The Liberty Patriot softball team notched its 12 wins in a row this season and still remains undefeated in KingCo play.
“The girls knew what was coming today. We prepared for it and they did outstanding,” said Head Coach Lindsay Barnes after the game.
The Patriots took down the Juanita Ravens 6-3 in just the ninth full-length game Liberty has played this season.
“We understood that they were going to come in here and give us the best competition that we’re seeing in our league this year,” Barnes said. “We’re both fighting and want to come out on top as the number one seed and keep our momentum going.”
Juanita has been a tough game for Liberty this season. In the last meeting, the Patriots had to score 17 runs to take down the Ravens who put up 12 runs. Juanita is the only KingCo opponent to force Liberty to play all seven innings this season.
“We just have to come out stronger and with more grit and make the big plays, like we did,” said Elyse McMullin after the game.
Credit to Juanita who for the fourth time all season held the Patriots to under 10 runs in the game. But McMullin stole the show for Liberty, and at the beginning, she had to overcome some adversity.
”Elyse has had better games, I think at the beginning of the game the umpire threw off her rhythm. I truly believe she is the best player in the state, she’s been very, very underrated. She always has been, she’s only 5-foot-4 and people underestimate her strength and her power,” Barnes said.
McMullin pitched all seven innings in the victory over the Ravens. She struck out seven, allowed three runs all were earned, and gave up six Juanita hits.
Liberty got out to a quick start scoring three in the bottom of the first. With no outs, McMullin hit an RBI groundout getting the Patriots on the scoreboard. Emi Connell smoked a ball over the left-center field wall scoring Malia Suehiro who reached on an error. At the end of the first Liberty led 3-0.
Conell homered in four straight games breaking her old season-high streak of three in a row earlier this year. Connell has 13 on the season so far through Liberty’s 17 games.
“Emi Cornell is amazing, she’s averaging a home run once every two games and she’s only a sophomore,” said Coach Barnes.
In the second Liberty tallied another run on a Suehiro two-out single which scored Layne Ford from second increasing the lead 4-0.
Juanita got on the board in the fourth inning. With none out, a leadoff single and a home run cut the Patriot lead in half.
During the Liberty half of the fourth, they responded and regained the four-run advantage. The Patriots got two runners on with no outs. Suehiro did her job and got Reese Broughton in from third base. McMullin drove in Kaila Siu with her double giving Liberty a 6-2 lead.
After Juanita scored in the fourth, McMullin sat down seven batters in a row. That was until Juanita got its final run of the game on another homer in the sixth which cut the lead to 6-3.
With the 6-3 win, over its last six games Liberty has outscored opponents 98-4. The stats back up that Liberty has one of the best offenses in the state at any classification.
“To be able to hit consistently is a great feeling. Hitting line drives and bombs at any time is a good feeling,” McMullin said.
Liberty is also back to being the No. 1 team in the RPI Ratings with the win over the Ravens. With the playoffs on the horizon, Barnes said, “It’s good for us to make sure that we can play through seven innings and not show any tiredness.“
Liberty takes on Bellevue on April 28, and then has Interlake May 1 and ends the regular season on May 3 against Lake Washington at home.