KENMORE — The Newport High softball team had a chance to avenge a defeat it suffered against Bothell in the KingCo Class 4A tournament last year, and the Knights didn’t let the opportunity pass without taking advantage.
Newport hit an uncharacteristic four home runs to top the Cougars 6-5 in an opening-round contest in the league tournament Saturday at Inglemoor High School.
“It was a hard road, a lot of tight ballgames and coming back,” Newport coach Hannah Olson said of losing the first game of the tournament a year ago. “This is a big one.”
The Knights, the top seed from the Crown Division, will face Woodinville, the No. 2 team out of the Crest, on Monday at 5 p.m. at Inglemoor. The winner of that contest will be guaranteed a berth at state.
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Newport was able to top Bothell this year in large part to playing at a field with shorter fences than its home diamond.
The deciding blow came in the fifth inning, when senior Kaitlin Sahlinger crushed a two-run home run to give the Knights a 6-5 lead. All six of Newport’s runs were scored on home runs. Sydney Tomlinson had two homers and India Gants had a solo shot.
Bothell took a 5-4 lead in the fourth when Megan Marino and Leah Sailer drove in three runs with back-to-back home runs, but Knights pitcher Kathryn Wood retired 11 of the last 12 batters. Wood allowed five hits and struck out 10 in seven innings.
“Kat’s so tough,” Olson said. “She’s really tough. She’s a fighter. She has so much fun playing. I just love coaching her because you know that she’s going to come back. She gave up some hits and just came back and buckled right down. We always talk to her about getting better every inning and she really kind of improved through the end of the game.”
Woodinville 12, Issaquah 1
Woodinville scored seven runs in the sixth to beat Issaquah in a game shortened by the mercy rule. The Falcons’ quest to defend their KingCo 4A tournament title continues against Newport on Monday at 5 p.m. at Inglemoor.
In the other half of the bracket, Skyline beat Eastlake, 4-3, and Redmond beat Ballard, 8-0. Skyline and Redmond will square off on Monday at 7 p.m. at Inglemoor.