Newport Knights sophomore pitcher Hanako Hirai unveiled a complete-game performance in the pitching circle against the Mount Si Wildcats in a matchup between KingCo 4A squads.
Hirai overcame Mount Si’s late-game rally, striking out Mount Si’s Delaney Edwards for the final out in the bottom of the seventh inning, preserving Newport’s 10-7 victory on April 25 in Snoqualmie. The Knights improved their overall record to 12-2 with the win.
Knights’ head coach Parris Mamon was proud of Hirai’s resiliency in the midst of mounting pressure as the game progressed. Newport led Mount Si 10-1 after three innings of play but saw their lead shrink in the latter half of the contest. Mount Si scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth, three runs in the bottom of the sixth and one run in the bottom of the seventh.
“Hanako is so solid and always brings it. She is our bulldog on the mound and carries us with her arm,” Mamon said of Newport’s ace hurler.
The Knights started off the game strong against the Wildcats. Newport’s Alexis Bradshaw uncorked a grand-slam home run in the top of the second, giving Newport an early 6-1 lead. Newport leadoff hitter Lita Bankson went 3-for-3 with three singles and two walks. Bankson, who is a left-handed hitter with blazing speed, had two infield singles and two walks in the contest.
“Lita leads the league in everything for the most part. She definitely leads in steals (stolen bases). If Lita gets on base, she is a deadly and is a force,” Mamon said of Bankson. “If you don’t get her out, she will be in scoring position before you know it. She is a lightning bolt and is a big plus to have on the team.”
Mount Si head coach Lauren Dumoulin was proud of her team’s comeback in the second half of the game. Mount Si outscored Newport 6-0 in the final three innings of play.
“We made all the adjustments that we needed to make. I told the girls the only thing I would had changed was that we do it sooner in the game. I was proud of them for digging deep and making some things happen offensively and cleaning up the defense,” Dumoulin said. “We have six games left in our season and we’re looking to make a really strong run to show everybody that we’re still here and we’re still here to fight.”
Newport has won 12 of its 14 games during the 2018 season and is tied for second place in the KingCo 4A standings.
“They are working hard and they just trust the process. We push (as a coaching staff) and they’re responding. We don’t want to peak right now. We want to peak in a few weeks (playoffs) when its time for us to peak,” Mamon explained.