Bellarmine Prep freshman Alyssa McKiernan is already making her mark in big games. With the Lions down a couple of key bats, the first-year shortstop singled in a run and later walked and scored on Courtney Schwan’s single to help give Bellarmine a 2-1 win over Gig Harbor at home on March 25.
“(I’m) just doing what I know how to do,” McKiernan said, quickly crediting the rest of the squad for helping her get acclimated. “It’s a lot of fun being with the girls and getting to know them. The seniors are doing a good job with leadership, and making it so everyone is welcome.”
Two of those seniors, shortstop Alexa Ostrander and first baseman Alex DeStephano, were out due to illness and injury to force McKiernan into the third spot of the lineup. The Lions also were facing Gig Harbor pitcher Anna Hitt, who struck out the first four Bellarmine Prep batters and gave up just three hits and three walks while striking out 12 on the day.
The Lions had a good chance to score in the second inning with runners on second and third with two outs, but Hitt struck out freshman Ashlynn Ota – filling in at first for DeStephano – to escape the threat. McKiernan came through with two outs the following inning, singling to score Abby McDonald from second base for a 1-0 lead.
“She’s not really playing like a freshman right now,” said Bellarmine Prep head coach Craig Coovert of McKiernan. “She’s just a smart player, and she’s going to be a great asset to this team this year and in future years at Bellarmine.”
Schwan, meanwhile, retired the first 10 Gig Harbor hitters before giving up three hits in the fourth, including Aubrey Lindberg’s game-tying single to score Anna Overland. The Tides threatened to take the lead in the sixth, as Megan Riggs led off with a single and Tess Parker followed by reaching on an error to put runners on second and third with no outs. But Schwan retired Overland on a pop out and Corinne Luke on a line out, and escaped the inning by getting Hitt to ground out after intentionally walking Lindberg to load the bases.
McKiernan then walked with one out in the bottom of the sixth, stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Schwan blooped a single over the shortstop to bring in the eventual winning run.
“It’s nice to get this out of the way early in the season and get the confidence up, so we know we can do it again and do it against all the teams in the league,” McKiernan said.
Schwan picked up the complete-game win in giving up the lone run on five hits, with two walks and five strikeouts. The win put the Lions at 2-1 in league play, as their overall record sits at 2-4.
“We still have a lot of getting healthy to do, but it’s nice to steal a win like this when we’re down,” Coovert said.
LINCOLN GETS WALK-OFF WIN OVER TACOMA BAPTIST
Senior pitcher Maryssa Tippett hit two two-run homeruns and was 3-for-4 with five runs batted in, and Lincoln took a 10-9 walk-off win over Tacoma Baptist on March 26 at the SERA Athletic Fields.
Tied 9-9 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Abes’ Ashley Alexander and Sasheta Green drew walks, and Heidi Leeper was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kayla Aronholt then stepped up and lined a pitch into center field to drive in Alexander, giving Lincoln its first win of the season.
“It was very exciting,” said Lincoln head coach Ron Aguirre. “The girls are coming together after four hard weeks of practice…we’ve learned a lot in the last four weeks about each other. It’s been a very positive experience.”
Tippett had helped give the Abes a 7-3 lead with her first two-run homer – a blast to left center field – as part of a six-run second inning that also included run-scoring singles by Maryelle Montes and Adrina Patrick. But Tacoma Baptist responded to take a 9-7 lead with five runs in the fourth, as pitcher Jenny Brooks had a two-run single in the inning and Becca Cerka and Piper Havens followed with back-to-back run-scoring triples. But Tippett responded again in the bottom of the inning, drilling another pitch from Brooks into left center for her second homer to tie the game.
“She’s our leader,” said Aguirre of Tippett. “She’s got the maturity, the experience, the composure. She has helped me as well as helped the team.”
The Crusaders had a chance to take the lead in the top of the seventh when Havens led off with a single, Hannah Hagala followed with a walk and the duo advanced to second and third with just one out. But Tippett notched back-to-back strikeouts to escape the threat, leading to the dramatics in the bottom of the inning.