Playing for Taryn

To say it has been a tough week for the Knights family would be a vast understatement.

  • Monday, June 2, 2008 3:59pm
  • Sports

Newport’s Blake Gibbs hit a gland slam in the bottom of the fifth inning to help the Knights.

Heavy-hearted Knights continue

winning ways despite school tragedy

To say it has been a tough week for the Knights family would be a vast understatement.

The entire Newport High School community has been left in mourning following the loss of Taryn Gillies, an outgoing cheerleader killed in a car crash on Highway 26 in Adams County on April 18. Gillies was returning from a trip to Washington State University with her friend and fellow Newport senior Callie Turner, Turner’s mother Deborah Turner and Deborah Turner’s boyfriend Matthew Andresen when the Dodge Caravan driven by Andresen veered over the center line and collided with a U-Haul truck.

Gillies and Andresen were killed, while Callie Turner was left in serious condition and Deborah Turner in satisfactory condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.

Gillies’ death sent shockwaves through the Bellevue school, as the 18-year-old senior was much loved by students and parents alike.

The Knights baseball team is no exception.

“A lot of these seniors were really, really close to Taryn,” said Newport head coach Brian Fisher. “It’s been an experience the last couple of days.”

The Knights took the field at Bellevue Community College’s Courter Field against Mercer Island on April 23 for the first time since Gillies passed away. With the memory of their friend still on their minds, Newport played a fantastic game, beating the Islanders 10-3.

Newport (11-5, 9-3 KingCo 3A) jumped on the board early, scoring three runs in the first inning when Trace Tam Sing, the Knights sophomore shortstop and leadoff hitter, got things started quickly with a triple. Tam Sing and Collin Bennett both scored later in the inning on a double by Will Pierce. Ned Jones then drove in Pierce with a sacrifice fly later in the inning.

“We just wanted to come out and have fun, and to be focused,” said Tam Sing, who finished a perfect 4 for 4 with a walk. “We tried to stay positive and help each other out today.”

The Newport defense did its part to help out Knights starting pitcher Nate Eisenhauer with some highlight defensive plays, including a spectacular leaping grab from Tam Sing. Eisenhauer improved his record to 4-1 with the win, going six innings and allowing only two unearned runs.

After Mercer Island (9-8, 7-6) scored twice in the fourth off an Andrew Higgins’ two RBI single, Newport responded by scoring three in the bottom of the inning. Jones picked up his second RBI of the game with a single that helped bring the momentum back to the Knights.

“Jonesy was real close to Taryn,” Fischer said. “Maybe she was looking down on him because he had a real good game.”

The decisive blow to Mercer Island came in the bottom of the fifth when Newport senior leftfielder Blake Gibbs hit a monster grand slam off of Islanders left-handed reliever Cam Wilson.

Gibbs, an Oregon State recruit, had come to the plate earlier in the game with the bases loaded and popped up. He left no doubt the second time with the bags full, as the ball easily cleared the 365-foot mark in left center field.

“I was definitely just looking for one pitch and he gave it to me, a curveball right over the plate,” Gibbs said after the game. “I just tried to sit back and relax and wait for that pitch.”

Kevon Zadeh pitched the seventh for Newport, allowing one run on three hits before he forced Alex Faith grounded out to end the game. It was the fourth-straight win for the Knights.

Newport, second in KingCo 3A, was scheduled to play conference-leading Skyline on April 24, but as it was the same day as Gillies’ memorial service, Fischer gave the team the option to have the game rescheduled. There was no doubt what the Knights wanted.

“We decided that we wanted to play,” Gibbs said. “We’ll keep Taryn in our thoughts and play for her.”

The result of that game was unavailable at Reporter deadline, but regardless of the score, Tam Sing said the Knights were making the right decision.

“We made that decision as a team and we want to stick together and stay positive,” he said. “We’re just going to come out and play hard for Taryn.”

Joel Willits can be reached at 425-453-4270 ext. 5060 or at


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E

Mercer Island 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 – 3 8 1

Newport 3 0 0 3 4 0 X – 10 12 1

W: N. Eisenhauer (4-1) L: E. Pyne.

