Liberty moving to districts, closer to clinching 12th-straight state berth
With a little luck, a towering home run and some great pitching by the team’s usual starting catcher, Liberty started the KingCo tournament on the right path, with a win.
The Patriots beat Mount Si 5-4 on Thursday at Issaquah High School.
Liberty got on the board early when Hannah Sherwood scored off of a sacrifice fly by Michelle Torre in the first inning. Torre then struck again with a towering three-run home run over the left field fence in the third inning, which brought Liberty’s lead to 4-0.
“That’s one of the farther home runs you’ll see in fastpitch,” said Liberty coach Brian Hartman.
Mount Si threatened in the third inning when the team led off with a single and a walk, putting two runners on base with no outs. Tracey Barclay then hit what looked like a grounder to Liberty’s shortstop. Confusion followed when no one off the field was sure if the ball was a ground out or a lineout and the umpire didn’t make an immediate signal. The Liberty fielders tagged every base and runner as the Mount Si runners went back and forth on the bases. Both coaches came and argued with the umpires as no one was sure what the call was. In the end it was a triple play and the inning was over.
“I wasn’t quite sure how the thing was going to be sorted out in the end, so I told them to tag every runner and hit every base,” Hartman said. “After that, I was thinking the softball gods were smiling down on Liberty High School again, to be honest with you. Sometimes you need plays like that to win.”
Regular catcher Jesi Siemons pitched three scoreless innings to start the game before the Wildcats drew a bases- loaded walk to score in the fourth inning, bringing the score to 4-1. Senior Bree
Bartholomew is down with tendinitis, meaning Siemons is the only varsity pitcher on the Patriots staff.
Mount Si then scored three runs in the sixth inning to bring the game back to a tie. The Wildcats started the inning with a double, a walk, a bunt and a single as Siemons labored on the mound.
“She’s tough as nails. She admittedly wasn’t at her best,” Hartman said. “I knew they were going to make a comeback, that it wasn’t going to be a walkover. I just didn’t know how many runs they were going to get.”
In the seventh inning, Siemons had her chance to win the game at the plate. She came up to bat with runners on first and third and hit a bouncer down the third-base line, scoring Sherwood and putting Liberty up 5-4.
“KB (Mount Si pitcher Katie Brett) and I are really good friends,” Siemons said. “I guess I was thinking she’d throw me inside because she knows I don’t usually hit the inside pitch.”
Mount Si wasn’t done threatening and put runners on first and third with just one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. As the Liberty infield met on the mound, the players calmed themselves down and affirmed that everyone was ready to finish the game.
“We just said we knew we had the game, we need to stay calm and get the job done,” Siemons said. “We went around the circle and everyone ‘we are going to get the job done.’”
The Patriots got the final outs and won the game. The win was vital because it locked up a district appearance, no matter what else happened in the KingCo tournament.
Hartman marveled at the tenacity of the Patriots and Siemons in the win. “There’s no panic. When their backs are against the wall, they usually come out fighting.” As for Siemons, Hartman called her the team’s MVP and said, “she’s not our best pitcher, she’s not our best hitter, but she is our best player.”
After just 15 minutes of rest after the Mount Si game, the Patriots played against undefeated Issaquah. Hartman decided to rest Siemons and had JV pitchers throw in the game. The Patriots lost 10-0. On Friday, the Patriots lost another KingCo tournament game 7-5 against Skyline.
Liberty’s first district game is on Thursday at noon against Eastside Catholic at Marymoor Park in Redmond.
Adam McFadden can be reached at email@example.com or 425-255-3484, ext. 5054.