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Wolves have first-teamers in Ransier, Echternach
A first-round loss in the West Central District Tournament helped prevent South Kitsap's fastpitch team from advancing to state for the first time since 2003.
But the Wolves were strong enough to finish second in the Narrows League Bridge Division and had a 13-7 record — their first winning record since 2005.
That was enough for South to land two starters and three honorable mention performers on the 2009 All-Kitsap County Fastpitch Team as voted on by the sports editors of the Kitsap News Group.
The following is the 2009 All-Kitsap County Fastpitch Team:
P — Lindsay Willmann, senior, Bainbridge: A four-year starter who coach Liz McCloskey called "the battery of the team," Willmann compiled a 13-4 record over 114 1/3 innings in 27 games, striking out 134 batters while walking just 24. She allowed 51 hits and only 13 earned runs, finishing with a 0.80 earned-run average. She threw a no-hitter, two one-hitters and didn't allow an earned run in 26 innings in the Class 3A state fastpitch tournament, leading her team to a state title. Also potent at the plate, Willmann posted team-highs in home runs (three), RBI (29), batting average (.464), total bases (49) and slugging percentage (.710).
P — Carolyn Cross, senior, Central Kitsap: Few players have accomplished what Cross did in four years at Central Kitsap. A 4.0 gpa-student who completed 13 Advanced Placement courses, Cross compiled a 17-6 record in 141 2/3 innings. The right-hander, who will attend Pamona University next fall, threw 1,956 pitches — 72 percent for strikes — and struck out 132 batters to just 18 walks, seven of which were intentional. She also hit .404 to lead CK to a second-place finish at districts and its first Class 4A state-tournament victory since 2000.
P — Kazandra Holliday, senior, Klahowya: The University of Central Florida-bound Holliday was a threat on both sides of the ball, but it was her right arm and six-pitch repertoire that carried Klahowya to within one game of the Class 2A state fastpitch tournament. Holliday, who graduates as the school's all-time leader in strikeouts with 661, posted a 10-5 record during the regular season to go with three shutouts and 180 strikeouts in 109 innings pitched. Offensively her regular-season numbers included two home runs, 13 RBI and a .358 batting average.
Co-C — Katie Hanten, senior, Central Kitsap; Brittany Wisner, senior, Bainbridge: Any coach would be thrilled to have one of these catchers, let alone both, in their lineup. Hanten, who possesses arguably the strongest throwing arm of any catcher in Kitsap, hit .318 with five RBI and 12 runs to go with a .470 on-base percentage. Wisner, meanwhile, was the heart and soul of the state-champion Spartans. A four-year starter, Wisner contributed 14 RBI and five doubles and scored 15 runs.
1B — Meika Bumbalough, senior, Klahowya: Bumbalough, who next season will take her game to Sterling College in Kansas, was a team captain and hit team-best .500 to go with two home runs and 21 RBI. She also saw action as shortstop, but her best position — the one she'll play in college — is first base.
2B — Erin Curtis, senior, Central Kitsap: Not only did Curtis post impressive numbers on the field with a .414 batting average, six RBI and a .713 on-base percentage — she didn't strike out once the entire season, either — but she did it as the school's Co-Valedictorian, maintaining a 4.0 gpa while completing 17 AP classes. Coach Bruce Welling called her the team's strongest defensive infielder.
SS — Haylee Baker, junior, Bainbridge: There is no better success story than that of Baker's. The junior overcame a broken neck stemming from a car accident last year to post a .340 average, 13 runs, a home run and 15 RBI in little more than half the season.
3B — Jenna Bartlett, sophomore, Central Kitsap: Widely recognized as a gritty, physical player, Bartlett hit .325 with 14 RBI and a team-high three home runs. She also finished with a .590 on-base percentage, scoring 10 runs.
OF — Clara Dunn, sophomore, Bainbridge: A run-scoring machine, Dunn crossed the plate an area-high 32 times thanks to a .406 batting average that included six doubles and two triples. She walked a team-high 15 times, equating to a .519 on-base percentage, and she knocked in 11 RBI.
OF — Naomi Stocks, junior, Central Kitsap: No Central Kitsap player hit better than Stocks, who finished with a .460 batting average to go with 12 RBI, 15 runs and 5 doubles.
OF — Cortney Echternach, senior, South Kitsap: The Wolves' leadoff hitter, Echternach set the table all season long by fashioning a .711 on-base percentage. Her batting average was a modest .263 on 10 hits in 38 at-bats, but she reached base a total of 27 times, coaxing 15 walks from opposing pitchers. All the while, she played stellar defense in the Wolves' outfield.
UTIL — Lexi Orteza, senior, Olympic: Perhaps the scrappiest player on the Lady Trojan team, Orteza, who throws from the right side but bats from the left, is a true utility player. Primarily a third baseman this season, Orteza finished with a .500 batting average in 64 plate appearances, scoring 18 runs to go with 11 RBI, 11 stolen bases and a .594 slugging percentage.
UTIL - Jordan Chargualaf, senior, North Kitsap: Chargualaf, primarily a third baseman and pitcher, was one of the most reliable pieces of the Viking offense this season. In 46 at-bats, she logged a .413 average, a .481 on-base percentage, and a .739 slugging percentage. Chargualaf filled out her offensive stats with seven doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI.
UTIL — Megan Ransier, sophomore, South Kitsap: South Kitsap coach Kathy Ballew hasn't struggled to find talented catchers in recent years. Whitworth University's Caty Lieseke held the position two years ago, while Trish Tremper capably filled the position last year. This year, it was the versatile Ransier, who easily led the Wolves with a .523 batting average during the regular season. She also had eight doubles and a team-high five triples.
Coach of the Year — Liz McCloskey, Bainbridge: After coming up short in consecutive state-tournament appearances in 2007 and 2008, the fifth-year coach pushed the Spartans over the hump to a state championship. Bainbridge, which finished 23-4, defeated Kennedy, Union, Enumclaw and Holy Names en route to the title, its first in school history.
South Kitsap honorable mentions
Emily Cunningham, sophomore, pitcher: The right-hander became the Wolves' top starter as a sophomore and had a 7-4 record with a 2.70 ERA during the regular season. She allowed just 57 hits, while striking out 89 batters in 72 innings. Cunningham, the younger sister of Oakland Athletics outfielder Aaron Cunningham, also had a .426 batting average and led the team in home runs (two) and RBI (18).
Ally Johnson, senior, third base: The University of North Carolina-Greensboro-bound Johnson finished with a .359 batting average and seven RBI during the regular season. She also finished second on the team with 12 walks.
Bridjette Box, junior, second base: With Brandy Ball missing nearly the entire season because of an injury, Box took over at second base and hit .354 and finished second on the team with 16 RBI.
Additional honor mentions (alphabetical)
Kayla Abernathy-Rose, Bremerton; Paige Antuna, Klahowya; Sarah Buskirk, Central Kitsap; Morgan Eurazzaga, Klahowya; Julie Fergus, Central Kitsap; Lindsey Gard, Kingston; Chelsie Kakela, Bainbridge; Jessica Klump, Olympic; Hannah Knight, Kingston; Katie Lomas, Kingston; Alma May Magday, Bremerton; Caitlin McCormick, Bainbridge; Jenneke Oostman, North Kitsap; Racheal Pratt, Bremerton; Lauren Reichert, Bainbridge; Miranda Sanderson, Olympic; Courtney Snellenberg, Klahowya; Kelsey Strickland, Olympic; Jordan Tapp, Kingston; Cara Thompson, Bainbridge; Sammy Villalobos, Bremerton; and Hailey Willmann, Bainbridge.