The Kirkland Junior All-Stars, a softball team of Kirkland American and Kirkland National Little League 12-14 year olds, will represent Washington Little League District 9 as the host team in the Junior Softball World Series (JSWS).
Kirkland won the host berth by defeating Bellevue East 6-0 in the District 9 championship game on July 18.
During the game against Bellevue East, Kirkland scored one run in the first inning when Brynn Radke walked, advanced to second on a single up the middle by Tori Bivens, and scored on an RBI grounder to third hit by Lisa Nelson.
A second run was added in the next inning when Gianna Paribello led off with a hard line drive to left field. Julianna Lynch pinch ran for Gianna, stealing second base. Kara Phillips’ sacrifice bunt moved her to third and a single over the head of the second baseman off the bat of Kristina Warford drove in the run.
The third inning continued the pattern. Hannah Walker led off the inning with a double into the right field gap. Hannah advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly hit by Lisa Nelson into deep center field.
There were no runs in the fourth inning but another run was added in the fifth when Hannah Walker hit a triple off the fence in right field that ricocheted back towards the third base line. She scored on a wild pitch. Kristina Warford and Julianna Lynch both walked to start the sixth inning. Kristina scored on an RBI single into right field by Katie Erickson and Juliana scored on a ground out to short hit by Hannah Walker.
Lisa Nelson pitched all seven innings, no earned runs, 12 strike outs, three walks, and two hits.
Kirkland’s ability to score throughout the game came from the girls’ ability to get on base and put the ball in play. Kirkland batters had seven walks and seven hits and only left five girls on base.
Kirkland’s defense remained strong behind the solid pitching. Lisa Nelson caught a pop fly and threw out another batter on a grounder hit back at her. Kristina Warford snagged a line drive inches off the ground in the shortstop position. Kara Phillips threw out a runner trying to steal third. Tatum Kawabata fielded a grounder at first and took it to the bag herself for the put out, and Brynn Radke fielded two grounders at second throwing both batters out at first.
Hannah Walker went two for four with a double, a triple, and an RBI.
Kirkland previously defeated Eastlake/Falls 17-5 and Redmond West 6-5 on their way to the district title.
The Kirkland team advances to the Junior World Series to be played at Everest Field in Kirkland on Aug. 12-18.
This year’s Kirkland team will be the first to represent the city in the JSWS since the KNLL squad of 2008. Detailed information on the World Series can be found at www.jrsoftballworldseries.com.
The Kirkland roster includes Katie Adams, Tori Bivens, Katie Erickson, Alex Hanger, Tatum Kawabata, Juliana Lynch, Lisa Nelson, Gianna Paribello, Kara Phillips, Brynn Radke, Natalie Vetto, Hannah Walker, and Kristina Warford. Nolan Radke is manager, assisted by coaches Phil Phillips and Tim Nelson.
Members on this team have been outstanding softball ambassadors for Kirkland in recent years, playing on the following teams:
• 2008 Washington District 9 and State 9-10 Champions (KALL)
• 2009 Washington District 9 and State 9-10 Champions (KNLL)
• 2010 Washington District 9 and State 10-11 Champions (KNLL)
• 2011 Washington District 9 and State 11-12 Champions, Western Region 3rd Place (KALL/KNLL)
• 2012 Washington District 9 Champions, Junior Softball World Series Host Team (KALL/KNLL)