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Malia Peato earned the win and Ruby Raymundo had a home run as the Spartans take care of business against the Raiders

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — A rally by Nathan Hale in the top of the sevneth inning wasn’t enough to overcome the lead Bainbridge had built throughout the Metro League softball game Wednesday, but it’s not something the Spartans want opposing teams to make a habit.

Bainbridge’s Malia Peato got the win and reliever Miranda Grogger closed it out with a strikeout as the Spartans won 6-4 to improve to 5-3 overall. Bainbridge remained 4-2 in Mountain Division play and will take on Rainier Beach from the Valley Division next Monday. 

Bainbridge’s win opened the second-half of the season as teams know it’s time to get serious if they want to have potential playoff runs. 

Sophomore Ruby Raymundo’s home run in the first inning set the table for Bainbridge but hanging onto momentum has been a struggle for the Spartans all season. Bainbridge led 3-0 through three innings.

“I was just thinking to myself, ‘Just get on base. Get a basehit,’” Raymundo said of her home run.

Instead the sophomore launched a shot over the outfield fence to give Bainbridge a 1-0 lead. 

“I was not expecting to swing it over the fence but it was exciting,” she said. “It felt nice.”

The Spartans increased their lead to 4-0 in the fourth and, after a sacrifice RBI by Grace Colburn, they were comfortably ahead 5-0. Bainbridge seemed to lose some energy with the lead and the Raiders took advantage. Nathan Hale used two walks and three hits to drive in three runs to cut the lead to 5-3 in the top of the sixth inning before Peato got out of the jam with a fly out to first and a strikeout.

Bainbridge coach Haylee Baker said keeping the energy at a high level for seven innings has been a struggle for the 2019 Spartans. 

“It’s our team energy, I think that’s a big part of it,” Baker said. “Luckily this game we started out strong but we’re up and down. We’ll have one inning where we’re up and we’re hitting and we’ll hit a rally. Other times we’re getting through four innings before we get a hit.

“The game of softball, a lot of it is momentum and energy and what you’re putting into it and that level of focus. I think that’s what we’re lacking is keeping that consistent focus throughout the game.”

The players know it too.

“We were talking about how we could be a lot more aggressive out there,” Raymundo added of the Spartans’ post-game huddle in the outfield where they talked about the need for more consistency. “That was just not us and the energy was a little bit low.”

It just comes down to not getting ahead of themselves and counting on a win before the final out, Raymundo added. 

Bainbridge rebounded in the bottom half of the sixth by adding an RBI by Colburn to score Peato, who hit her third double of the game leading off. Now up 6-3 Bainbridge was three outs away from the win yet the Raiders didn’t make it easy. 

Grogger gave up a single, a walk and another single to load the bases before Nathan Hale’s next batter ripped a single past third baseman Kylie Bushnell who went diving for the ball to make it 6-4. The Spartans defense got the ball in quickly to hold runners on with one out. Grogger struck out the next batter and hit another to load the bases again.

elieved over the win, Baker said the Spartans can’t sit back and wait for someone to come through.

“I think maybe they’re just waiting for somebody else to step up,” she said. “And that can’t be the mentality. It has to be every single person has to have that eagerness to step up and fill in where they’re needed.”

After a chat with Baker and her teammates on the mound, Grogger forced Nathan Hale’s final batter to swing on two pitches and then struck her out swinging to end the game.

Bainbridge won’t return to Mountain Division play until May 1 when it hosts rival Holy Names at home at 4 p.m.

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