Pitching, pitching, pitching.
That’s been the story for the Issaquah fastpitch team all season long, and it continued Tuesday afternoon as the Eagles clinched the KingCo 3A regular season crown with a 10-0, six-inning victory over Bellevue.
“We’ve earned our No. 1 seed going into KingCo and got that first-round bye, and that’s important,” IHS head coach Jim Magnuson said.
The Eagles were led by junior Brianna Bray and sophomore Mikenzie Voves. The duo pitched three innings apiece, en route to Issaquah’s 11th shutout of the season. Bray struck out seven while allowing just two infield hits — Bellevue’s only two hits of the game. Voves struck out six and retired all nine batters she faced.
The Eagles also received some key performances at the plate, led by senior Molly Morey’s RBI single in the bottom of the sixth. The hit sent the 10-run rule into effect and sealed the game for Issaquah. Junior Kim Sekijima had a two-RBI single earlier in the inning. Voves, junior Kenna Olsen, junior Kelly Richards and junior Kristen Aratani also drove in runs.
Pitching was the highlight of Issaquah’s 15th straight win. Voves, Bray and senior Lauren Naismith have only allowed four earned runs in 15 games. In that span, there were 13 games where opponents have had four hits or less — one no-hitter, five one-hitters, four two-hitters and three four-hitters. Issaquah’s team ERA is .027, and opponents are only hitting .111. The trio of pitchers have combined for 151 strikeouts and only 12 walks.
“It’s been difficult throwing all three of them,” Magnuson said. “They all get their reps though. There isn’t any animosity between the kids as far as who’s pitching and as far as who’s not getting enough time, so that’s been really good.”
Voves echoed her coach’s sentiment.
“Basically we all just get along really well,” she said. “We all just kind of know each other’s strengths and we kind of play on each other’s strengths. We always have fun, and that just kind of helps us kind of relax and have a good time.”
Another key to success, according to Bray, is the focus the trio takes to the circle.
“We take every game one inning at a time, more like one pitch at a time,” she said.
Issaquah faced Newport last night after Reporter deadline with a chance to complete a perfect 16-0 regular season. Assistant coach George Bray said no other KingCo 3A softball teams have accomplished the feat before.
“(Going) 16-0 would be like icing on the cake for us,” Magnuson said.
Brianna Bray agreed.
“I think that’s a really big deal, and I think it’s awesome to be a part of it,” she said. “It’s a really good feeling.”
Issaquah begins the playoffs at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 8 at the Issaquah High School fastpitch fields. The tournament continues May 9, with the championship game set for 2 p.m.
Skyline loses three straight
Skyline dropped two league contests and one non-league game over the last week, falling to 8-6 in league and 9-8 overall.
The Spartans lost 7-4 to Liberty April 23, 6-2 to Newport last Friday and 10-0 to Eastlake on Tuesday.
Skyline had two league games left to play and was tied with Liberty for the No. 3 spot in league. The Spartans faced Mercer Island on Thursday and travel to Mount Si today.
Eastlake stays in hunt
Eastlake won three games over the past week, staying in the running for the KingCo 4A regular-season title.
The Wolves defeated Bothell 2-0 on April 23, Franklin 17-0 on Monday and non-league Skyline 10-0 on Tuesday.
Eastlake is now 13-2 in league and 14-2 overall. The Wolves faced Garfield on Wednesday and travel to Lake Washington for a game at 4 p.m. today. They close out the regular season at home against first place Woodinville at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6.