The Issaquah 12U fastpitch team captured first place at the USSSA Far West National Championships on July 21 in Hemet, California. Photo courtesy of Ted Prosise

The Issaquah 12U fastpitch team captured first place at the USSSA Far West National Championships on July 21 in Hemet, California. Photo courtesy of Ted Prosise

Flame fastpitch team wins national championship

Issaquah-based softball team finishes 2018 season with 73 victories.

Issaquah Flame 12U fastpitch head coach Marty Abraham was thinking on his feet in the seconds following his team’s 5-3 victory against the Acers 12U (San Bernardino, California) in the USSSA Far West National Championship game on July 21.

While his players jubilantly celebrated their championship on the field, Abraham grabbed the Gatorade container and preceded to dump the entire container on his players while they celebrated on the field. There was a method to this strategy.

“I was being proactive. I grabbed the Gatorade and dumped it on them so they couldn’t get me,” Abraham said with a laugh.

Flame starting pitcher Sarah Wright went the distance in the title game, allowing just six hits while striking out 14 Acers batters.

“Sarah threw a complete game and was dominating, especially in the latter half of that game. She also had two hits at the plate and a RBI,” Abraham said.

Flame catcher Maddie Knowles also connected with the first home run of her career in the title game.

The Flame fastpitch team absolutely dominated the tournament, compiling an overall record of 8-0 during the seven-day extravaganza from July 15-21 in Hemet, California. They finished the 2018 season with an overall record of 73-11-4.

Winning a national championship was the goal and that aspiration was attained.

“Just the sheer emotion and excitement of accomplishing what we had set out to do was exciting,” Abraham said. “It was just fantastic to see these kids grow together as a team throughout the year and work and play for each other.”

Resiliency was the mantra for the Flame throughout the 2018 season. Abraham said his team played 1-2 games per day at nationals with temperates hovering between 90 to 95 degrees.

“It was muggy and miserable but they battled through it. They were a tenacious group all season long that just never gave up. They would fight until the last out,” Abraham said with pride. “We had nine games this season this year that went into extra innings and we won eight of those games. That is just remarkable.”

The 12U Flame roster consisted of Kiley Mercer, Christina Minor, Sara Huryn, Elyse McMullin, McKellen Hamilton, Samantha Bolton, Mackenzie Huryn, Samantha Prosise, Kimora Johnson, Kaylee Hulse, Knowles and Wright.

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