaders, 10-0, in the second round on Wednesday.
The Crusaders had just beaten Bishop Blanchet’s braves, 10-9. But the Wildcats, with lefty Bayley Barnett on the mound, shut them down. Barnett gave up just four hits.
It didn’t take Mount Si long to adjust to the Spartan pitcher’s speed. At the bottom of the first inning, Celine Fowler, Britney Stevens and Nikki Carroll, first in the lineup, made bases. Mount Si’s Rachel Picchena, hit a single that brought home a fast-moving Fowler. Paige Weatherbee brought Picchena home on a double to left field that was just shy of the foul line. Eastside made a double-play on Carroll and Stevens that ended the inning.
In the bottom of the third, Stevens hit a double between the arms of EC’s diving second basewoman, allowing Fowler to come home. Then, Weatherbee knocked a single to bring home Nellie Joselyn, who was pinch-running for Stevens. In that same play, a fumbled pass allowed Picchena to rush to third, where she was declared safe in a cloud of dust.
Jenny Carroll made a running catch that stopped the first batter in the top of the fourth.
“I just track the ball really well off the bat,” she said. “That’s my strength.”
In the bottom of the fourth, Mount Si added three more, with Rose Vogt contributing a double.
In the fifth, Kira Link whacked a double that brought home Joselyn, running for Weatherbee. Then Carroll nailed a double right through a gap that brought home Link.
She came home on a near-homer by Emily Webb that ended the game.
“You’re the best team here,” Mount Si coach Larry White told the team afterwards. “You showed them right there.”
“Our seniors are stepping up,” said White. “They want to make a big splash at the state tournament.”
Against Eastside Catholic in round one, the seniors grabbed the pop flies that Barnett had the Crusaders hitting.
“Bayley pitched a great game,” said White. “We didn’t have to play a lot of good defense because she made it happen. She was keeping them off balance.”
Mount Si’s senior group has been to state three times in the last four years, and are ready.
“It was our energy, coming into this game,” said Stevens, that made the difference. “We knew that if we win it, we’re going to state.”
“We came to this game loose, but focused,” said Jenny Carroll. “We have to come with the same mentality, every game. We have to shut them down. We can’t just go out there and think that we have the game.”
“Once again, we’re coming out big,” said senior co-captain Picchena. “We’re going to battle to win districts.”
“I’m excited we’re going back to state,” said Barnett, a junior, who pitched to Stevens Wednesday. “It’s my first time. I’m really proud. I’m happy.”
On Thursday, Mount Si handled a strong Bainbridge team, 16-9, then went on to the final round that afternoon, beating Juanita, 13-3, to take the championship.
Weatherbee pitched against the Spartans, striking out two and allowing six runs on five hits. Stevens had four RBIs and scored three runs. Fowler added three runs and three RBIS.
Then, against the Rebels, Mount Si saw tons of hits start rolling in late in the game. Picchena homered, scoring twice and adding two RBIs. Vogt had two runs and four runs batted in. Stevens had three RBIs. Claire Lis pitched, striking out four and allowing three runs on six hits in 91 pitches.
The team goes to state this weekend at Lacey.
View a photo gallery of district play here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/32315452@N03/sets/72157644467223639/
You can follow the team at http://www.mountsifastpitch.com/blog.asp