HR: NEW-Gibbs RBI: NEW- Gibbs 4, Jones 2, Pierce 2, Dilley 1, Herring 1. MI- Higgins 2, Reel 1

More in Sports

Photo courtesy of Greg Lim
                                The Space Needle U-17 boys volleyball team registered a third-place finish at the Northern California Volleyball Association Far Western Bid tournament on Jan 6-7 in San Mateo, California. The U-17 team finished with an overall record of 6-2. Players on the roster from the Bellevue region consisted of Evan Dragich, Jeremy Lim, Daniel Lim and Theodore Lin.
Volleyball squad earns third place at tournament

The Space Needle U-17 boys volleyball team registered a third-place finish at… Continue reading

‘Over the Top’ is one of the most underrated sports movies of all time

There is just something about 1980s sports movies that has me hook,… Continue reading

Newport swim team remains undefeated

Sports Roundup BOYS SWIMMING Newport remains undefeated in the pool The Newport… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Scott Miller
                                Sammamish Totems senior Tao McClinton, center, makes a move up the field after making a catch against the Ingraham Rams on Sept. 29. McClinton will continue his football career at Sacramento State University.
McClinton attains a childhood dream on gridiron

Ever since Sammamish Totems senior football player Tao McClinton set foot on… Continue reading

Totems girls basketball team nearly completes comeback against Islanders

The Sammamish Totems girls basketball team dominated the fourth quarter against Mercer… Continue reading

Bellevue Christian boys hoops team captures 10th victory

SPORTS ROUNDUP BOYS BASKETBALL Bellevue Christian collects 10th victory of the 2017-18… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Anna Duff
                                The Bellevue Wolverines girls swim dive team earned the Class 3A state championship on Nov. 11 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. The Wolverines, who compiled a total of 281 team points, won a state title for the first time since the 2006 season. Bellevue athletes Elena Acevedo, Eleanor Casey, Katie Duff, Delora Li, Janelle Rudolph, Rylee Siripipat, Aneta Wyzga, Rachel Jin and Sarah Walsh competed at the state meet. The Wolverines were coached by Andy Hay, Lisa Van Loben Sels, Mckenzie Schroder, Oey Chang and Ale Fuentes.
Bellevue 2017 sports year in review

JANUARY Baker announces he will enter NFL Draft: University of Washington Huskies… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn
                                The Newport Knights earned a 60-54 win against the North Creek Jaguars on Dec. 12. Newport guard Elliot Thompson (pictured) drives to the hoop against North Creek. The Knights improved their overall record to 4-1 with the victory.
Knights defeat Jaguars in KingCo 4A matchup

The Newport Knights earned a 60-54 win against the North Creek Jaguars… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Dejhion Parrish
                                Interlake Saints 2016 graduate Dejhion Parrish had 41 carries for 618 rushing yards and eight touchdowns during his sophomore season with the Arizona Western College football team. Parrish averaged a whopping 15.1 yards per carry this past season. Arizona Western lost to East Mississippi 31-28 in the NJCAA National Championship game on Dec. 3.
Parrish puts up big numbers at Arizona Western

Arizona Western sophomore running back Dejhion Parrish was one of the most… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography
                                Bellevue Wolverines senior running back Isaiah Ifanse was named Washington’s 2017-18 Gatorade Washington Football Player of the Year. Ifanse rushed for 2,485 yards and 44 touchdowns this past season. Bellevue, which advanced to the Class 3A state semifinals, finished with an overall record of 11-2. Ifanse (pictured) rumbles for yardage against the Mercer Island Islanders in a rivalry matchup on Oct. 13.
Ifanse wins Gatorade player of the year honors

Bellevue Wolverines senior running back Isaiah Ifanse was named Washington’s 2017-18 Gatorade… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography
                                Newport Knights senior guard David Combs, right dribbles along the baseline against the Eastlake Wolves. Newport improved its overall record to 3-0 with a 43-39 win against Eastlake on Dec. 8 at Newport High School in Factoria.
Knights come through in the clutch against Wolves

Clutch free throw shooting down the stretch propelled the Newport Knights boys… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography
                                Newport Knights junior guard Nicole Chan, center, scored a game-high 21 points against the Eastlake Wolves on Dec. 8 at Newport High School in Factoria. Eastlake defeated Newport 70-52.
Knights lose to Wolves in KingCo girls hoops 4A matchup

Newport Knights girls basketball head coach Travis Whitaker was proud of his… Continue reading