Juanita girls softball takes KingCo title with blowout wins

The first meeting between Juanita and Bellevue, the top-two teams in the KingCo Conference, was a nail-biter that came down to the bottom half of the final inning.

Kylie Sparks

The first meeting between Juanita and Bellevue, the top-two teams in the KingCo Conference, was a nail-biter that came down to the bottom half of the final inning.

The second game could not have been more different.

Two weeks after scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to come from behind and beat Bellevue 6-5, the Juanita Rebels needed no such late-game magic Wednesday night. Instead, the Rebels pounded out 14 runs and allowed only two hits to the Wolverines, defeating Bellevue 14-0 and cementing a regular season KingCo 3A/2A title.

“When we play on all cylinders, this is one good softball team,” said Juanita head coach Kristian Dahl. “When the girls are on, this is what they can do.”

Andi Garza went 3-for-3 with five RBIs and two doubles and teammate Kellie Shinstrom knocked in four runs to lead the Rebels (15-1, 9-0 KingCo 3A/2A) in the win. Juanita scored nine of their 14 runs with two outs.

“We emphasize timely hitting and today it happened,” Dahl said. “It’s just kind of random when we get it going.”

The Rebels got to Bellevue (7-6, 5-3) starting pitcher Emily Fleischman early, scoring in the first inning on a wild pitch. The biggest blow to Bellevue came in the second inning, when Juanita scored five runs off Fleischman, who took the loss, to break the game wide open.

“Emily has been fantastic so far this year,” said Bellevue coach Heather Tracy. “Juanita has girls that can just hit all the way through their lineup. From their first batter to their number nine spot, they all hit the ball.”

Bellevue’s offense was stifled by the pitching of Juanita junior Kylie Sparks, who picked up her 14th win of the season. Sparks had a no-hitter broken up in the fourth inning on a single back up the middle by Bellevue senior Carly Brog, but allowed only one more hit in the game, striking out six Wolverines along the way.

“She threw a great game,” Dahl said.

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