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EAST BREMERTON — The annual Kitsap Athletic Roundtable’s Softball Showcase never lacks for runs, hits, and smiles.

The 16th edition of the All-Star Game, sponsored by the Benik Corporation and Olympic College, produced a 12-11 win by the National team over the American team.

Port Angeles senior Natalie Steinman was named the Dick Thompson MVP award winner thanks to a productive effort at the plate. Steinman hit a home run, added a double and drove in four runs for the National team.

The National team included players from Bainbridge, Central Kitsap, Port Angeles, Bremerton, Coupeville, and Sequim. The American team included South Kitsap, Klahowya, North Kitsap, Olympic, North Mason and Kingston. The National side was coached by Olympic College assistant softball coach Alissa Buss. The American team was coached by OC head coach Eric Buss, Alissa’s father.

Earning the Dick Todd award for sportsmanship, teamwork, and leadership were Maddie Loverich of Bainbridge and Zee Young of Central Kitsap. The award is named after long-time local umpire Todd and is presented to a player, or in this case players, as voted on by the Peninsula Umpires Association. Young has committed to play at Pacific (Oregon) next season while Loverich is headed to Linfield (Oregon).

Young is the third Central Kitsap player to earn the award in as many years. Chance Barg and Marissa Adams were named in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

For the All-Star baseball team, Cale Dower of Olympic was named the co-MVP as he lead the National team to a 13-1 win over the American team. Dower pitched five innings, giving up three hits.

Central Kitsap’s Fred Buckson was the other co-MVP.

The showcases are enjoyable for the players because they have one more chance to take the field for their high school teams and play with regular-season opponents.

Or, in the case of Bainbridge which plays in the Metro League 3A, finally getting to play with girls from the Olympic League (2A), South Sound Conference (3A) and South Puget Sound League (4A).

Olympic senior third baseman Kaira Cabato fields a ground ball off a hop during the 16th KAR All-Star Softball Showcase game at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Wednesday, May 30, 2018.
(Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

“It’s really fun because we don’t get to play them a lot because obviously, they’re not part of our league,” said Spartans pitcher/shortstop Sara Colley. “It’s fun because I hear a lot about some of their names and it’s cool to see them in person too. And, it’s really easy to talk to a lot of them.”

It’s especially gratifying for underclassmen as they can show off their talent as up-and-comers.

Appearing in her first All-Star game, North Mason freshman Amber Johnson was happy to make her debut for the American All-Stars. Johnson said she was able to reunite with former teammates from her 14U Diamond Dusters team, Lamara Villiard and Sarah Smith of North Kitsap.

North Mason freshman Amber Johnson hits during the 16th KAR All-Star Softball Showcase Wednesday, May 30, 2018, at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.
(Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

“I know a lot of the other girls on the other teams and so it was cool to be with them and play,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Johnson agreed with Colley that playing with girls you hear about lends a whole new aspect to the camaraderie in the dugouts.

“I remember playing other teams and thinking ‘Dang, she’s really good,’ and then you get to this game and you have a chance to play with them,” she said.

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